#BonfireStories — Introducing Filmmaker and writer Chloé Aktas

Chloé Aktas | Photo Credit: Glenn Roberson

Q:When it comes to storytelling, where do you get your inspiration from?

For me, the best stories always come from life. The human experience is different for each and every one of us. Nuances in our perceptions and responses to life’s turns and challenges are the bedrock to stories.

Q: Chloe, playing two integral roles: Production (directing) and post-production with editing, did everything you capture translate well on the final edit? and how did you effectively play these two roles?

I think what made me effective in both these roles is that I gave myself a lot of time for editing. It took me six months to reach the final cut, so I had a lot of time to play around with cuts and share with my peers. I am fortunate to have such gifted filmmakers as friends, and they are not shy about sharing their opinions with me. I enjoy editing my own work, as I tend to do more re-writing in post-production. Allowing myself the time to dig into the footage gave me the freedom to fine-tune the story and fully understand what was missing and what was working in the film.

Q: Lance (in a Neck Brace) just debuted at the Sundance Film Festival. How important is this to you personally, and to your career?

Being accepted into the Sundance Film Festival is a dream come true. I sound cheesy, but it is true. Personally and professionally, I feel that being accepted by Sundance was an affirmation that I am on the right path. Now, I must keep plowing forward.

Q: What hidden part of the film are you most privately proud of and why?

I am very proud that I stuck to my commitment to make this film. I’m someone who benefits from external motivation, so the fact that I took initiative to make a project on my own is a huge accomplishment.

Q: In your point of view, why did you choose to locate a story about relationships and self-preservation with the person that has been dumped and not with the person that initiated the breakup?

I think audiences can immediately identify with a character who’s in pain and especially one who is going through the pain of heartbreak. Break-ups are so universal and I wanted the audience to have a collective experience of broadcasting their own past relationships onto Lance.

Q: Tell us about being vulnerable in your work? Do you think there’s a line?

I don’t think there is a line. I think the more vulnerable and the more authentic, the better. The more truthful we are in our work, the more audiences can relate.

Q: When did you realize you wanted to be a filmmaker? Was there an exact moment, or was it more gradual?

It was a gradual realization for me. I have always been in love with movies, but I originally intended to only be an actress. I participated in acting training from a very young age through high school. I realized that being only an actress meant giving up a lot of creative control, and that didn’t feel true to me. Through my experience studying at NYU, I realized that I am interested in the entire vision of the film and I decided that in addition to acting, I wanted to direct.

Q: What would you say is your unique responsibility as a filmmaker?

My responsibility as a filmmaker is to create a space where audiences can feel. “Real-life” doesn’t allow us to adequately express our emotions. We stifle our feelings out of fear of rejection. My job as a filmmaker is to reconnect my audience with what makes us human and to create a safe space where we can feel and be vulnerable.

Q: What’s next for you?

My next step is to direct my first feature film! I have an original screenplay that I’m very excited about, so I hope to make progress this year towards moving it into pre-production.

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