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Sotiris Charizanis – Headshot Photo.JPG

Sotiris Charizanis

Sotiris Charizanis was born in Thessaloniki in 1989. In 2022, he graduated from the School of Film A.U.Th. (Faculty of Fine Arts of the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki). His research thesis “‘Visage’: a study of ‘time-image’” analyses how Gilles Deleuze's theories about “time-image” apply to the film “Visage” (2009) by Tsai Ming-liang. "Wound" (2022) is his dissertation on film editing and a film which is also written and directed by him. Additionally, the film "Wound" was also a finalist in the Best Experimental Feature category at Experimental Brasil 2024.


1-Can you please introduce yourself and share a bit about your journey into the world of filmmaking?


My name is Sotiris Charizanis and I was born in Thessaloniki in 1989. In 2022, I graduated from the School of Film A.U.Th. of the Faculty of Fine Arts of the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki which is based in Greece. Within the academic framework, I created small video arts, the most mature of which is my video art-performance “thanatos” (2020). “‘Visage’: a study of ‘time-image’” is my research thesis that analyses how Gilles Deleuze’s theories about “time-image” apply to the film “Visage” (2009) by Tsai Ming-liang. “wound” (2022) is my dissertation on film editing and a film which is also written and directed by me. During my studies, I worked as a script supervisor in three short films, but my main role is the film direction which I conceive as the creative process that diffuses in all the other film departments in order to bring to life not a narrative script, but an art concept that articulates the film language and has a rigid form based on specific references. From now on, I wish my continuity to be hopeful.


2-Can you discuss the significance of exploring philosophical concepts through your films, and how it influences your creative process?


Concerning my film direction style, as it is shaped until now and especially speaking about “wound”, my main artistic thematic is the concept of time and its expression through a minimalistic approach to monotony, repetition and circularity. I am not the right person to tell that the concepts of my film are philosophical, but I can tell that my influences derived from philosophical approaches with which I came across through books and art and inevitably they had an impact on me regarding not only my film’s thematics but also the creative structure of my film’s form.

3-Could you tell us about your background and what led you to pursue a career in filmmaking?


During my early adolescence, when I was watching a lot of films, I remember that I secretly realized that the creation of films is an inner priority and need for me. I repressed this need for years and after a lot of film screenings and readings about films, at the age of twenty-four I decided to give exams to enter the film school. After two years and two times of failure, I finally succeeded and I had my first mature attempt to create a film with my graduation film “wound”.


4- What inspired you to create the film "Wound," and what themes or ideas were you exploring through this project?


The thematic axes of “wound” are mainly two. Firstly, there is my personal experience and my personal history, as an individual, focusing on feelings that dominate or had dominated me in the past or I have experienced from others filtered through specific images, that came across my mind deriving from inspirations that I have from paintings, other films, literature and even from my personal experience as well, including my dreams, and through sounds that are chosen because they mean something for me. Secondly, there is the approach to time. The whole film structure is an attempt to approach the non-chronological time, the time not as a countable quantity but as a pure quality of experience. The long takes, the utilization of film editing and the circular repetition that is observed in performances, in cinematography, in sound, in production and costume design and in actors’ make-up create a universe of monotony that is the time in which the trauma is depicted and experienced.


5-How do you approach the process of film editing, especially considering its role as a central focus in your film "Wound"?


The film editing is one of the basic film codes in every film. In “wound”, the film editing was exactly prearranged from the finalization of the concept/script as one of its inseparable components. I knew that the scenes would be seven and that there would be no dissolves and no sound passes from the one scene to the other. Every scene is an autonomous long take with its own audiovisual identity and can be read either as an independent film structure able to be compared with the others artistically or as a part that can be connected to the other parts in order to narrate an imperceptible film story. But I believe that the film editing is not only about the technical implementation of the cut in the film editing program. It is more about the intellectual conceptualization of the film’s rigid form; the composition of every long take and by extension of the whole film’s structure, including the opening and ending credits.


6-What challenges did you encounter while working on "Wound," and how did you overcome them?


My main concerns regarding “wound” were the budget, the finding of the ideal location, how to meet the appropriate collaborators and how to deal with the guidance of the two actors in order for them to have the right instructions to perform these abstract situations in the seven scenes of the movie. These four concerns never transformed into big challenges because the budget was affordable, the location was found pretty easily, I quickly met people who believed in my vision and with whom the connection was strong and finally I had the best advices from two of my professors, Penny Bouska and Ioannis Kolaxizis, who was also my dissertation supervisor, in order for me to get ready for the rehearsals with the actors.


