Interview with Carol Dysinger, director of the BAFTA & Oscar-nominated Learning to Skateboard in a Warzone (If You're a Girl)
UPDATE:- Ms. Carol Dysinger and Elena Andreicheva won the BAFTA Award for Best British Short Film. This phone interview with Ms. Carol Dysinger was prior to the BAFTA and Oscar ceremony. Again, congrats to Ms. Carol Dysinger and Elena Andreicheva.
Another Update:- Congrats to Ms. Carol Dysinger and Elena Andreicheva yet again. This time they won the Oscar Award for Best Documentary Short Subject.
Carol Dysinger's About section from her website:
Carol Dysinger directed the short documentary LEARNING TO SKATEBOARD IN A WARZONE (IF YOU’RE A GIRL) which won Best Documentary Short at Tribeca Film Festival 2019.
Dysinger is also known for her feature length documentary CAMP VICTORY, AFGHANISTAN, compiled from 300+ hours of footage gathered over the course of three years. It premiered in competition at SXSW 2010, and played at the Museum of Modern Art Doc Fortnight and the Human Rights Watch Film Festival. Funded by Sundance Doc Fund and Corporation for Public Broadcasting, the film later appeared on Public Television.
Prior to directing docs, Professor Dysinger edited many documentaries and features, including DEADLINE for Big Mouth Productions (Sundance, and NBC), RAIN for Lola Films, M.Scorsese Executive Producer (Sundance, Venice International) SANTITOS for Springall Pix, John Sayles Exec (Sundance, Guadalajara, San Sebastian) and PUNK (Warners) which was a finalist for a national Emmy.
As a screenwriter in Los Angeles, she co-wrote several scripts for Paramount, Twentieth Century Fox and Sam Goldwyn Productions, and A CHRISTMAS STAR with Fred Gwyn and Ed Asner for Disney. She wrote several independent features BURNTOWN for HBO Independent, and FAT GIRLS FROM HELL for Sheila Mclaughlin. Her short films screened widely and won several awards including the Student Academy Award for Best Dramatic and the Hugo Award. She is the recipient of the David Payne Carter award for excellence in teaching.
Carol was awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship, and is currently developing a semi-autobiographical interactive piece depicting her experience with war.
I hope you enjoy the phone interview I had with Ms. Carol Dysinger. Get to know this brilliant director and discover why her documentary short deserved both a BAFTA-nomination and Oscar-nomination.
1. First off, how did you celebrate the New Year/ New decade?
2. What was the genesis of your documentary short film?
3. Were there other titles you came up with before Learning to Skateboard in a Warzone (if you’re a girl)? If so, what were they?
4. What challenges did you face while filming the documentary short?
5. what is your favorite moment in the documentary short and why?
6. What is the biggest surprise that you experienced after directing it?
7. If you had to describe Elena Andreicheva using three words, they would be?
8. After Filming the documentary short, how has this experience affected your life personally?
9. Congratulations on the BAFTA and Oscar nomination for your documentary short. What a way to start off the new decade, Yes? My question is….Where were you when you discovered that the BAFTA nominated your documentary short?
10. Where were you when you discovered that Oscars nominated your documentary short?
11. Who are you excited to meet or see at the BAFTA and Oscars ceremony?
12. If you win the award, are you going to have a speech prepared or are you going to wing it?
13. If you could sit down with any three people in the world and have a chat with them, who would they be and why?
14. If you could write and direct a film-adaptation of any novel/novella/short story, which one would you like to adapt?
15. Last question, which film do you predict would win the Oscars for Best Picture?
I greatly appreciate her time to answer my questions. Wishing all the best and I hope the BAFTA and the Oscar ceremony will be a fantastic experience for Carol Dysinger and everyone involved with the project. Thank you, readers and visitors, for taking your time to get to know Carol Dysinger and I hope you check out Learning to Skateboard in a Warzone (If You're a Girl) , which is on AETN.com and VOD. You can check out her other projects(website) as well. Take care and have a fine day.
IMPORTANT:- Click the link (name) to read the interview I had with the producer ( Elena Andreicheva) of Learning to Skateboard in a Warzone(if You're a Girl).
Interview with Elena Andreicheva, producer of BAFTA/Oscar-nominated Learning to Skateboard in a Warzone (If You're a Girl)
UPDATE:- Ms. Carol Dysinger( right side of the gif) and Elena Andreicheva (left side of the gif) won the BAFTA Award for Best British Short Film. The interview with Ms. Elena Andreicheva was prior to the BAFTA ceremony. Again, congrats to Ms. Carol Dysinger and Elena Andreicheva.
