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Can We order First | Interview with Anca Vaida

Interviewed by Barry John Terblanche

Cult Critic – Anca, first of all, congratulations for winning the Jean-Luc Godard award for Best LGBT film for “Can We Order First?” and for your Best Actress nomination! You are the film’s producer, one of the lead actors, co-director and co-writer, what came first for you: screenwriter, filmmaker – director/producer, or acting? And what inspired you to become such.

Anca – Thank you! Ever since I was little, I have been fascinated by films and I’ve always dreamt that one day I might work in this field. I initially trained as an actress, attending East 15 Drama School London. But I felt that in order to be the best actress I can be, it would be important to understand all the different aspects of the screen medium, so I studied film-making and directing, as well as screen writing, at City lit London. Acting continues to be my main love, but occasionally dabbing into the other aspects of film making allows me to tell the stories that I want to tell.

Cult Critic – What advice can you give aspiring short filmmakers?

Anca -To never stop creating. Just go out there and make the films, work with likeminded individuals, learn as much as you can from wherever you can.

Cult Critic – You and Cova Camblor are the co-writers and main actors. How did you meet, what bonded the two of you to collaborate?

Anca-Me and Cova met in 2014 in London on the Access to Acting Course at City lit where our very similar sense of humour helped us bond quickly. We stayed friends ever since and we frequently work together. Cova is not only an incredibly talented actress and writer, but also a brilliant journalist.

Cult Critic – What other projects have you worked together on?

Anca– I and Cova worked together on a few different projects, both on stage and on screen.

Cova was the lead actress in the first film I’ve ever written and directed, “The Game”, which screened at the Museum of Cinema, London.

The play “Ready, Steady, C**K”, written by Cova and Natasha Zierhofer, is a comedy in which I and Cova play the lead roles: 2 very different women competing for the same job. I directed Cova’s one woman show “Maybe I do?” in which she plays Carmen, a fiery Spanish woman in search of love. We were both cast in the Spanish language version of “The House of Bernarda Alba” play.

And we are very excited to soon be playing Zombies in our next project together!

Cult Critic – “Can We Order First?” – A unique story with a strong theme and premise. How did the story come to mind?

Anca–  Me and Cova were chatting on messenger one day when I told her about a decision I had made. I don’t want to give any spoilers, but let’s just say the film is strongly inspired from that conversation we had, with parts of the dialogue being taken directly from there. We thought the conversation turned out to be quite funny and it should be made into a short film.

When the film was first screened at the Berlin Short Film Festival, we were both very nervous, wondering if the audience will get our jokes. It was so gratifying when they did!

Cult Critic – Co-writing, collaborating on a screenplay can be challenging, no two minds think alike. How did you find this process?

Anca– The process was very smooth as we both trust each other’s creativity and value what the other person can bring. After our initial conversation and after we decided what parts we wanted to go into the film, Cova wrote the skeleton of the script and then I added my parts and made it more visual to suit the film medium.

 

Cult Critic – How did you and Cova find playing the lead characters?

Anca– It was so much fun! Me and Cova know each other really well and are good friends, so we brought that friendship into our characters and their interactions. It felt almost like we were having the conversations ourselves, which sometimes made it hard to keep a straight face during the more comical parts of the film.

Cult Critic – The film was well directed; Anca, you co-directed it with Maia Kipping. Have you worked with her before?

Anca – “Can We Order First?” was our first short film together, but not our last. I really enjoyed working with Maia, so I asked her to direct another one of our short films, “Knockout”.

Cult Critic – When co-directing “Can We Order First?” with Maia, did each of you have separate responsibilities?

Anca– Yes, I cast the film, directed the actors and worked closely with the editors in postproduction, while Maia was our technical director on set, coordinating the cameras, lights and sound. It was a great collaboration as our skill-sets were complementing each other.

Cult Critic – As a screenwriter, filmmaker – producer and director. Do you only write what you intend to film and act in?

Anca– I asked myself that question too. I don’t write a lot, but I found that when I write something, in my head I already see how I want it to look, how I want it to be acted, I see the locations, the images. And because of that, so far I’ve always wanted to direct and act in my own writing, though it was not easy doing them all.

Cult Critic – What’s next for you, anything you are currently working on?

Anca– “Psyched!” is a TV series that I wrote, directed, produced and acted in. The pilot is currently doing the Festival rounds and it already has over 50 international Film Festival wins and official selections, having won for Best Series, Best Pilot, Best Script, Best Director, Best Actress, Best Actor, Best Cast etc. Episodes 2-8 are currently in post-production. I can’t wait to see it all ready to go out into the world.

 

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