Bára Anna Stejskalová

Bára Anna Stejskalová studies Animation programme TV School of the Academy of Performing Arts in Prague, Czech Republic. Her graduation film The Fishermen was on BAFTA shortlist. She’s a co-creator of HEARDT, project which got official Burning Man Honorarium Grant in 2018.

Dust Films

Love is Just a Death Away

Q & A

If the world you created in your film became a reality, is that a world you would want to live in? Is there a Sci-Fi world you’d buy a one-way ticket to?

My world was reality. It represented the state of my soul, of my mind. All the garbage and sweet beauty of decomposition, yearning to be set free from all the misery. I don't think I would like to live in it again. Or atleast I am trying not to get back. And no - I don't think I would like a one-way ticket to any sort of future. I haven't seen one that would truly fit me yet.

Name a Sci-Fi character you relate to on a spiritual level? Who is your Sci-Fi spirit animal/spirit alien?

I would say Rachael from Blade Runner. I can relate to inner sadness, mystery, questioning… And oh my a spirit alien? That's a really hard question. Can I say Mew and Mew Two from Pokémon?

Friend or Foe: humanoid robots with advanced artificial intelligence? What if robots start making their own Sci-Fi films? Will you support them in their endeavors?

Heck yes! I would be super curious what they would be up to! I think emotions are infectious, so I wouldn't be threatened by the idea of them getting crazy evil and killing us all. I would be more concerned if we would be able to understand them, but they I am lost in the world and not able to understand even these days, so I guess there wouldn't be much more of a difference.

In 1996, Bugs Bunny recruited Michael Jordan and Bill Murray to form the greatest basketball squad of all-time, the Tune Squad; you’re Bugs, who’s on your Sci-Fi Tune Squad?

Well Michael Jordan was my first crush ever. So I am sure in the future we will have technology to bring him back, so I choose you Michael!! Again!

You’ve gotta go through some bad ideas to get to the good ones. Tell us one of your bad ideas. How do you get past the bad ones to find your spark?

Please. I don't have bad ideas. Perhaps only not so good ones - ok, so for the film Love Is Just a Death Away it was originally about two parasites living in the dead dog - Bob and Steve. They were sort of bipolar and they were fighting over who was going to be in charge, yet they had to remain friends at the same time. They find love as well - atleast Steve does - a little mouse. But Bob accidentally kills her, so it was a rather depressing story and I wanted to end on a positive note.

Do you consider yourself part of a sci-fi community? Or when your brain is in the future and your body’s in the present, is that isolating?

I don't see myself in the sci-fi community. No. But I know the feeling of isolation, when my mind is wrapped in the stories it is creating - from the future and from the present - and I am not able to see the present world around me.

Do you consider yourself more of an analog or digital person? What kind of balance do strike between the two? Is there a disconnect between the technology you make films about and the technology that you make films with?

I would say analog, as I am working with puppets, and creating everything by hand. But at the same time, we use digital cameras and Dragon Frame for capturing. For me it goes hand in hand. I prefer to use real materials and effects, rather than rely on post production, but I understand when there is no other way, and if it is suitable I am not against it.

When you’re creating the props and sets that make a new world, where do you look for inspiration? How do you create objects that are relatable but unfamiliar?

I do not look anywhere in particular. For the latest movie, I found out I was deeply inspired by one poster from IKEA, that was hanging in my room for months, and I only realised about two months after the premiere. I think the magic of creating objects like that is slight alteration. I was always saying it is all about the details. Sometimes people might miss those details, but I think they still remain somehow in their unconsciousness.

Lightning round: Star Wars or Star Trek? Philip K. Dick or William S. Burroughs? Practical or CGI? Dystopia or Utopia? Post Apocalypse or Pre Apocalypse?

Star Wars! Burroughs! Practical! Utopia! Pre Apocalypse!