Another Update:- Congrats to Ms. Carol Dysinger and Elena Andreicheva yet again. They won the Oscar Award for Best Documentary Short Subject.
About Me page on Elena Andreicheva's website:
I am a Kiev-born British filmmaker and journalist working in TV documentary production and development since 2006. I studied Physics at university and Science Journalism at masters level, getting my first taste of research assisting on Nick Rosen's book "How to Live Off Grid".
Since then, I have worked with many major UK production companies on a wide variety of content. With a wealth of experience working with government institutions, NGOs and contributors worldwide, my specialism is tackling big issues through relatable stories and great access.
The most important aspect of my work, and my motivation, is a genuine desire to find out what it’s like to live the lives of the people who populate my films. Paired with a thorough practical knowledge of documentary filmmaking and an understanding of the visual power of the medium, I aim to make films that fuse powerful journalism with great heart.
1. How did you celebrate the New Year/ New decade?
I always celebrate New Year with my family in Ukraine, which is where I’m from and where my folks still live. We all have a glass of something bubbly as we listen to the President’s speech at midnight, and then eat lots of pickles and some traditional food. Sometimes there’s karaoke. We didn’t do anything special for the new decade though as I have a little kid and was in bed fairly early!
2. What drew you to produce this documentary short film?
I was very excited about having the chance to visit Afghanistan and to try to really capture girls’ experiences there – after everything you hear about it being one of the worst place to be born a girl. I thought that this was such a cool way to tease out some unexpected moments for the audience, through skateboarding. I jumped at the chance to do it.
3. What challenges did you face while producing the documentary short?
There were difficulties of course in filming in Afghanistan and at times it felt quite limited, what we could do. We couldn't move as freely as we wanted, or just hop out for some GVs / B-roll. But for me, one of the biggest challenges was making a short over a few years, in the end - it was a huge challenge to keep the momentum going, to keep schedules aligned, to keep our contributors in Kabul engaged. It felt like a bit of a marathon.
4. what is your favorite moment in the documentary short and why?
My favourite moment is when one of the girls we’ve seen struggle with writing Daddy at the board finally nails it. I get goosebumps every time! I know skateboarding is the reason people will take notice of the film, but it’s the education element I found really touching – what it means to these girls to be able to spell Mommy or Daddy, or their own name.
5. If you had to describe Carol Dysinger using three words, they would be?
Refreshing. Knowledgeable. No-nonsense.
6. After producing the documentary short, how has this experience affected your life personally?
In the past, I have been able to switch off fairly easily from projects I’m working on – but with this film, it was constantly sort of ‘on’. That required lots of endurance, as I said, but it also forced me to draw clearer lines between work and my personal life. And this conflict was very much amplified because I had a baby in 2018.
7. Congratulations on the BAFTA and Oscar nomination for your documentary short. What a way to start off the new decade! My question is…. Where were you when you discovered that the BAFTA nominated your documentary short?
I was in Bangkok Airport, en route from Ukraine to New Zealand to visit my partner’s family. I had had a hellish sleepless flight so obviously that really cheered me up!
8. Where were you when you discovered that Oscars nominated your documentary short?
For the Oscar announcement, we decided to all gather on Skype – me in New Zealand (it was the middle of the night, 3am), Carol and Molly Thompson (EP) in New York, and the folks at Grain Media in London. We even recorded the chat – it’s hilarious.
9. Who are you excited to meet or see at the BAFTA and Oscars ceremony?
I’d love to meet Greta Gerwig – just because. And Waad Al-Kateab who made ‘For Sama’ – there are so many things I would want to talk to her about.
10. If you win the award, are you going to have a speech prepared or are you going to wing it?
I have a bad – or good? – habit of playing out future events in my head, sort of like a daydream. I’ve thought about the possibility and what I might say or do, but I haven’t got a coherent speech or anything. I think I’m a little too supersticious to do one, in the end.
11. What has been the best compliment you heard about the documentary short?
A few new friends I made through moms’ groups said to me how touched they were by the film. These aren’t people in the industry and I love it when a film really connects to people in that way. One of them told me after a screening that she had to go home straight away as she was so shaken by it.
12. How did you majored in Physics at university and a master’s in Science Journalist to becoming a producer? Could you explain your transition into film production?
