“ She asked, ‘Why did you even start filmmaking? What story do you want to see on the screen the most?’
This conversation sobered me up; suddenly I was back to square one.”
Interviewer: Good Morning, Dalmira. How are you doing? How is your project going on so far?
Dalmira: Morning! I am doing quite well, but also being busy with Lonely Pine, makes me feel even better. Right now, we are on development phase of the movie, you can follow us on Squarespace where we update our audience with some fresh news regarding Lonely Pine and topics that are related to the movie. Also, I would like to announce that Lonely Pine project will take part in Co-production Film Market of Berlinale, one of the Big Three films festivals in the world which also includes Cannes and Venice. The presenter is our Polish co-producer-Film Produkcja. This is very exciting for our team and we are happy to use the opportunity!
Interviewer: Sounds very ambitious. Can’r wait to see the film. We will put the link of your Squarespace account at the end. Now, if you don’t mind, let’s start our interview. As I know so far, the film, Lonely Pine, is about your childhood, but when you realized that it is about a time to share your story with people and why you chose the film format to share your story for that?
Dalmira: This story has been haunting me since my childhood. Since the moment my family lost my father actually. That was the event that left a deep wound in my heart. It influenced my life in a very profound way, and eventually formed me as the person that I am now. That pain of loss and guilt dulled with time and gone into the depth of my memory, but it would still not let me go. I wouldn't dare tell this to my family, and even more so, to my mother.
The year I graduated from high school and went to university to study physiology, there was a moment when I just couldn’t keep my pain within me any longer. I put the story on paper, but still wouldn’t show it to anyone. At that time I knew the draft was not as deep or emotional enough comparing to how I actually felt towards the long-past events. I was rightly hesitant to share the novel with other people as it didn't feel complete. As time went by I kept adding details to the story. One day I had a thought, - what if I saw this story on screen as a film? That would bring the solace that I craved for such a long time... These thoughts led me to the cinema world. As I turned 33 I re-worked and expanded my novel into a script and submitted it into a short film script competition. It got rejected with a note that the story was much longer than it should have been - in a short format. I had to put it away for a while for that and other various reasons, but mostly because I felt the script was not ready for a full feature yet. From time to time I would re-write and add to it while working on other films, both documentaries and features, and I almost completely forgot about this script until one day my daughter Aisha asked me directly, - Why did you even start filmmaking? What story do you want to see on screen the most?
This conversation sobered me up; suddenly I was back to square one. I put aside all other ideas and projects and fully concentrated on ‘Lonely Pine’. Last year I sent the script to some of my friends and received their enthusiastic feedback. Then, feeling more confident, I started sending it to some producers.
The most important goal in finding the right producer is to look for a like-minded human sole that would take the story right to heart and stand for it. Intuition led me to Marina Dessiatkina from Canada, a documentary director with long experience in producing/directing for television, first in Russia, and later in Canada. The choice was right, I was convinced. Marina became ‘Lonely Pine’s Lead Producer and things started moving ahead.
I felt that the Universe itself opened the way to this project because new great people, and wonderful film professionals became naturally attracted to it and started to assist it’s implementation. I would like to mention my new friends from Kazakhstan, Karlygash and Kulyami Murtazin, and their incredibly warm family. Every time I come to Almaty, I feel endless gratitude for their hospitality, openness and tremendous help.
I went beyond your question, but I felt the need to speak not only about myself, but about my story as well. I must give thanks to my family, soulmates, and close friends who helped me along the way, and who put their heart into this project through funding it because they believe that my private story is capable to become one of those universal screen stories that touch people’s hearts and make a difference in their lives.