CLOSE-UP Culture welcomes writer and director Milda Baginskaite onto the website to learn more about her short film 7 Planets.
Q: Can you tell us what led you to write 7 Planets and what audiences can expect from the film?
A: I WAS excited to write a character that was an ultimate outsider. With 7 Planets, I wanted to explore that child-like frustration of an unjust world and spice it up with a naive dream that one day we could all start fresh on another planet.
What the audiences can expect is an episodic tale of passionate dreamers which is an easily relatable problem – I think.
Q: How was the experience of working with three different generations of actors – Poppy O’Brien, Martha Binns and Sue Moore – on the film?
A: THEY were all great. I found Poppy and the other kids so inspiring. They are an intelligent generation. They all came on set equipped with so much knowledge about the space and planets that the rest of us felt like we were the young ones. Poppy is a super talent and I have been working with her since on other projects.
Martha had not acted before but I found it easy to direct her which I guess represents the adaptability of our generations and the eagerness to learn.
I have worked with Sue on another short film before, so it was very easy to work together. She is a true professional and a modern-minded woman. It is a great feeling when someone with so much experience is passionate about the script you have written.
Q: You worked with a female-dominated crew for 7 Planets. What was the atmosphere like on set for this project?
A: IT was relaxed and comfortable, but it did not get in the way of completing shots on time at all. We faced every problem so calmly. It was a new experience to us all.
Sadly, we had some negative comments about being an almost all-female crew as well. We even had a guy leaving the project because he thought our message was wrong and celebrating a film crew that had so few men was hurting equality. But that is a different story.
Q: You have been writing and directing since the age of 6. Can you talk about your background and your love for storytelling and filmmaking?
A: YEAH, I had a home-made theatre company with a couple of neighbours. Possibly because none of us went to pre-school and we only start school at the age of seven in Lithuania. It started as a very good – or so we thought – business plan and it then became a writing platform for me.
I believe that storytelling and story-consuming are the core elements of human existence. I feel privileged that I have a chance to tell my stories to a wider audience and that I have a lifestyle that allows me to spend lots of time researching and exploring all those different characters out there.
I learn a lot with each film I make, both personally and professionally. When the story I am telling connects to the audience, no matter how big it is, it is the most rewarding feeling of all.
Q: I believe you currently working on two films – Blueberries and Milk and Pink Pool. Can you tell us anything about these projects?
A: PINK Pool is an exciting production for me and my producer Pilar [Cartró Benavides] because we are combining fashion with narrative – and filming it in Barcelona, her hometown. In a few words, it is a short film about someone who loses their mind when no one shows up to their birthday party.
Blueberries and Milk will be my first short made in Lithuania. It is about female periods and first times. While preparing for the First Communion, a ten-year-old Ula gets her first period which takes her on a mission to find out what death really means. It is likely to be filmed in the summer of 2019 as we need more time to raise the finance for it.
Q: As you mention, they will be filmed in Lithuania and Barcelona respectively. Does the chance to work in these different environments and settings excite you?
A: I AM super excited to film something in Lithuania. Naturally, I have strong nostalgic connections to the country. Even though Blueberries and Milk is an universal story, I am determined to make it a Lithuanian one. Especially because the short will document the fast disappearing lifestyle of old Lithuanian catholic villages which I used to spend my summers at.
Q: What ambitions do you have for the coming years and what kind of stories do you want to tell?
A: I AM in development of two more short films here in the UK – alongside the ongoing international projects. We are aiming to complete the principal photography of both this year. Wishful thinking.
After the shorts, I would like to move on to feature projects. I have already started developing my first feature and hopefully can soon start applying to development support schemes very soon.
Thematically, I am intrigued by childhood, tradition and obsessions with beauty and power. I am also passionate about the unexplored paths of the female heroine and her journey. We are living in such exciting times now – more women are voicing their stories. I find it inspiring when I see something brave and different on screen – that is not trying to recreate the woman’s journey through putting her in the man’s shoes, but in her own unique steps.
It does not always work but that is what excites me the most. Whether it is space, science or storytelling I wish that more people remembered that there is so much we do not know yet and that sometimes it is okay to be wrong.