Karolina Belka: Big ideas, tight budgets

Hide and seek becomes something more than just a game. A little girl is no longer looking for her friends, but for missing love and warmth

What are the most formidable challenges inherent to the profession of filmmaking?

Speaking from the student’s point of view – big ideas, small budgets. So at some point you have to limit your thinking to low cost ideas or get into debt. Both options are quite bad. Filmmaking is an expensive hobby and you’re gonna experience it first-hand or at least your wallet will 😉

Could you elaborate on the wellspring of your creative inspiration for this particular short film?

Everything started with a specific task from my profesor – your first year film can’t have any dialogues. That opened my head for ideas, which didn’t need words to tell. My first thought was „Hide and seek!” – but I wanted to make it about something more than just looking for children.
Hide and Seek | Poster
Karolina Belka

Could you elucidate on the central thematic underpinning of your film?

My film is about a loss experienced by a young child. It’s also about the need of saying the last goodbye, which was taken away from my characters. The main goal is to close the unfinished chapter and go on with life.

How do you navigate the task of strategizing cost-effective promotional efforts when operating within a constrained budget?

This is a student film and I still am a student, so I didn’t have much money for the production neither for the promotion. But in my opinion what’s more important than money is a strong will and ambitions. I do everything to show my film to wider and wider audience.

In today's dynamic marketplace, how pivotal do you consider the role of film distribution?

A film distribution is crucial nowadays not only when it comes to feature film, but also shorts. It’s great that a film can have it’s further life after 2 years of festival journey or that it can make a profit. I’m happy that this topic is also brought up during conversations about shorts.

For individuals contemplating the path of self-distribution, what counsel or insights can you offer?

I think that I’m not in the position to give advices regarding self-distribution, because I would love to hear some hahah!

In your estimation, what level of significance do short films hold for aspiring filmmakers seeking to embark on a career in directing?

Shorts are a start for filmmakers to make one day a feature. You’re not gonna learn how to swim just by jumping into water. At least that’s what I think. But what’s amazing is that shorts aren’t just exercises, they can be as much impactful as long forms.

Reflecting on your professional journey thus far, could you share an instance of the most formidable challenge you encountered and how you surmounted it?

Eventually you just have to embrace the fact that your well made film won’t be everyone’s favorite and at some point it’s not only about a film. Film selections, awards etc. can be same unfair just as life is. Face that and just do your thing.

What, in your view, are the critical factors that contribute to the creation of a cinematic masterpiece?

For me masterpiece starts with a good story. And not only it having a great structure, but something that a director wants to tell me. So I would suggest to put your story always first. Tell me about something that you care about, that is important to you. Make me feel something! That’s my view.

If you could revisit the inception of your career, are there any aspects or decisions you would choose to alter in hindsight?

I feel that my career is just getting started, however I know that small steps I take now, are gonna have a specific outcome in the future. So if I could talk to me from three years ago I would’ve cheered myself up and give more motivation, because one day all the effort is gonna pay off.
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