Interview Jana Dolezalova Montorio

Multilingual author of dramatic texts, currently living in Luxembourg. Her plays have been performed in the Czech Republic (her country of origin) and in French-speaking countries. In France, the award-winning surrealist play "Les îles et les cabillauds" (Islands and Codfish) was published in 2023 by L'Harmattan. In the same year, her first screenplay for a feature film "Le blanc immense" (The Great White) won a prize at the National Literary Competition in Luxembourg.

Style-wise, the author draws inspiration from the theater of the absurd, and her comedies are described as thrilling, cruel, and magical. Also appreciated is her sense of visual quality.
Her other activities include performing, teaching workshops, and translating.

Your project has been recognized in European Short Awards. Could you please provide a brief overview of your project and its significance in the context of our festival?

This award makes me extremely happy and grateful because "A Lonely Dreamer" is actually my first short screenplay. The same year (2023) I also wrote my first feature film script which was awarded in another competition. You can imagine how motivated I am to continue writing for the screen!

From your perspective, what unique qualities or aspects of your film make it a compelling choice for potential distributors?
The story explores a very topical and sensitive subject - the separation of man from the wilderness - in a frightening and at the same time very poetic way that will certainly captivate the audience. The script also has great visual potential. Beautiful scenes are interwoven with scenes of horror. The audience will undoubtedly appreciate some quirky characters that add a touch of absurdity to the story.

Could you discuss the artistic elements or expressions you incorporated into your project, and how they contribute to the overall characterization of your work?
Mixing elements of horror, poetic beauty, cruel reality and surreal fantasies is something I also enjoy doing as a playwright. I love theatre of the absurd and my texts are often described as exciting, brutal and magical.

What initially inspired or motivated you to pursue a career in filmmaking?
It is a childhood dream that I tried in vain to forget due to lack of confidence until my 40s.

Are there any particular films or filmmakers that have greatly influenced or inspired your own work? If so, what aspects of their work resonate with you?
My childhood in the 1980s could not but be influenced by horror and science fiction films. In fact, I still draw inspiration from them today. As a teenager I admired Ingmar Bergman for his poetic vision of human relationships and Woody Allen for his sense of humour and self-deprecation. Quentin Tarantino was a refreshing and exciting surprise for me. My absolute favourite film is probably Fellini's "Amarcord" and I've seen Gerwig's "Lady Bird" a few times in a row lately. I guess it's my love for characters that move around a lot, make mistakes here and there and seem spontaneous and alive. I'm fascinated by stories that have a seemingly simple plot but contain the essence of life.

What genres do you find most creatively fulfilling to work within, and what draws you to these particular genres?
Comedy, drama and horror, preferably a combination. Comedy and drama are at the centre of human existence, they are us. Horror is a game with the audience.

When you're not immersed in filmmaking, what are some of your other interests or hobbies?
When I'm not immersed in writing or thinking about writing, I run drama classes for children and teenagers, continue my training and enjoy my lovely ordinary family life in the countryside.

Lastly, could you share any insights or plans you have for future projects?
I'm currently working on another script for a feature film as well as a stage play. I'm forcing myself to network because I don't have any ambitions as a director and one day I'd like to see some of my work on the screen. Winning a competition like the European Short Awards is undoubtedly a great help and a great motivation!