What Doesn't Kill Us...Can Make A Good Film
By Jana Ritter
If what doesn't kill you makes you stronger, Delia Antal has proven that it can also be what inspires you to make your dreams come true as well. Growing up in Romania with little means and limited opportunities, Delia's dreams of becoming an actress seemed almost impossible. Stubborn, she immigrated to London to pursue them against all odds and quickly found out that a nightmarish game of survival was the cost. But Delia Antal not only came out stronger, she became the writer, director, producer and star of "D'ORA," her debut film now taking the industry by storm.
You turned your darkest days into an accomplishment that most people could only dream of; writing, directing, producing and starring in your own film. How did you make it happen?
I had a really strong need to tell my story and make sure that it would be told right. You can't imagine how many meetings I had with directors and producers before I decided that nobody really understood my film the way I did. I basically took on all those roles out of desperation to get my film made and still stay true to myself. Its like giving life to a baby and you know exactly what that baby looks like, then someone comes along with a completely different child, insisting that its yours and you just know that its not.
"D'ORA" is about your struggle as an immigrant in a new country and it obviously appeals to anyone who can relate to that experience. Does your story speak to everyone else as well?
The raw, honest portrayal of reality appeals to anyone simply because its real. I also think anyone can relate to this film because it's a portrayal of the human struggle and the severe choices that many of us are faced with at certain crossroads of life. The story is also valuable to everyone, because it's an eye opener about what a lot of immigrants get trapped into. That was a major reason for me wanting to make this film and why I want it to be seen in as many countries as possible,
What is the main message that you hope audiences will take from the film?
That anything is possible, there is always hope regardless of how hard the journey is.
Your performance in "D'ORA" has earned you a "Best Actress Award". Is acting still your ultimate career goal?
Acting makes me happy and its what makes me feel most alive. It was a huge honor to be awarded by UARF (Union of Romanian Film Directors and Filmmakers), especially it being my home country. I've gotten a lot of encouragement from the industry to continue directing as well, so my plan is to keep directing and acting in my own movies until the directors I want to work with start calling me in for auditions.
What director do you dream of working with most?
My biggest dream is to work with Clint Eastwood. He is actually a big part of what inspired me to take on the challenge of producing, directing and acting in my own film. A person like him truly speaks to my heart.
The London Film Review gave "D'ORA" four stars, which is certainly impressive for a first time director.
It has been very exciting to be received so well by the industry. The achievement of telling a story inspired by your real life, the way you saw it with your own eyes is already an incredible feeling...so being recognized for it as well is really amazing.
What's next for you? Any plans for Hollywood?
"D'ORA" is taking me back to Romania at the end of April for a big theatrical release. After that its the Cannes Film Festival and then we come to Los Angeles for our Hollywood premiere.
How do you think people in the US will respond to your film?
Actually one of my camera operators is from the US and she loved the story. A big part of why she wanted to be involved with the film is because she related to it. America is a country that has a lot of immigrants from all over the world, so there is a definite audience already. I'm very interested in seeing how all people in the US will react.
What is the next big project we can look forward to seeing you in?
I'm already working on a new docu-film about a filmmaker's first experience at the Cannes Film Festival. "WE CANNES" is an interesting look inside the film industry's doors mixed with all the glamorous red carpet events and it's going to come out later this year. I'm also in pre-production with another docu-film, a true story about a father and daughter relationship and I'm adapting Chekov's play, "The Bear", into a screenplay...so definitely a few things to look out for.
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