INTERVIEW: La Grosse Ligne Rouge

Malta Film Icon talks with director Katya Mokolo of La Grosse Ligne Rouge (The Big Red Line)

The film was made in 2004, and at the time I was 24 years old, and frankly, even though I'm coming from a tough country, my only idea was to make something absurd.




1) How long did it take to complete this short?

It was 2 days of shooting and almost 3 weeks of preparation, at the time I was working as a production assistant, so I took care of everything myself. The crew were people that I met in cinema school and on various music video shooting I worked for


2) What's the real meaning behind this film?

The film was made in 2004, and at the time I was 24 years old, and frankly, even though I'm coming from a tough country, my only idea was to make something absurd. I saw a law between the US and Canada saying that you couldn't cross the border between the two countries with fruits, and that's how the script came to life. There's nothing political behind this, just a real fact that made me laugh


3) In your opinion what makes a screenplay satisfiable to film?

It's a tough one, because people tends to like only "beautiful film" with not that much interest in it, but for me, something that doesn't make itself too serious, I don't like to be patronized in a film, and something too intellectual. Also I don't like something that's describe the everyday life, I mean life is ugly as it is so I don't make film to find the dullness of it. I like when there's a mix between absurd, seriousness and sometime drama. My main reference will be a feature film but it's Barking Dog Never Bites by Boong-Joon ho, a crazy film shot in DV camera with a powerful script and well written character.


4) As a director what do you look for in films?

Having a good time, because, as much serious as we want it to be, it's only entertainment. I like John Carpenter's film ( The Thing, Halloween etc ) I like indie film etc etc, I like various type of film, but those that takes me for an idiot ( the avengers as a recent example ) it's totally what I don't like in this business.


5) Can you share with us some of your experiences and limitations while working in films?

La Grosse Ligne Rouge

Now I work mainly as a production manager in the commercial business, there's a lot of money to make to produce your own project. For me the main limitation/s as a director and a production manager is to find the good balance between the budget and your script. We all have crazy ideas but when you try putting the numbers, you soon discover that if you want to be efficient, you need to lower your standards, and be simpler, to have your idea understandable. In every project I directed, my production experience helped me make the good choice regarding the script, but also, you won't take risk and be as crazy as you want. And sometimes I feel that I limit myself, because I know too much :D


6) Do you think short movies or feature films are still an effective tool to send out messages to individuals/groups/societies?

When it's well done yes, but when it's as smooth as an elephant in a porcelain shop, no.


7) Any future projects?

I just finished producing a short film, and I directed/ produced two music videos this year, I'm currently working on a documentary and another short film that should takes place in Africa.


Click here to watch La Grosse Ligne Rouge