An interview with Cyrus Frisch

photo: Frank Groeliken

How did you get into filmmaking?

When I turned 6 years old I was given a (huge) Super8 camera that could film under water; the Nautilus. On holiday I would use it to portray my favorite animal: the Octopus Vulgaris. It was before I could swim, I would film with a floater around my waist.

What filmmakers inspire you?

I can become very angry when I hear filmmakers say: I don’t have the illusion my films will change the world. It makes me wonder why they spend all this money, and Energy, and talent, to begin with if they don’t think it’s going to make any difference! The filmmaker who would have the guts to say: I will make a narrative feature that will end poverty, that will restore the earth’s eco-systems, that will lead to a better life for nearly all 7 billion people and the planet, that filmmaker would inspire me. Unfortunately I do not know that filmmaker.

Where did the idea come from for “Forgive me”?  

When I was making Forgive me, I didn’t know much about world politics, let alone the forces that drive humanity. But I did know I was horrified about all kinds of manipulations that are shown on TV, every single evening. By doing the same, but even worse and openly, I wanted to reveal this. Therefore I challenged myself to make a film that would be morally unacceptable for it’s audience. TV is like a mirror. If all you see in that mirror is shit, you will behave like shit.   

“Forgive me” is a film about suffering and cruelty. What do you think about talk show and reality Tv?

 You are wrong, sorry. It’s not about suffering and cruelty, it’s about manipulation.

Cyrus Frisch: the enfant terrible of dutch cinema. 

Funny, but inaccurate. I’m just trying to make exciting films. That make the blood flow a little faster. Just like any other filmmaker. Therefore I don’t think my films are controversial.  But perhaps this is the reasoning of an ‘enfant terrible’. I don’t think that’s for me to answer, and frankly I don’t care.
I always wanted to make cinema of real importance. If you look at different aspects that can cause social change, the best scenario for large-scale social change is a combination between enough support within the population and a visionary, charismatic leader that makes good use of the social assets. For example, imagine that Obama would spends less money on the American army and instead, he would spend it on a better education policy; in order to succeed, he would need the support of a large part of the population who believes in it and wants the same thing. I think cinema can be a very important tool to create these kind of social tipping points.

Do you have a method for writing?

For the next film I spend years and years trying to understand the forces that make the world turn. We have created a system that works well for only a small amount of people. It is not sustainable and it won’t last. This can be changed. In history changes in mentality occur when a new energy regime and a information revolution – to manage that new energy regime – come together. Since we are experiencing a very powerfull information revolution, a new, sustainable, energy regime is all we need to finish the job. It is happening all over the world, but the old industry is trying to stop it. Right now I consider it my goal to help move the world in the right direction.
For me the hardest part of the job is becoming aware of the big picture. Then it’s simply a matter of translating it into a narrative, fiction, film.
By the way. I’d like to invite Silvio Berlusconi to play the lead. This is not a joke. In this film
his character would save humanity, by changing the world economy into a more empathic system. Can he please get in touch?!

How do you see your audience?

I consider the audience and myself as one. My mission is to make a film I really like, and if I succeed I’m sure the audience will like it aswell.

 ‘Dazzle’ and Georgina Verbaan.  

Working with Georgina really was fantastic. We would be 99% honest about everything. Which is all you need for the best possible working relationship in film.

 How long was the shoot? Have you used different cameras?

It was me and her. A one man crew. Over and over and over again. Untill we both were satisfied.

 What are some of your non- film interests?

The global political, financial and social arena.

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