Meet the Filmmakers: SHIPS OUTSIDE MY WINDOW
Interview with director Rebana Liz John
Director Rebana Liz John
What would be the teaser text for your film SHIPS OUTSIDE MY WINDOW?
An exploration of the filmmaker's father's life as a seafarer in increasingly tough global conditions. Set in Mumbai, the view outside the window is a voyage into the liminal spaces created by mental illness. It explores the affective struggle of a family in its crosshairs. The history mined from her parents, serves to reflect on the nature of memories itself. It is a determined coming-to-terms with those memories that have shaped her present day preoccupations and positions — a contemplation of the mind, especially the mind out of control. The sea, she roars.
Where does the inspiration for your film come from?
My inspiration comes from trying to understand what mental illness is. It is often a taboo subject, but traumatic for the people experiencing it and their families or friends. A personal documentary was a way to tell an honest story about what it looks like in reality, through the people who are very real to me, while attempting to make it something universal.
Which three people from film and television would you like to spend an evening with? Why? And what are you doing?
Ruth Beckermann - I cook a meal for her that we eat on a sunny balcony while we talk about how she works with her camerawoman and what she does in her downtime. Because her films are a breathe of fresh air.
Alan Berliner - We go to a play that he recommends and speak at length about personal documentaries after. Because I like his filmmaking style and the source of his content. He comes across as a gentle, familiar person.
David MacDougall - We meet at a public place like a fountain or a river promenade and discuss observational and slow cinema. I think he is a genuine man cognisant of the colonial dynamics of his work and I take to his films and books like fish to water.
What's your favorite film quote?
I am paraphrasing here, but its when Eisenstein talks about Dziga Vertov's work in THE MAN WITH A MOVIE CAMERA being unmotivated camera mischief!
What is your favourite film - officially and secretly?
How can anyone have one favorite film?!
What was your favorite film festival experience so far?
DOK Leipzig, Seoul International Women's Film Festival in Korea, International Documentary and short film festival Kerala, Sarajevo Film Festival.
Keyword "Munich". What comes to your mind first?
Expensive city but beautiful. I have been told I should visit the Englischer Garten.