George ve Ganaeaard and Horia Cucută: “when abusive relationships go too far”

Know Thy Partner is a powerful story about domestic abuse. For many people thinking about domestic abuse, the physical aspect would be the first to come to mind. However, this is often preceded by other factors. In this film, we wanted to explore precursors like control and intimidation, and see their progression. George and Horia have directed three short films, America (2019), Mothers (2020), and Thank You For Your Teeth! (2020), with 120+ festival selections and nineteen awards in the United States, Spain, Romania, Greece, Colombia, Iran, and Poland. At the moment, George and Horia are in pre-production with their first feature film.

What are the most challenging aspects of being a filmmaker?

In the beginning, the most challenging aspect is building a team that will help your vision come true, especially when you are on a tight budget or close to none.

What is your source of inspiration for this short film?

Thank you for your teeth! was inspired from old folk tales and myth regarding the Tooth Fairy. We wanted to reinvent these myths and add a bit of horror to it.
Know Thy Partner is inspired from real life situations where abusive relationships go too far.

What is the theme of this film?

Thank You For Your Teeth is about a 6-year-old boy named Josh who figures out that a set of his teeth means a new bike. So, he decides to do anything to make his newfound dream come true.
Know Thy Partner is about a woman who gets caught in the middle of a violent relationship but hopefully finds a way out in the end.

How do you decide on possible ways to promote your film when you are on a tight budget?

When you are on a tight budget, you have to rely on social media channels (FB, Instagram and TikTok) and build an audience from scratch, or if you have previous projects that have a fanbase you can use that audience to let them discover your new project.

How important do you think distribution is in today's marketplace?

Distribution has a key role in the marketing mix of a movie project. It helps to connect the audience with your movie.

For those considering self-distribution, what is your advice?

Be organized, and send your movie to all the big festivals based on your budget. Also, use all the free platforms and take advantage of festivals that have low fees or don’t charge. In the end, the most important thing is that your movie ends up being screened to as many people as possible.

How significant do you think short films are for someone venturing into directing films?

Short films are an excellent exercise for directors. They learn the ropes and procedures on how to make a movie, thus building the necessary steps for bigger and more complex projects.

What was the worst challenge of your career so far? How did you take it over?

Working on our first stop motion animation, “Thank you for your teeth!” was one of the biggest challenges, because it was our first project of this kind. In the begining we didn’t know what we were doing, but we kept on going and learned as we developed the project.

What are the factors to making a good film?

Build a good and solid team, that will help your story grow and take it further than you first imagined it.

Is there anything you would change if you could go back to the beginning?

I would definitely start experimenting earlier with film projects.

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