EDA Awards @ IDFA 2015 Filmmaker Interview: Ina Borrmann on EVERY 28 DAYS

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inaEvery 28 Days, one of ten films nominated for the AWFJ EDA Award for Best Female-Directed Documentary at IDFA 2015, is a very personal and deeply moving documentary in which filmmaker Ina Bborrmann chronicles her efforts to become pregnant and bear a child. IDFA’s catalog description of the film is below. Read what Borrmann has to say about the challenges of making this documentary about herself and her own life choices.

AWFJ: How and why did you encounter and commit to the subject/theme of your film and the main characters in it?

Ina Borrmann: EVERY 28 DAYS is a documentary film in which I document my own wish to have a child without sparing myself. It turned into an intensely personal film about a very personal slice of life in which I play the main part.

When I hit rock bottom after my first artificial insemination and I had to deal with my depression, I became aware of the dimension of this subject, which affects many other women. During the treatment my role was passive – the medical staff were handling me for tests, after which I had to wait for the results…

I felt like a beetle lying on its back. As a filmmaker I’m used to always taking the initiative. Because I was shooting I had the feeling I could escape the powerlessness I felt as a patient and that I could be in control.

AWFJ: What did you learn about the subject/theme from making the film?

IB:

  • Get pregnant before you are 35!
  • Life is never what you have, but something that slips by (according to Simone De Beauvoir
  • That many of my female friends – and actually an incredibly large number of women – have the same problem and don’t talk about it. It’s a huge social problem that is still not being discussed
  • Before this I didn’t know how far you can stretch your own boundaries in the face of existential challenges

AWFJ: What did you learn about filmmaking from making the film?

IB:

  • Look for a producer who truly supports you, not one that will try to keep you in your place.
  • Often you start from an intuitive impulse to explore a certain topic. It’s only afterward that you understand the full dimension or even the theme of the film.
  • Personal autobiographical films are very powerful. Filmmakers should not let themselves be discouraged by funders who want to support and see big political subjects. They shouldn’t believe that only those films get funded.
  • Unconsciously shot material, that happens by accident, for example as you’re setting up the camera or just before shutting it off. Especially the mishaps, the unreadable bits, are interesting. In between those lies the documentary truth.

AWFJ: What were your biggest challenges? Revealing personal feelings? Objectivity? Filming conditions? Making a coherent story or creating impact through edited juxtapositions?

IB: My biggest challenge was dealing with the immense pressure coming from the failed medical treatments. And at the same time I had the responsibility for shooting a film on this topic. As a result I had to keep fighting to stay on top off this burden.

AWFJ: Do you think that being female gave you a distinct perspective and/or way of handling the filmmaking process? If so, please let us know how. If not, please let us know your thoughts about this question.

IB: Of course my gender affects the way I approach subjects. Probably no man has ever tackled this topic. When more women make films, the kaleidoscope of reality will expand.

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AWFJ: What are your plans for the future? Do you have specific career goals? A ten year plan? What sorts of “ideal world” opportunities would make it possible for you to succeed?

IB:I have two documentaries, a book and a feature film in development. I’m hoping to get a decent budget for each of these films. For EVERY 28 DAYS I didn’t receive any film funding at all – I made it with a bit of TV support.

Instead of having to fight obstacles, I would love to find accomplices that would want to work with me on the development of these projects. I wish women would create a more open production culture in which female filmmakers get more attention. In order to reach that goal, we need more specific funds, such as a grant for female artists in Berlin.

AWFJ: Who are the Filmmakers whose work has inspired/influenced your own?

IB:Filmmakers and artists like Chantal Akerman, Sybille Berg, Sophie Calle und Pipilotti Rist, Schnipo Schranke and Sophier Hunger. And also Chris Marker, Mike Figgis und Ken Loach.

AWFJ: What advice do you have for other female Filmmakers who are trying to make their way through a still male-dominated industry?

IB:

  • Always raise your voice.
  • When a producer invites you for dinner, don’t just order salad and water.
  • Don’t always try to do right by everyone. You have to be able to deal with adversaries as well.
  • Create female networks.
  • Most importantly, women should nurture solidarity with each other.
  • IDFA’s Notes on EVERY A28 DAYS: Filmmaker Ina Borrmann put her wish for a child off until the last possible biological moment. Looking back, she realizes her mother only had children because that’s what all the girls did. She was fortunate enough to be brought up to be a liberal-minded, independent young woman. She enjoyed her freedom, went to college, worked for a while and then enrolled in a film academy. And then she met Marc. Along with the security she felt with him came the desire for a child, suddenly and unexpectedly, from the darkest depths of her psyche, as she puts it. But after many unsuccessful attempts, Ina and Marc realize there’s a problem. Is it her ovaries, or his sperm? The doctor at the IVF clinic is optimistic. We become closely involved as Ina brings the camera to the clinic, determined to film everything. She documents the medical machinery, but also her openhearted journey of self-exploration. We witness the involvement of her sister who does have children, as well as the emotions and tension it causes in her relationship with Marc. Perhaps the wisdom of Simone de Beauvoir can provide some guidance? – See more at: https://www.idfa.nl/industry/tags/project.aspx?id=189A64FA-BBED-4127-AB21-A17875152CD8#sthash.gyUUIxnS.dpuf

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