7-As a filmmaker, what draws you to experimental fiction and exploring non-chronological qualities of time in your work?


Since my early film viewings, I realized that the long takes attract me very much in a contemplative way. For example, the last long take of “Japón” (2002) by Carlos Reygadas has been inscribed in me as a life experience. Furthermore, as an individual, I have always had the tend to “get lost” in the moment and focus on it. In addition, in my early and mid-twenties, I had the chance to read four books that have a philosophical time approach: Marcel Proust’s “In Search Of Lost Time, Ⅰ: Swann’s Way”, Virginia Woolf’s “Mrs Dalloway” and “To The Lighthouse” and Siegfried Kracauer’s “Theory Of Film: The Redemption Of Physical Reality”. Although, the phrase of the non-chronological time, that I include in my description of “wound”, comes from Gilles Deleuze’s approaches to time in his book “Cinema 2. The Time-Image” that I studied after the shooting of the movie and during its postproduction, in order to write my research thesis. In this book, Deleuze, through Henri Bergson’s philosophical theories of time, describes the non-chronological time, as I said earlier, not as something that is countable but as a pure quality state that has an unchangeable constitution despite the changes that can happen throughout it. In this way, Deleuze introduces the “time-image” in cinema where the main interest is the experience both of viewer and movie character in what happens during each take and not in what it is expected to happen in the next one as it comes across in classic narrative movies. Thus, I realized that the form of “wound” suits these descriptions and that all my past references and inspirations about time started to connect with each other and form my main artistic concern of the non-chronological time. Finally, with the influence that I had from watching experimental cinema this movie came to life.


8-How do you see the relationship between film theory and practice influencing your creative process?


I believe that film theory and film practice are inseparable, the one lies in the other and depicts the other. The film language has some specific codes that are used in order for the whole film structure to communicate with the viewer either it is about a narrative film or an experimental one, fiction or documentary. The whole of signs, which every film frame of a movie carries, is based on the creator’s ideology and is open to the viewers’ different readings.


9-Can you share any insights into your directorial approach when working with actors and shaping performances, particularly in "Wound"?


Firstly, I approached personally the two actors to propose them the two roles giving them time to read the film’s script/concept. I trusted my instinct in order to decide which of the two actors would play each role and after a long time I realized that I unconsciously proposed the one role, that then depicted more my own sentimental condition, to the actor that resembles me. After their first reading, they notified me and I met each one in person, we agreed to collaborate and then our rehearsals began. Firstly, the rehearsals included general performance conditions outside the film’s scenes that I gave them in order for the actors to enter the roles’ sentimental situations. In continuity, I began to work each one of the seven scenes sometimes with each actor and sometimes with both of them. It is important to underline the fact that the rehearsals were accompanied by the appropriate music that I had chosen carefully. During this period of rehearsals, I decided to write two complete portraits for the two characters like they were characters in a narrative movie script with plot. No specific element of these portraits would appear clearly in the movie, but these two portrait descriptions were created to help the actors to deal with the seven abstract situations of the movie in a more efficient way. Furthermore, it is important to mention that, because of the absence of the speech in both performances, everything had to be interpreted through the body and the facial expressions. The personal experiences, the sentimental condition of several film fiction characters and several body positions that come across in painting, such as in Lucian Freud’s paintings, were our main references. Everything took its shape till our last rehearsal and came unchangeable on set for shooting where nothing new was added.


10-What do you hope audiences will take away from experiencing "Wound," both on an emotional and intellectual level?


I don’t hope something in particular. After a screening, I would firstly like to hear how someone experienced it in their own way both emotionally and intellectually and probably have a discussion with them. Of course, I would feel enthusiasm and warmth if a viewer sees what I had inside me creating the film, but this is something of secondary importance.


11-Are there any upcoming projects or ideas you're excited to explore in your future filmmaking endeavors?


In a future concept/script, I would like to develop in a more mature way the two thematics that had already concerned me in “wound”. There are always ideas that I write down and organize them but for the moment, there is no concept completely ready in order to begin a new film project directly. I wish this moment to come soon.

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