Shifting between ‘must’s and ‘want’s, we perceive life as a necessity. Dimitar Stafidov and ‘Talking to Al’ show us that no matter the question, the answer is our own choice.
It’s your choice to jump. It’s also your choice whether you fall or fly…
While watching ‘Talking to Al’, I catch myself asking questions which in every other nine minutes I will avoid. It is obviously a film about our aims, choices, determination, representing the usual concerns in life, yet, from quite unusual perspective – Dimitar Stafidov’s perspective.
Talking to Dimitar about ‘Talking to Al’
What is ‘Talking to Al’?
D: ‘Talking to Al’ is just nine minutes about life. I was writing and played with the ‘depressed guy’ – ‘wise guy’ dialogue but I guess ‘Talking to Al’ eventually turned into a life lesson for sad, little people like myself [he giggles]. Since then I’ve had a few people who said the movie really made them think and got them out of an emotional hole, so I guess it serves its purpose.
Is Al God?
D: Well, now that would be like asking if Leo’s dreaming at the end of Inception, wouldn’t it? Here’s a secret — the whole point of the movie is that it doesn’t matter.
How was the idea born?
D: The idea of two people talking on an empty street somewhere between life and death came pretty naturally since at the time I was obsessed with reading about people with near-death-experience, and also Andy Weir’s short story ‘The Egg’.
How did you make it happen?
D: There was this student script contest by NU Boyana studios, which would let the winner shoot a short film on one of their sets. I didn’t win the contest and just made it work [he laughs].
Dimitar Stafidov an undeniably talented and annoyingly humble young man. He, in his words, gets bored easily so he often cycle between different creative hobbies like art, music, drama, drawing, writing and architecture. Yes! He does everything, I know!
Creativity is a key word in the film. Hence, what is creativity?
D: Creativity is and always has been the reason I get up in the morning. If I can’t either travel or be creative in a way, I start feeling like I’m just going through the motions and lose track of why I’m existing at all, just like Danny’s character in the beginning, I guess. Art for me, personally, is a life-saver, though I know people, for whom that would be sports or work. Everyone has to find his passion and stick to it.
Rarely Dimitar runs out of compelling ideas. His modern vision always combines a few different fields of art, creating his unique way of expressing himself. A clear example is his recent coursework: visualising music into 3D space and then linking it to architecture by turning it into a music hall.
What is success then?
D: Success is just being happy.
D: In short, have in mind that no God will come down and fix your life — it’s all up to you to live the way you want, the best way you can.
Even though Dimitar simply explains ‘Talking to Al’ as a ‘depressed guy’ — ‘wise guy’ dialogue, overselling “life is in your hands” message, what he is trying to convey is the unpreventable fear living in us, how life expectation, daily pressure, failure, change of goals keep young people in chains, how these young people need only themselves to continue achieving their dreams.
No God will come down and fix your life!