Dimitris Tsakaleas, Lida Vartzioti • Directors of Sad Girl Weekend
“We are really interested in talking about the coming of age problems we all face as we are growing up”
- We caught up with Dimitris Tsakaleas and Lida Vartzioti to ask about Sad Girl Weekend, their short film selected for EFP’s Future Frames
Meeting at the School of Film Studies at the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, directors Dimitris Tsakaleas and Lida Vartzioti worked behind the camera on various school projects and discovered that, whilst their cinematic tastes were different, that they had similar creative visions. Deciding to collaborate, their first film together was Yawth (2018), part of a trilogy, which screened at the lies of Drama and Thessaloniki
Sad Girl Weekend, the second part of their trilogy, screens as part of this year’s EFP Future Frames taking place during Karlovy Vary’s Eastern Promises. The film follows friends from secondary school who are moving on to new phases of their life and a final weekend spent together becomes a eulogy for times past.
We caught up with Tsakaleas and Vartzioti to ask about the influences on the film and working with a young cast
Cineruopa: Sad Girl Weekend is part of a trilogy. Can you tell us more about it?
Dimitris Tsakaleas, Lida Vartzioti: With our films we are really interested in talking about the coming of age problems we all face as we are growing up. Yawth, Sad Girl Weekend and Good Girls Club are part of the Uncool Trilogy, a series of films that follow female characters as they are coping with their everyday growing up pains. Yawth talks about the social media generation, Sad Girl Weekend deals with the goodbyes that we say to our university life after we graduate and Good Girls Club – still at financing stage - talks about the end of the high school years and the first steps to adulthood.
How did you go about finding and working with your young cast?
It is really hard finding the right actors, especially when you are talking about growing up pains. We knew from the start that casting would be really difficult and important for this story. We couldn’t be more blessed with our three girls that brought the Sad Girl Weekend story to life. With Georgina Liossi, we worked together in our first short film Yawth and we fell in love with her presence on screen and her work ethic. We saw Elsa Lekakou in Christos Massalas’ award winning short film Copa–Loca and she was captivating! Last but not least, we saw Natasa Exintaveloni’s work on film and TV and we were huge fans of the persona she has created on her social media platforms and thought that the way she uses comedy and humour was something that we needed in our story.
We started working with the three girls together, doing meditation exercises, and creating the past that the characters share together. It was a long process and we discussed a lot about the transitional phases everyone confronts one way or another in the process of growing up.
Who influenced your style and this film in particular?
Our influences vary: films, music, Instagram and Tumblr posts. Sofia and Gia Coppola’s directing style are things that we really appreciate. Teenage and university comedies as well as romantic films give us a lot of inspiration. Films like The Breakfast Club, Mean Girls, Superbad, Booksmart and Lady Bird had a huge influence on the way we handle our stories.
Specifically, for Sad Girl Weekend, our main goal was to achieve the aesthetic of a present that coexists with the past and the future. We were thinking that it would be great to visualize Elli’s emotions through the mise–en–scene, like the film consisted of postcards from the past. Elli is coming to terms with the fact her best friends are leaving to study abroad but she is not ready to say goodbye to her lifestyle and start growing up.
You’re taking part in Future Frames: what are your hopes and expectations for EFP’s event?
It would be a blast to have the chance of being there in person, but we are delighted as well to bring Karlovy Vary into our homes via all the zoom meetings. Being a directing duo feels like it’s us against the world, it gets pretty rough at times since creating the same vision is a difficult process that needs a lot of talking and understanding, but we are excited to bring our Sad Girls to Karlovy Vary.
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