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2013, 87m, drama, mystery, romance
Maya and Leo are a young couple blissfully in love. As time passes and they grow distant, their mysterious dreams and fantasies begin to mirror the unraveling of their reality. They are forced to confront change and spiritual growth in order to keep their relationship from dying.
10 questions with Maya director, Dan Papa at the half-way mark.
Tuesday, September 13th, 2016
1Hi Dan! Thanks for being a part of our 2016 Summer Festival. First, what was the initial inspiration that made you want to make MAYA? Thank you for screening! I was in a long term relationship in my early 20's, and when that ended I wanted to explore ideas of love and time and transformation. I also wanted to incorporate spiritual themes and dreams, while preserving some of the mystery of what it is to be alive and live through inexplicable experiences. So, light stuff.
2You wrote this film as well. What was your writing process like and how long did it take you to write? It was pretty fast, a few weeks, and more of a blueprint than anything else. Friends and family helped to shape it a bit. We kept it loose and allowed to actors to bring ideas and dialogue to the table.
3This is your first feature film. How did you know you were ready and what prepared you to tackle to a feature? I had made a number of shorts and experimental pieces before this, so I felt ready. But shooting a feature definitely requires a lot of planning , friends and luck. It can be stressful, even for a tiny production like this. Once we got going, the process of shooting was two weeks of very enjoyable creativity with the cast and crew. Editing I did on my own while working other jobs, which is not much fun at all, and took the better part of a year.
4Dan McGlauglin and Amy Frear play off each other really well as the stars of this film. How did you find these two and what was it about them that made you want to cast them as the leads? Amy is a friend from college and works a lot in theater, we collaborate often. She is wonderful in her mannerisms and spontaneity and always makes me laugh. Dan we found when we auditioned a few local actors for the part. He has tons of experience and a sense of humor and expression that worked really well with Amy, so well that they actually became a couple for a while! They are no longer. As Ram Dass would say, it's all grist for the mill.
5What made you want to tell this story in black & white? What are your thoughts on what black and white films can bring to the table that color films can't? I love black and white films, I'm not entirely sure why. I think of Ingmar Bergman and the astounding richness of those images. The way light is reduced down to its essence. There's a sort of purity and simplicity I guess, which works for a simple narrative. It takes you into a dream world. It also calls back to film history and all the romance to be found there.
6What made you decide to go into film instead of any other art form? What is it about filmmaking that made you want to become a director? I am also a musician, photographer and sometimes journalist so filmmaking is a synthesis of all the things I love to do. I think it is the most immersive art form, the one that can in rare cases deliver a sort of transcendent experience.
7So many of these conversations seem to have come from real life. Did you come up with this dialogue through personal experiences or was this all a work of fiction? There is certainly inspiration from life, but the actors brought their own lives to it as well. I was watching a lot of John Cassavetes films at the time and I wanted them to be sort of raw and improvisational.
8Can you share a war story from the shoot? As I recall the shoot was very smooth overall, although it did involve some challenging locations. We shot in an abandoned cemetery and we were finding large ticks on us throughout the day. Thankfully those aren't the dangerous kind. I don't think Dan was happy about the ticks.
9I'm curious on your thoughts on relationships. Do you think it's possible to be in love with the same person for a lifetime? It's totally possible. It requires an extreme amount of compassion, flexibility, transformation, loss of ego, and other factors that are hard to quantify. Plenty of people manage it, but it seems like most of humanity is struggling with interpersonal relations in general at this moment.
10What's next? I made in short film in 2015 called Aquae Sulis which can be viewed here: http://youtu.be/QSwaeb3e3kk. Look out for a new short called Selkie written and directed by Amy Frear: https://www.facebook.com/selkieshortfilm/. I hope to get a new feature or doc project rolling soon. www.dan-papa.com
About the Interviewer: Ben Hicks
Ben Hicks is a writer/director and co-founder of Fandependent Films. Ben is currently working on making Fandependent Films awesome and is finishing up his first feature film entitled Kids Go Free to Fun Fun Time which was selected for the 2017 IFP Narrative Lab.
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