Q&A SESSION WITH ELA ELISABETH BEKEN – ACTRESS | DIRECTOR | WRITER
Did you always know you wanted to make films?
I always had some artistic seeds percolating in my heart. Prior to discovering the joy of film making, I employed acting, singing, literature, and some other artistic mediums to communicate these row ideas. Above all, I really liked being on stage and acting different kinds of characters. It was like putting on different kinds of costumes. For a while, telling stories this way was very exciting. One day, however, I realized that I had in my heart more costumes to wear and more stories to tell. I started to write my own stories and develop my own ideas. Naturally, my experiences as an actress influenced me as a director. Studying the tools of acting and learning how to use them to express myself as an actress has been beneficial whenever I worked with actors. I see my actors through a different lens. Being able to talk the same language as my actors helps me to bond with them, work more effectively, and reach my goals faster. In conclusion, realizing the rich dimensions of the exhilarating art of film making fulfilled the missing elements of my life.
What is your biggest challenge?
I had a life full of challenges like many other people in the world. It was not always easy, but every challenge taught me to be a better human being and made me stronger. Managing my profession as filmmaker and writer coupled with being a mom of two little children has been one of the challenges. In my own experience as a daycare child and I always have missed my mom and secretly wished that she would not work so much and just spend time with me. When I became a mom and I had a baby, and another one a year later, I wanted to make sure that my children were not to miss me. At the same time, I was, however, already working on my future documentary A Piece of Germany
and I was writing my first novel. On top of all these, these were all happening in Los Angeles, a completely new town in a completely new country where I was just settling. I had to build everything from ground zero and I knew this was not going to be easy. I have learned to be tough and handle difficult situations at a very young age. When I was a little child, I was taken away from Germany, my birthplace, and brought to my parents’ birthplace in Turkey. Suddenly, I was between two different cultures. Losing everything I have ever known so abruptly was a traumatic experience. In an early age, this was not easy. I think, however, because of these experiences, I have learned never to give up. Today, as a passionate artist and a mother of two gorgeous children, I can proudly say that I am a maker. I always say to my children too, if one door closes, another opens. I learned to love challenges because they took me where I am now.
What do you think about “Astrall Story’s” courageous idea to gather 44 filmmakers and break the world record?
This concept is absolutely interesting to me. Some years ago, when I was in Munich, Germany, I had a conversation with a director friend of mine. He told me about a project with a similar idea like the Astrall Story that brought multiple filmmakers together to make a single movie. I was truly fascinated by this notion. I always thought that the bottom line is that we are all humans. What language we speak or what we believe in should not matter all that much. At the same time, of course, we are all very diverse. Even within a family we may have our profound differences. We are all unique individuals. Therefore, the idea of bringing 44 unique points of view in order to make a film is just beautiful. The philosophy behind the creation of one whole meta entity out of diverse many is just elegant. I like it. I love it. This project at once reminded me the patchwork-love-seat in my home. Many years ago, when I was walking around a furniture store in Munich, I suddenly saw a patchwork-love-seat in front of me. I immediately loved it but did not know why. I remember thinking that I had never seen a seat like that before. I asked the salesperson what it was. He told me that it was a patchwork-love-seat that was made with different textile styles coming from various cultures from around the world. I realized once again that we sometimes match better if we are different. I saw that the combining different personalities and styles may create a life of its own. I firmly believe that Astrall Story will not only break the world record, but it will also create something that is beautiful and popularize a fresh and meaningful method of art making for many years to come. The beauty is in the difference and our troubled world needs this work more than ever.
Which aspects of an Associate Producer can lead a film in another dimension?
I am not sure if I understand this question. We all have our own beliefs and unique ways of doing things the right way. However, how we perceive things, or how we function in this world is learned or programmed by our family, friends, neighbors, media, teachers, etc. This system may work as is; however, engaging a special person, like an Associate Producer who could reshape the “normal,” may lead us to other dimensions which we cannot even begin to imagine.
Regarding your experience, can you give 3 keywords that ARFF International provides to the filmmakers?