Yes, it’s a bit of a weird one. About half way through my Physics degree, I wrote an essay about quantum mechanics and realised that I’m a lot more passionate about writing and communicating ideas rather than solving them. So I decided to try out science journalism and loved it. The history and philosophy of science in particular. After the course, I got an opportunity to intern with a doc producer and then got a job as a researcher for a BBC series about developing world health. That’s where I caught the socio-politico documentary bug.
13. If you could sit down with any three people in the world and have a chat with them, who would they be and why?
That’s hard… I’d love to meet Angela Merkel and Hillary Clinton and Michelle Obama – women who’ve been under intense scrutiny but who all seem to have a good sense of humour.
14. If a self-published author is seeking a producer, how would one get you or any experience producer to read his or her story to see if it would make a compelling short film/ feature film?
My door is always open for people to approach me with ideas, but I suppose it would have to be something I am interested in – so worth doing a background check on what I’ve done in the past. I deal with character-driven documentaries which are mainly not based on books, so it might be that a producer better-versed in that world would be a more natural choice.
15. If you could produce a film-adaptation of any novel/novella/short story, which one would you like to do?
That’s hard to answer for a non-fiction filmmaker – I’ve been reading a lot of children’s books lately so maybe something folksy… I find those old folk tales very creepy and atmospheric and ripe for exploring, for both kids and adults.
17. Which film do you predict would win the Oscars for Best Picture?
I have a feeling it might be “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood”…
18. Last question, what is something you always wanted to try but afraid to do?
At the moment, it’s less fear and more lack of time… Probably something on the extreme sports front, like helicopter skiing. Yes, that would be it. I have that image from one of the James Bond movies and it looks like a lot of fun while being utterly terrifying.
Like I stated earlier, both Carol Dysinger and Elena Andreicheva won the BAFTA awards. Huge congrats to them. Next will be the Oscars. All the best to them as well for that ceremony. I hope you all check out their documentary short and see why It won the award in the first place: www.sling.com , AETN.com and VOD. Take care my fellow readers and thank you for stopping by here. Tweet or like this post if you will.
IMPORTANT:- Click the link (name) to read the interview I had with the director (Carol Dysinger) of Learning to Skateboard in a Warzone(if You're a Girl)
The Academy Awards a.k.a Oscars have given some book-based movies the recognition they truly deserved. These movies all started with a writer, like you and me, putting their idea or story into words. Now the film adaptation of their work has been nominated and I bet the individuals that first wrote them are thrilled that, in somehow some way, it all started from them. So, here are the book-based movies and performances that are being appreciated by the Academy.. Congrats to them all and I hope they also win. The Oscars will air on February 24.
Glenn Close, “The Wife”
Melissa McCarthy, “Can You Ever Forgive Me?”
Adam Driver, “BlacKkKlansman”
Richard E. Grant, “Can You Ever Forgive Me?”
Regina King, “If Beale Street Could Talk”
Spike Lee, “BlacKkKlansman”
“The Ballad of Buster Scruggs,” Joel Coen , Ethan Coen
“BlacKkKlansman,” Charlie Wachtel, David Rabinowitz, Kevin Willmott, Spike Lee
“Can You Ever Forgive Me?,” Nicole Holofcener and Jeff Whitty
“If Beale Street Could Talk,” Barry Jenkins
“BlacKkKlansman,” Barry Alexander Brown
“Black Panther,” Benjamin A. Burtt, Steve Boeddeker
“First Man,” Ai-Ling Lee, Mildred Iatrou Morgan
“First Man,” Nathan Crowley, Kathy Lucas
“Mary Poppins Returns,” John Myhre, Gordon Sim
“BlacKkKlansman,” Terence Blanchard
“If Beale Street Could Talk,” Nicholas Britell
“Mary Poppins Returns,” Marc Shaiman, Scott Wittman
“The Place Where Lost Things Go” from “Mary Poppins Returns” by Marc Shaiman, Scott Wittman
“When A Cowboy Trades His Spurs For Wings” from “The Ballad of Buster Scruggs” by David Rawlings and Gillian Welch
Makeup and Hair:
“Mary Queen of Scots”
“The Ballad of Buster Scruggs,” Mary Zophres
“Mary Poppins Returns,” Sandy Powell
“Mary Queen of Scots,” Alexandra Byrne
“Ready Player One”
source material: variety.com
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