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Questions about Magda

Making films is not just a simple case of writing a script, getting together a few camera angles and hey presto, you have made movies. It is always a lot more complex than that. As the preparations for the shoot of Great Brytania continues, I have been in communication with Marzenna Więcek (who plays the part of Magda) and have been answering her questions about the character. As the writer (and the director), it is me who has to create a mold so that Marzenna can fit into the character I want to portray on the screen. So below are some of the questions she asked, and my answers.

Next week, I will answer the final, most important Question about Magda:

What is Magda’s target? To Adapt?

To Survive, plain and simple.

What are Magda’s aims?

To get more drugs. She is hooked, and both the physical and more importantly, the psychological hold of the drug on Magda is, at the moment, unbreakable.

Is Gemma her first girlfriend? No. Magda is a lesbian, not bisexual. One of the reasons Magda left Poland was that she could not resolve the conflict between society and her sexuality. Running away to the ‘big city’ is a common phenomena amongst young gay/lesbian people seeking a more tolerant backdrop to their sexuality ten or twenty years ago.

Has Magda slept with guys before?

Yes. Magda experimented when she was younger, but was very uncomfortable sleeping with men. This is how she knows that she is fully lesbian rather than a lesbian identified bisexual.

Was she in love with some guy?

No.

Has she had before some sexual experiences with any woman? Or with Gemma?

Yes, she has been sexually active with women both in Poland and London. Magda has had more female sexual partners while in London.

Is the relationship with Gemma more psychical / platonic love?

Magda and Gemma love each other. But obviously, Magda is quite sick, and Gemma has given birth recently, so their sex drive has diminished recently.

Does Magda want physical intimacy? Did the drugs not kill her sex drive?

Magda is as sexual as the next human being. The drugs both enhance and depress her appetite for sex. Obviously, the drugs have a major effect on her mentality, and the obtaining and consumption of drugs is Magda’s priority. But like anyone else, Magda wants sex with her girlfriend, Gemma.

When was her mother dead?

When Magda was a teenager. I would say around 14 years old.

How did Magda’s mother die?

Cancer, easy answer, difficult for the character to deal with.

How did the father deal with her death?

Badly. The major reason he drinks is that he has never been able to reconcile his grief.

Is she accusing the father because of that?

There is definitely resentment and anger directed towards her father. Grief is a complicated emotion, and while she does not blame her father for her mother’s death, their is anger (misdirected at the father) for why she had to go rather than him. Also, remember that the father does not accept Magda’s sexuality, which further adds tension to their relationship.

Is she accusing the mother?

Of course there is also anger towards the mother at why she had to die and leave her behind. As I have mentioned previously, grief is a complicated emotion. I will talk to Marzenna about this when I come to Poland.

Was the mother happy with the father? Yes.

Did M. talk with the mother about her sexual orientation?

No, that was not done in 1990’s Poland.

How the mother reacted on this?

While the mother might have suspected about Magda’s sexuality, to be honest, she died before Magda reached any form of sexual maturity.

Did the mother betray the father? Do You have suspicions about it?

No, they stayed married faithfully, with their ups and downs.

How was the mother treated by the father?

Like a Polish housewife. Remember, the mother would have died around the time of the early 1990’s, and socially, Poland was a very different place from now. Less divorce, more conservative family values. People stayed married for longer.

How long did Magda take drugs?

Petty drugs (alcohol and cannabis) would have started from mid-1990’s, when Magda was in her late teens. Heavier drugs, she would have encountered in London.

Did M. love someone before Gemma?

Of course. If Magda is in her thirties, then Gemma is not her first love.

Did she face any love disappointment before she was betrayed?

Yes. Her girlfriend in Poland probably betrayed her for a man. Remember, she looks at that photograph at the bus terminal, and is one more reason to leave Poland. Magda feels that Polish girls (when she was there in the 1990’s/early noughties) will eventually bow to society norms and ‘become’ heterosexual.

Did she hurt anyone?

I’m sure Magda is no angel, but Magda probably sees herself more as a victim, and that would be bound up in the grief of her mother’s death.

Is he afraid she can loose Gemma?

Yes and no. Magda is a bit older than Gemma, and part of her wants Gemma to have a better life without herself, the AIDS victim. But of course, if Gemma left Magda, she would be emotionally distraught. But remember, the problem with Magda (and Gemma) they love each other, but not themselves enough.

In which way the heroin made her emotionally wild?

Heroin in fact probably calms Magda down, makes her quite mellow. Crack Coccaine on the other hand will make her brave enough to laugh at Ritchie.

Does she have suicidal thoughts?

All the time.

Since when was Magda infected with HIV?

Okay, a bit of technicality here. The definition of AIDS is different from country to country. Here, in the UK, it is when the White Blood Cell count (the cells that attack bacteria and viruses) drops below a certain level. Now, while drugs can reverse this count upwards, in the UK, once you have been diagnosed with AIDS, you, cannot be undiagnosed and revert to HIV, even though your White Blood Cell count has risen to more ‘normal’ levels.

Magda got an infection, went to the local health clinic. A lot of outreach health workers are available in London to women working in the sex industry. They provide free (NHS) and of course, confidential help to all that visit them. Magda, while sick, would have got tested for HIV and was then found to be infected.

Now, to directly answer the question, Magda has probably had HIV for three to four years, but as she is bad with her medication (partly due to being a drug taker and so not having any concept of time, plus the fact that she really does not want to cure herself) means that Magda now has full blown AIDS. Remember, Magda’s cuts and sores are not healing.

