It’s been almost a year since “Light Games” (in Italian: “Doppia Luce”) won the Best Thriller award at Top Shorts. Although it was an indie film, “Light Games” completely felt like a Hollywood blockbuster.
The outstanding performances of the main actors have also given Angie Alexander the Best Actress award, and made “Light Games” one of those films you just won’t forget.
We talked with “Light Games’” director, Laszlo Barbo, and tried to find out what drives him as an indie filmmaker, what it was like working on this film and what advice he has for indie filmmakers.
Laszlo, congratulations again! Let’s go back a year ago, when your film was selected as the Best Thriller winner.
First, thriller is probably my favorite genre. Knowing that an important contest like Top Shorts has selected our film as the Best Thriller winner, made me very happy. It was also selected by the audience, so it means that we followed the rules of the genre and touched the viewers’ hearts. It was a great honor for us.
Where did the idea for Light Games come from?
The idea for “Doppia Luce” came to me when I was attending a directing course in Los Angeles back in 2001. I remember that day; I met a negative person and spent a long time with him. At the end of the day I was exhausted. Then I began studying and realized that everything is energy, vibration, and that for every force exists one equal and opposite strength. I thought to myself, what if somebody could see a material representation of that negativity? Francesca and her gift are the example of how you can turn something negative into a positive.
Watch Light Games' official trailer
Why did you make the film? What message did you want to convey?
I like to explore inside the characters, and “Doppia Luce” gave me the chance to create real scenes for the subconscious. This film, which later becomes a series, raises the possibility for deep analysis. In the series, while using her gift, Francesca has the urge to take out all the negativity she’s accumulated during her investigations on someone else. She is not only a courageous detective, but also a killer. The Main theme of “Doppia Luce” is how far the line between good and bad can be moved. And how many bad actions you are entitled to do in order to reach a positive goal? In Italy every year 2800 kids disappear. If one of these was your child, how far would you go to get him/her back, and what would you do to the man who tried to take your child from you? “Doppia Luce” is a story about surviving. Surviving your own nightmares.
The performance of the main actors was outstanding. What was it like working with them?
Angie is one of the best actresses I have worked with; she has feelings on the top of her skin. However, Francesca is different -- she has a gift that is her damnation, she knows when people have troubled minds, and she sees their demons. As a result, Francesca has built a strong Armor around herself and Angie was amazing at portraying this characteristic of Francesca. . Together we worked on how Francesca walks, talks, sleeps and eats. She’s an extremely dedicated actress. All the cast was wonderful, but in Italy they are all well known actors and you don’t feel any difference between them and Angie.
While you’re still considered an indie filmmaker, you’ve also worked with bigger budgets. How do you finance your films?
The world is big; at this moment in history, making a film only for domestic producers and distributors is nonsense. First, I write the story I would like to see and work with at least one co-writer. You don’t have to pay him much at first, but have to be very convincing when you pitch him your story. If he sees how much you believe in it, he will see some good in it too. Second, run after the best possible actor or actress for that role and once you have secured him/her, take your phone and don’t put it down until you have the money you need to start your movie. Most of the time all you need is a first investor, once you have that others will come.
Can you think of three tips for indie filmmakers, based on your experience?
If you have an idea, write the script and then write a very short teaser of the story; you need in it the pure sense of what you are ready to say on a larger scale. Then shoot it in a very professional way. This will show people what your vision is like about that topic and what your film is going to look like. People are busy -- they don’t have time to meet you and read your stuff, at least not those who have the power to turn on a green light. In the morning, everybody reads email while seated on the toilet, so send them your short but beautiful and meaningful video. You will make their day and maybe yours. And read a lot, there are many great stories out there that you can option for $1000. And the most important thing is DO YOUR HOMEWORK, always.
So what’s next? Are you working on a new project?
This summer I will be shooting a comedy between Rome, Tuscany and Venice. It’s called “Nothing Serious” and I am deeply in love with this story. I can’t wait to start shooting. And we are developing the series of “Doppia Luce.” In college I was taught that you need at least 3 projects lined up, because for as good and lucky as you may be, the time between your idea and going on set will be at least 18 months…
LIGHT GAMES is Top Shorts 2016 Special Screening, and will be available to watch online on May 5th, 2016 at www.topshorts.net