The short film “Remission” is written and directed by Eugenia Tan, produced by Liubov Korpusova and Eugenia Tan. Representing Australia, “Remission” is an official selection at IFFNY 2018. The brilliant cast includes: Alfredo Malabello, Ange Arabatzis, and Jack Doherty. The screening will take place at the prestigious Kaufman Astoria Studios, on Tuesday, May 29, 2018 at 4:00PM (34-12 36th St, Astoria, NY 11106).
Eugenia Tan is an aspiring filmmaker, who lives in Melbourne, Australia. She is a recent graduate of the Film and TV Foundations at the Victorian College of the Arts (University of Melbourne). Alongside her interests as a filmmaker she is also an Architect and the founder and curator of ‘New Architects Melbourne’ (NAM), a volunteer-based initiative which seeks to foster and encourage up and coming architectural and design studios. She brings her experience as an architect into the medium of filmmaking to explore her interest in telling stories about humanity that connects us all.
Meet the Artist: NY Elite Interview with Director Eugenia Tan
NY Elite: Congratulations on being an official selection at the prestigious International Filmmaker Festival of New York. What are your thoughts about being accepted at IFFNY 2018 film festival and having your film screen in New York City?
Eugenia Tan: It was a lovely surprise. I was in NY last year for a holiday, so to be accepted in a festival there means lot to me. My friends are very proud and happy for me. My cast and crew are elated.
NY Elite: Out of the 500 submissions world-wide, your film was selected as the top 40 for IFFNY. What does this mean for you in terms of representing your country/city at this international film festival?
Eugenia Tan: Quite touched to be the only Australian representing at IFFNY. There is such a wide range of short and feature length films with representation from so many countries. I find that the cultural lens with which the director / writer comes from, would only add richness to the stories portrayed.
NY Elite: With what project are you partaking at IFFNY 2018? What is it about?
Eugenia Tan: My film project is called ‘Remission’, an embittered drama that explores themes of family dynamics, lost love, belonging and forgiveness.
It shows two worlds colliding, never to be the same again.
NY Elite: Who else is involved in the making of this project? Tell us a little bit more about the story and who is in it.
Eugenia Tan: I had an amazing cast and crew who spent so much of their time and energy to make the film happen. They made the process so much smoother and their passion and contribution really lifted the story, more than I could have envisaged when I started writing the script.
The film was made as part of a course at a reputable film school in Australia – the Victorian College of the Arts (VCA) at University of Melbourne. Our convenor Andrew Blogg was pivotal in supporting us and teaching all we needed to know to make a good story come alive.
My gorgeous casting director Mary Musolino guided the casting process every step of the way. This freed me to focus on finding the best combination of people for the story – which was critical as we were casting for a few people to be a family. I knew that finding the right actor for the father character Mr. Zito was going to be challenging. He was the last role to be filled, but miraculously I found Alfredo Malabello after looking at every profile for a male actor between 55-75 years old in Australia, who could portray an Italian-Australian character and would be willing to work with a first time filmmaker. He was the only actor I approached for the role.
What was not known to me at the time, was that he was perfect in so many ways for Mr. Zito. He was himself of Italian-Australian heritage. At the moment that we first spoke, Alfredo mentioned he had already read the script multiple times and confessed his connection to the story. To add to the amazing journey, it turned out the he moved to Melbourne earlier in the year and so location was not an issue for us. The majority of the film is in English however the few lines that were included in Italian were all possible because of Alfredo. This inevitably made the story richer, especially in one of the scenes – where the true italian heritage is expressed in the dialogue and disagreement between the father and son, only reflecting the truth they felt which they held inside.
Both Jack Doherty and Ange Arabatzis were brilliant and very professional to work with. Ange channelled all the Italian-Australians he knew growing up in Melbourne to get the intonation as real as possible. Jack impressed me from the get go, perfecting the character performance even from the audition.
I was also very grateful for my cinematographer Brendan Cherry, who came on board only with a few weeks to go, and dedicated all the time required beforehand and during the shoot to make sure we got the footage we required. He was a consummate young professional with a bright future ahead of him.
NY Elite: What message do you want to convey with this project?
Eugenia Tan: ‘Remission’ is a contemporary adaptation of the biblical parable ‘the Prodigal Son’ from the book of Luke, chapter 15.
As the film does not convey the story from particular point of view, I believe a variety of reactions would occur and bias within any audience that watches this film. I’ve reconciled with the idea that some may be loyal towards Mark’s predicament, some relating strongly to Luke’s experiences, and some empathetic with Mr. Zito as he judges the two situations and tries to reason between everyone’s position as well as his own.
I think the success of any film is dependent on the ability to engage the audience and possibly leaving them able to put themselves in those stories, and left wondering what will happen next.
NY Elite: The Red Carpet Opening Ceremony and the Awards Gala will take place at the renowned Kaufman Astoria Studios of New York. Do you plan to attend the IFFNY Festival taking place on May 25-29, 2018? What do you want the audience at IFFNY to take away from this film?
Eugenia Tan: It’s really exciting to know that my film is being shown in the same studio that Sesame Street was filmed. Of course among other notable productions!
Unfortunately I won’t be able to attend the festival this time. It would be amazing to be able to meet the other filmmakers of the festival and immerse myself in the buzz of it all.
As for the audience, I hope the film resonates with them on some level. It’s only runs for 8 minutes so if they get one thing out of it especially enjoyment I would be quite pleased and happy for them to have spent their time watching my film.
NY Elite: What makes a film great for you? Are there certain qualities that make a film better for you?
Eugenia Tan: The journey of how a story unfolds. Visuals are key for my pleasure – especially composition of the shot, and colour balance.
Performances can draw me in to the film more. Great editing keep the pace moving fluidly and keeps me engaged.
NY Elite: Top 3 favorite films/projects you have been involved in?
Eugenia Tan: All short films, produced as part of the course at the VCA:
I co-produced ‘No Time Within’, and written and directed by Liubov Korpusova. Liubov was also my co-producer on ‘Remission’ – and she was a pleasure to work with. A totally collaborative and complementing relationship. Full of trust. I also appreciate her enthusiasm and pleasant demeanor.
I was in the camera department for ‘Emunah’, by Dan Korman and ‘Jupiter’ by Michael Zito. Both about families as well, however one was about testing religious exclusivity when it came to finding prospective romances, and the other was about escaping from an cult ran at the helm of a evil matriarch.
NY Elite: What are your career highlights and achievements thus far?
Eugenia Tan: Being part of IFFNY!
NY Elite: Do you express yourself creatively in any other ways?
Eugenia Tan: I’m formally trained as an Architect, which helped me appreciate the arts in many many ways. Storytelling in one form or another is something that will always be part of any vocation I follow. I’m also passionate about food and cooking.
NY Elite: What advice would you give to someone who wants to have a career in filmmaking?
Eugenia Tan: You have to love it!
You need to believe that the story you are telling will connect with someone out there.
Trust your gut
Be prepared to work hard
Build a good team around you
NY Elite: What’s next for you?
Eugenia Tan: In the process of starting my own videography production studio, called euzeta.
So watch this space!