Interview with vigorous director Dora Endre
I have recently had the chance to talk with Dora Endre. The twenty-six-year-old director loves being active, staying creative, watching plants grow, getting lost in foreign places and facing challenges. We discussed her career choices, current projects, and many more. Enjoy!
How come you studied film and theatre in Italy and in the USA? Why those countries?
I studied Italian at high school and I fell in love with the country’s culture and art life somewhere along the way. So there was no question when it came to applying for a scholarship to go and study in Florence.
What is your favorite word in Italian?
I’m not sure I have one…maybe “precipitevolissimevolmente”. It means hastily.
And what led you to the U.S.?
The reason behind moving to New York was similar in a way. I took courses such as Anglo-Saxon History, American Politics, and American Culture at college. Moreover, I had an excellent American teacher, Andrea Mitnick who taught us leadership skills. All those had a great influence on me. I ended up writing my thesis about the visual representation of the American Civil War in different types of media from the 1860s to the 2010s. I have probably seen all movies concerning the Civil War (she laughs).
What do you like the most about New York?
The pizza (she laughs). I love that you get inspired on every corner, the city is filled with fascinating people who happen to be open-minded and curious. It is a fiery place with a complex, blooming artistic life and community.
What were the gravest difficulties you had to face so far?
I had to face hardships due to prejudices for sure. Initially, people in this industry tend to take me less seriously because of my age or because I am a woman. That normally changes after a meeting or two because they realize I am tougher than most guys and do not shy away from voicing my opinion. Hard work always shows. And if their prejudices seems to stay in place or they have hidden intentions, which is quite common, then I cut the meeting short and leave. Unfortunately, I have been in a number of uncomfortable situations before so I had to learn how to read the signs and stand up for myself. It is not easy.
Any advice for young women who might come across people with those intentions?
Be aware of signs, the language they use, ask specifics about the project, and always have the first meetings in a public place. It is also good to let a friend know that you are having a meeting at that particular coffee shop. Be cautious and alert.
It is. But hopefully by talking about these matters change will really happen.
What projects are you currently working on?
I am currently working on a play called Lemons, Lemons, Lemons, Lemons, Lemons by Sam Steiner, which the producers are looking forward to stage as soon as possible. The play consists of brief scenes and constant time jumps. It is about the beginnings of a new relationship with the backdrop of a new tyrannical law implemented by the government. This new law limits the number of words, which people can use on a daily basis. They set the limit to 140. Therefore every citizen, including our main characters, must think carefully before saying anything. Furthermore, they must come up with innovative ways of communicating with each other such as through Morse Code, humming, music, etc. It is a beautiful play about the importance of silence, actions, emotions as well as basic human rights and the power our politicians hold onto.
When it comes to film, I have recently worked on a Nivea campaign, which was a wonderful experience. I had a chance to learn from terribly seasoned creatives. We stayed in touch and they are awfully encouraging, always ready to answer my dumb questions (she laughs). Recently I have been writing much more than the usual. One of my short stories is going to be published in Hungary soon. Exciting.
What is your biggest career goal?
It is simple, working on materials I am intrigued by with highly professional people and having a wide audience that can join us in our “conversation”. The rest is very secondary.
Are you not motivated by acclaim or success?
Frankly? Not at all. How does one define success anyways? I am not in this for glamourous events and superficialities, I am in this for the sake of stories and giving something to people through those stories and through shared experiences.
What do you do to unwind?
I regularly meditate and do yoga. We make sure we clean our bodies everyday but I think we tend to forget about cleaning our minds, turning down the noise on the inside. Daily practice makes wonders. It boosts your creativity, immune system, lowers blood pressure and energizes you. It only takes fifteen minutes in the morning. I think we waste much more scrolling on social media, for example.
I also enjoy spending time with loved ones, cooking dinner, sipping a glass of wine, chatting. I like low-key things. I love walking in the woods, watching things grow, and travelling if possible. My favorite thing is to get lost in foreign places, ignore instructions, road signs and follow impulses, just be present. I am a huge fan of bungee jumping and rafting too.
If you could invite five artists for dinner who would they be?
Dead or alive?
Dead or alive.
Only five?! Alright. Bill Nighy, Susan Sontag, Franz Kafka, Rainer Werner Fassbinder and Winston Churchill. What a weird dinner that would be!
He enjoyed painting landscapes if I am not mistaken. What a great character he was.
One movie you think more people should see?
So many! Alan Parker’s Mississippi Burning, Fassbinder’s Ali: Fear Eats the Soul, Angela Schanelec’s I Was at Home, But…or Captain Fantastic by Matt Fox.