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Film News for October 3rd

One words – Re-writes. Actually, that is a hyphenated word, but I stand by it.

Great Brytania is being shot in a weird and wonderful way. Due to funding pressures (it is all self-funded), the filming will be very stop-start. So in May I shot the first scenes, the external Polish scenes. Now in October, I will shoot the internal Polish Scenes. That will mean around 15% of the film is shot and in the can. Then, 2013 will become the year of hell, and the rest of the scenes, all in the UK will need to be shot. As and when funding, or in other words, spare cash, becomes available.

So recently, I have been rewriting the script again and again. To be honest, it is more of a correction, cleaning up the loose ends and making the script a bit tighter. Thankfully, the major re-write happened earlier this year, and it was fairly comprehensive. Now, my rewriting is really just tidying up around the edges.

And as the script is bilingual, it means that it needs time to get tanslated. Well, time to finish off the revisions…

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Quest Europe 2012 – A Jury Member’s view back

Well, I have just arrived back from the Quest Europe Film Festival, where I was invited to be a jury member for a second year. It was a lot of fun, and a lot harder than last year. There was no clear winner, and I was split. Charles, the jury member thought one thing. But Charlie, the guy sitting in the audience thought another thing. And so here were my three favourite films (in no particular order) from Quest Europe 2012. And, yes, my favourite films were a little bit different from what I thought as a jury member…

Strona A – Brilliant. I really enjoyed watching this film and I wanted to learn more of what happened after the credits began to roll.

Ditto for Ingenuity (which you can view fully online), I just wanted to know more.

But my favourite, the laugh out loud film, that tickled me silly had to be The Man with a Plastic Bag. Documentary my ass, but who cares, it was fantastic, and had me in creases the whole way through!

So there you have it, my three favourite films from this year’s Quest Europe. Special kudos has to go to Green Olives. A hard film to watch, but brilliantly done. Also, another film that made me laugh was Night Visitor. The two main actors were one hell of a comedy pair – more of them please!

An absolutely wonderful festival, it always astounds me how a small town in Western Poland manages to pull off such a spectacle. Quest Europe has many more editions ahead of it, long may it reign, in its quest to bring quality films to the masses!

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Little Teaser for Great Brytania

The last few months have, to be polite, busy. Busy for every other reason apart from filming, although I have done a lot of filming myself recently, and film related activities. However, enough doom and gloom. And enough of the shocking (really, it has been a dearth) lack of blog posts. Inertia, and the fact that I have got quite comfortable with not blogging recently has seen my writing output dramatically fall. From almost daily a year ago to once a week, if I am lucky.

Life, has been busy.

Anyway, take a look at the video. This is a ‘little teaser’ for want of a better title. Next month I will complete the first (of what will be many) teasers for Great Brytania. I have to re-record a voice over, to actually make it sound, well, good. When I shot the first footage in May, the voice overs were done quickly.

Wow, May. That was a long time ago, and a lot of things have happened since then.

Sometimes, when I write this blog, I have to balance my innate need to scream from the roftops with my (essential need) to be quiet and evasive about many, personal things.

So, onto the film world. That I will shout about 😉

In addition to the ‘Little Teaser’, I have finally done a little update to the babarouge website which was a long time coming. Another thing on my great list of things to do, but it was time to add a little bit of the work done on Great Brytania to the ‘official/corporate’ part of my world.

It has been a tough, past three months. Filming wise, it has been great. I have done an incredible amount of research, and I am so much better prepared then I was at the start of this project. While I still have a long way to go, I believe that eventually I will get there. But what has been happening around me has been nothing short of a sewer storm.

Enough mystery, here is some concrete. I am off to the wonderful Quest Europe Film Festival this weekend, and I am honoured to have been asked to be a jury member for a second year in a row. I cannot think why, but maybe I am doing something right? There are a lot of great films on show, and I have been told to look out for one film in particular. For some reason, it is meant to remind me of the Croydon Tramlink, even though it is set in France. Bizarre, how could any sane person make that connection? Oh well, I will find out in a few days…

Bags packed? Hell no! Money in wallet, just about, but at the expense of running my motorbike on a near empty fuel tank. Research done? Erm…doing it now. Filming all set – never prepared, but like a swan, that calm exterior masks a furiosou amount of paddling under the water.

Enjoy your bank holiday weekend too, whatever you are doing. See after the break!

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Research ;)

Hey, I am making a movie here. ANd what better way to make a film then to atch other films…ah…it’s a tough life 😉

Explanations to follow, never fear. Even woth my limited timespan, some fun must be slotted in…

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Stills from Great Brytania’s Teaser

Just a couple of shots from the teaser as I edit away. This pic was taken from one of the block of flats in Zielona Gora, and in the film it represents Magda’s home in Poland.

The second shot is kind of cool, showing Magda smoking at the coach station before she departs for England. In the film, the story is split into two chronological periods. The scenes in the UK takes place in the present day, while the scenes from Poland takes place in the 1990’s. That was hard to do, shooting in today’s Poland, but to portray a world 15-20 years ago. That meant no new cars or buses, no new logos, and clothes that would match the time period. Yeah, tricky stuff, so a close up of our leading actress smoking a cigarette was a nice shot to portray.

Oh yes, the joy of editing!

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The Teaser is Coming…(Film News)

Just a quick update on Great Brytania. I am busily editing away, so give me another week. And what a busy week this is going to be. Now, I got to catch up on some blogs. See you soon!

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