Informador – 29th August 2018
A sample of the new British cinema
British filmmaker Daniel Kokotajlo presents his debut feature “Apostasía” at the Cinematheque of the University of Guadalajara, with religion as the engine of the plot
“Apostasía” is the first full-length film by Daniel Kokotajlo, a British filmmaker who portrays life within a family where religion will trigger problems. A mother and two daughters who come of age, with rigid rules about their behavior in society because they are Jehovah’s Witnesses. One of them will get pregnant; the other suffers from health problems but religion prohibits him from receiving blood transfusions. The film arrives at the Cinedeca of the UdeG within the film cycle Europa Nuevas Tendencias, a collaboration of the San Sebastian Festival with the International Film Festival in Guadalajara (FICG).
Without being autobiographical, this story refers to Daniel’s own baggage, since he grew up in the community. On the story, the director talks in an interview: “I had this idea in my head for a long time, but I did not feel comfortable talking about it. It is something that is close to me and my family. I did not want to make anyone angry. It took me a while to deal with the issue without worrying about that side. I also wanted to tell a story about the witnesses and what happens, not just the story of someone who leaves and discovers the world. There is also the story of those who stay and should not communicate with others in the family. It’s something that I saw in my congregation, I was always intrigued by what happened to those who stayed: they are those who are not allowed to talk to others. ”
Beyond religion, the plot of “Apostasy” can be seen as a mother making bad decisions: “She feels pressure for religion, for indoctrination. She is a mother who tries to do her best, according to how they have told her, but she has to act against her instincts as a mother. Bad decisions are the result of that: a combination of what they say and what they think is right. ”
Daniel did not study film, but he entered the seventh art when he was studying: “I moved with some friends who were involved in British cinema. I did not know it existed, I discovered it there. In that time I painted and made music, when I discovered the cinema I started to combine it “.
From his experience in this debut, he shared: “It is difficult to make films in the United Kingdom, but there are several supports. He had it. It is a very competitive scheme. The executives liked my story, gave it the green light, I think because of my personal connection with the story, because I was a former Jehovah’s Witness. It was an interesting approach. ”
Daniel Kokotajlo is already planning his next production: “I want to focus on my own stories, keep making British, contemporary stories. I think there are not many today: there is a lot of time, nothing that speaks of modern problems “.
“Apostasía” has been successful in Europe, where it has already premiered in commercial cinemas. “There are several things: people know about witnesses, but very little. They intrigue the story, learn what happens inside. It’s a community that we see every day, but at the same time we do not know much about it. “
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