Faith, Hope & Insanity by Antonis Kassiotis
Shortlisted in The Skinny Short Film Competition 2015, director Antonis Kassiotis explains the inspirations and processes behind his film, Faith, Hope & Insanity
I am a young filmmaker (19) and currently heading to university to study television. I wanted to make my college graduation film a step up from everything else that I had made previously and use it as an opportunity to tell a story that hadn’t been told before.
I heard about this story years after attending school with Frank’s daughter and I knew as soon as I heard it that it was essential for Frank’s story to be told. I knew there was something about his journey and philosophy that would connect with people so it was definitely a project that I wanted to take further.
My ambition was to tell a story that was hopeful and inspiring, which is a rarity in Scottish cinema. I hoped that the film would encourage people to look at their own lives the way Frank looks at his and inspire people to assess their own mistakes and feel hopeful and appreciative of their success or potential successes.
I think it’s important to inspire hope, there’s so little of it going around these days in the media and in everyday conversation. Making films or making any kind of art is an opportunity to do that if not a responsibility.
What do you do and why do you do it?
I write and direct films. I do it simply because I love it. My goal is to make films that I want to see on the screen – I think that’s all you can do really. I try to make things that mean something to me so I feel passionate about seeing it through. When I find the right project and I pour everything into it, I just hope that my passion and everyone else’s enthusiasm gets through to the audience. To me, that’s the cinematic experience – the feeling that people care enough about making you care.
Where did the initial idea for your film come from?
I went to primary school with Frank’s daughter and at that time I was too young to understand what Frank was going through. I found out about his story years later when I was reading an article about the Scottish art scene. I recognised the name Frank McFadden and I knew his story deserved to be told. I used to see Frank at the end of the school day and he would encourage me to keep drawing. He was always so positive despite everything he was going through. Who knew, years later, we’d be making a film together? It’s crazy how life works.
Describe your film in five words?
Frank McFadden is a legend.
What excites you most about filmmaking?
It’s exciting, simple as that. Painting and writing are solitary art forms and there’s nothing wrong with that but the beauty of filmmaking is the experience. It’s about sharing that experience with other people and becoming part of their lives for the duration of the production. The only other feeling close to it is being in a band, but a film crew only comes together for a short while so it’s about making that count.
Writing a story in your bedroom is one thing but seeing it through to the point where you’re sitting in a room with all these people who are willing to watch your work is both thrilling and terrifying. But what else is there if you’re not willing to take that risk? It’s extremely rewarding for everyone involved if all the hard work has an effect.
What advice would you give to other filmmakers?
Advice is strange. I used to assume that all the advice I was given was entirely relevant and the most recent piece of advice was more significant than the last. It took me a while to realise that advice also comes with an individual’s beliefs of what a film should be, so you have to learn to pick out what’s relevant to you.
The key piece of advice when it comes to making films is to just do it. Don’t think about whether or not the film is marketable or how many awards you’re going to pick up. All these things are bonuses and it’s not what making a film is about. The key is to do it for yourself. Be honest, generous and stay true to your vision because you’ll either be taking credit for it or running out of the room with your tail between your legs. My advice? Take my advice... but don’t… if you know what I mean?
Director - Antonis Kassiotis
Producer - Antonis Kassiotis
Camera operator - Zoe O'Donnell
Sound recordist - Paul Cochrane
Production assistant - Jordan McLymont
Editor - Antonis Kassiotis
Learn more about The Skinny Short Film Competition and watch more short films at our Short Film Competition portal, and check out the full shortlist for The Skinny Short Film Competition.