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An Interview with Diana Galimzyanova, Director of The Lightest Darkness

by Mike Haberfelner

June 2016

Films directed by Diana Galimzyanova on (re)Search my Trash


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Your upcoming movie The Lightest Darkness - in a few words, what is it about?


It's a twisted story about a neurotic private eye who struggles to finish the case. When he takes a train voyage, his own dark secrets begin to reveal themselves. Thereís also s serial killer subplot.


The Lightest Darkness tells its story in reverse order - so what's the idea behind this, and how easy or hard is it to not (literally) lose one's plot in the process?


Script wise itís a challenge. I love to read screenwriting books, like if I write a horror, for example, I will read couple of book on writing horror prior just to get into the mood. But thereís actually no book that devoted to writing the story with reverse chronology. I've only found couple of articles, so this time, I basically did the analyzing myself. Then I've spent two months outlining the whole script because with reverse chronology its crucial that you give away the information at a right time, not too early. But your hero should act like he already knows the answers and the answers have changed him because you're starting from the end of the character's arc. And we understand why the hero is acting in that particular way or saying those things only later in the film and the writer canít give away too much information prior because that would make a film boring, so you should plan the right revealing point for every piece of information.


You also describe The Lightest Darkness as a film noir - so what fascinates you about that genre, and some of your genre favourites?


Itís an aesthetically amazing style that explores the archetypal themes. I also love the way the stories are told in film noir; it matches my own inner voice. My favorite film noir is Sweet Smell of Success, it's an unbeatable masterpiece.


(Other) sources of inspiration when writing The Lightest Darkness?


As usually a lot of inspiration comes from life itself, the stuff you see around you, the stuff you experience. All the other artforms are also inspiring. With The Lightest Darkness I'd say architecture was particularly inspiring.


What can you tell us about the intended look and feel of your movie?


I want the film to feel like it was really made in the 40s. Itís no set in the 40s but it has the anachronistic elements for the 40s like the clothing and the props. Itís like the film is set in the alternative world. And my short teaser for the crowdfunding campaign speaks louder than words. This is the look and feel the move it's going to have. Only better, because we are going have a better camera.


Anything you can tell us about your key cast and crew yet, and why exactly these people?


I kind of promised myself to hire more women as a crew for my debut feature to support the amazing women in film, and so far the cinematographer, producer and 1st AD are all women, and I think this is just awesome and Iíll try to hire more female crewmembers. As for the actors, Iím in the process of casting the movie, but I've already cast two amazing actresses, one of whom worked with me on my short February 28.


As we speak, you're still running a fundraiser for The Lightest Darkness - so do talk about your campaign!


I wanted that campaign to have its own story that is related to the story of the film, itís a transmedia thing, you are actually learning the stuff you wouldnít learn otherwise from the campaign, like what happened to some characters after the story ended. And my perks are all plot related props that were especially made for the film and the campaign. One of the perks is actually like a McGuffin in the film, but I wonít tell you which one.


Once the funds are raised, what's the schedule - and even if it's waaay too early to ask, any idea when and where the film might be released yet?


In the ideal world, we are going to start the shooting in September, and I want the post production to be finished on October 15th, that's going be my 30th birthday, and I want to be one of those filmmakers who managed to produce a debut feature before the big 30. Then Iíll start submitting the film to the festivals. I'm not idealistic enough to believe in the Sundance dream, but I hope the film could make it to the festivals and eventually video on demand.


Any future projects beyond The Lightest Darkness you'd like to share?


I really want to get the rights and produce a short based on one of the Charles Bukowski stories, because Iím a huge fan, and I just feel that I could tell that story. I also have an idea for my second feature, I already outlined a couple of scenes, because I started to see them. Itís going to be a female-driven psychological horror. I think Iíll start writing it for real in late autumn.


What got you into filmmaking to begin with, and did you receive any formal training on the subject?


Ten years ago I was walking down the street, and I realized that I wanted to be a filmmaker. Then I started to transform into one. Formal training doesnít work for me; Iím a film school drop-out. But Iím always in the process of learning; Iíve got a schedule for this, Iíve been reading 3-4 filmmaking books every month for at least couple of years, I wish I could read more, but I donít have enough time for that. I also love all kinds of workshops, seminars, webinars, you name it.


What can you tell us about your filmwork prior to The Lightest Darkness?


Iíve made a bunch of weird shorts that were screened at more than 35 festival in 15 counties; I also got a short horror script thatís a finalist in 7 competitions so far.


How would you describe yourself as a director?


Itís a hard question. I like the work to be done on schedule. If everything goes by the plan, Iím a good cop. I donít like to interrupt other people. I'm not one of those directors who tell the cinematographers what f stop to use, even though Iím more into directing the camera than the actors. I believe everyone should just do their job and thatíd be great. It actually happened on all of my films so the vibe was calm and friendly, all mutual respect and collaboration. And the people want to work with me again; that probably means that Iím not an evil tyrant. But who knows, maybe it's just a self-deception.


Filmmakers who inspire you?


Hitchcock is my main inspiration. I share his approach, the whole detailed planning thing like he basically did the final cut during the pre-production. He was such a genius; heís the only director that is mentioned in any filmmaking book. You read a book on editing, sound, color correction, you name it, youíll always find something about the way Hitchcock influenced this particular area of filmmaking about his innovations. So his films are like master classes in perfection.


Your favourite movies?


The Holy Mountain, Begotten, Dead Man, Persona, Tideland, Dogville, 2046, Sweet Smell of Success, Shadow of a Doubt, Spring Summer Fall Winter and Spring, to name a few


... and of course, films you really deplore?


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Great Britain (a.k.a. the United Kingdom)

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x-rated  find Diana Galimzyanova at

I'm trying not to judge other peopleís work like that. But I usually hate films that were made out of the trend and not out of the a real urge to tell a story you know a lot about and you care. This approach creates superficial films with no substance, and when itís usual for mainstream cinema, itís quite sad when fellow indie filmmakers do that.


Your/your movie's website, Facebook, IndieGoGo, whatever else?



Anything else you are dying to mention and I have merely forgotten to ask?


I'm a huge Simpsons fan, so I just like to mention this for no particular reason. But wait, Simpsons did really cool film noir story in one of the Treehouse of Horror episodes. It was based on Hitchcock's Strangers on a Train. So with the right themes and the right mood you could even turn the Simpsons into film noir.


Thanks for the interview!


© by Mike Haberfelner

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and shall not be held responsible for
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Thanks for watching !!!



On the same day
a Burglar wants to kill you
and your Ex wants
to make up ...
... and for the life of it,
you can't decide


A Killer Conversation

produced by and starring
Melanie Denholme
directed by
David V.G. Davies
written by
Michael Haberfelner
Ryan Hunter and
Rudy Barrow

out now on DVD



Stell Dir vor, Deine Lieblingsseifenoper birgt eine tiefere Wahrheit ...
... und stell Dir vor, der Penner von der U-Bahnstation hat doch recht ...
... und dann triffst Du auch noch die Frau Deiner (feuchten) Tršume ...


Und an diesem Tag geht natŁrlich wieder einmal die Welt unter!!!


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