You can call us anything you like so long as it’s not late for Dinner, the debut short from US filmmaker Aleksandra Svetlichnaya. We loved the tale of a walk home that goes from just a bit mad to completely badass Buffy style mayhem.
We also liked her can do punk attitude to filmmaking (not to mention her high kicking fighting skills) so we tracked Aleksandra down and asked her how she got into the business:
‘I started out as a costume designer and designing costumes led to acting – and there I was in for an unexpected surprise. Even though I managed to get my foot in the door, I wasn’t getting to sink my teeth into anything that was really appetising to me. Where were the “Buffy” type roles that I was dreaming about? Why was I only ever booked as a “model,” “victim” or “girlfriend”? What kind of message was this sending to women? I’d had enough. Next thing I knew I was writing, producing and directing my first short film, which became Dinner.
My taste in films has always been varied, and therefore my influences are as well. I grew up on 90’s action movies and I am always pulling references from that world. Anything related to the supernatural, or the otherworldly, was always also hugely interesting to me. And I could never answer a question like this without mentioning Joss Whedon. I’m incredibly inspired by his work, starting with Buffy and to The Avengers.
I like to mix things up. I would say my specialty is mashing together elements that shouldn’t necessarily go together at first glance. It’s not unusual for me to say something like, “Okay, we’re going with a ‘Jason Statham’ fighting style, with a Cabin in the Woods vibe, and The People vs. OJ Simpson camera movement. With a little Unstoppable and Die Hard mixed in.
On the surface, Dinner is a quirky action-horror comedy – a delicious slice of genre filmmaking. But upon closer examination, the film also addresses the very important topics of female empowerment, stereotypes, typecasting and expectations. It’s also a satire commentary on the recent widespread popularization of genre films and how it seems like there’s a new “vampire,” “werewolf” or “zombie” program everywhere you look. It’s important to look beneath the surface and think. Thinking is very important.
How did I manage to accomplish this with no budget to speak of whatsoever? I like to refer to a quote from the 2015 Oscars ceremony, “Short films are not made with money. They’re made with tenacity and lots of favors.” That couldn’t be more accurate! To make Dinner I reached out to every talented contact I made in the film industry during my time designing costumes and acting. If it wasn’t for those connections that I had established and maintained, I don’t think this film would have been possible. It’s all about teamwork!
Naturally following Dinner we wanted to know what Aleksandra was planning for desert?
‘The next film in the Dinner movie universe is currently in post production and will be completed within the next couple months. It will be screened during several special events in Philadelphia, PA (USA) and then go out onto the festival circuit. Eventually it will be available for public viewing online. I can’t wait to share what we’ve been creating with the world!
And as for Dinner movie adventures – we’re heading to J1-Con, also in Philadelphia, in September for a screening and panel. I absolutely love conventions and I can’t wait for this one!
I can also say that the third installment in the Dinner movie universe is in the very early stages of pre production, so stay tuned…’
So Flowers not just one delicious helping but two to come, sounds positivity scrummy, Aleksandra Svetlichnaya thank you for talking to the Horror Hothouse and good luck.