The very talented Delia Antal, makes her film debut as a director presenting D'ORA, the first feature from her film production company 28 Pictures Limited. Delia wrote the script, adapted from the book she published in 2010, and takes producer credit as well as the leading role… Delia tells an important heart wrenching, yet inspiring story, that needs to be told. For more on the movie please read the synopsis at the end of this interview.
The Global Townhall is honored to welcome Delia Antal.
Gabrielle Reilly: What inspired you to write D'ORA? Have you experienced such hardships yourself?
Delia Antal: The primary inspiration behind D’ORA was life. My life. In my early days in London I survived some tough times. I had an assortment of different jobs, and lived through countless unpleasant, and often, dangerous experiences. Those early experiences changed me, as everything was so dark and sad. Nevertheless the process of living in London fascinated me. This was perhaps because of my underlying grit and stubborn determination to find the positives in these experiences. When I finally got some savings together, I dedicated all my time to acting and filmmaking as I felt that a story inspired by my own life would make for an interesting film. I studied acting both in London and Los Angeles, and subsequently writing, directing and producing, in the pursuit of a successful career.
Gabrielle Reilly: How did you balance acting and directing in the movie?
Delia Antal: I actually found it very easy, as Dora was a part of me. I spent all my holidays in my grandmother’s village in Transylvania, Romania. Subsequently I knew how a villager thinks and feels towards the western world. Furthermore, the realism in the film was created by the fact that most of the actors in the film were non-professional actors, who were doing that which they normally do in real life. Very few of my actors were full time professionals. The story itself is so real that I just had to give the actors the idea of what the scene should be and they nailed it, really, it felt like we weren’t working, but having fun.
Gabrielle Reilly: How did you come to have your manuscript turned into a movie?
Delia Antal: “D'ORA” is a sequence of real experiences, spiced up and turned into narrative scenes that I made whilst I was studying acting. I was told that I had the ability to be a leading lady, but because of my background and accent I would have to create leading roles for myself. Once I had made the manuscript, obviously I had to play the lead girl. Sadly no producer was interested, as they all wanted a famous actress to play D’ORA. I did not blame them. I understand the business, but hey what about me? Then I had to produce it, so I asked family and friends for help and slowly it started coming together. When the time came to start shooting we had no director on board. I had several meetings with different directors of different nationalities, but no one seemed to quite get it. It felt like - I am married with a white man, we have a white baby, we go on holiday and we leave our baby with my mum. When we get back and she returns our baby, it is black. We say, “this is not our baby!” She is “yes it is!” That is what I felt with all of the directors I approached. Ultimately a friend asked me why I didn’t just direct it myself as I wrote it. As I lived those moments I would best know how to film it. My initial reaction was ‘seriously?’ I knew nothing about the camera, I didn’t know anything about the technical side of the movies, you must be kidding. However, I went home and thought about it all night and by the next day I had started to make the shooting schedule. Now I love directing, but only stories that talk to my heart. I love true stories, dramas that inspire and help towards a better world.
Gabrielle Reilly: How do our readers in America get to view your movie?
Delia Antal: Easily. The DVD and VOD of D'ORA (2014) will be on amazon’s UK website, eBay and on the production & distribution company web site: www.28films.co.uk
Gabrielle Reilly: Lord Taylor is a strong supporter of the movie. How did he become involved with it?
Delia Antal: Lord Taylor moderated the premiere of “D’ORA” at BAFTA, 195 Piccadilly this February. It was the most fantastic event in my life. I met him through ‘The Green Room.’ The founder introduced us, she thought I could help him to shoot a song he wrote for his book about diversity. We set up a meeting and we really got along, Lord Taylor thought my own story was suitable for his book too and interviewed me. Lord Taylor is a special person and he is an inspiration for me, he is the first ever-black Lord and I would love to make a movie about his life. I'm sure it'll win an Oscar. :)
Gabrielle Reilly: What advice can you offer people on emotionally handling the word “no” and the rejections that the entertainment industry (and life) throws at everyone sometimes?
Delia Antal: I am where I am today because of all the rejections I have had. For me rejection is a catalyst to success because without rejection I would not have ambition. Sometimes I have felt that I couldn’t take it anymore but then a little voice from deep within says ‘you are meant to win and you cannot stop what you started. Your dreams are real, and you have the right to dream like every other single human being.’ So I hope everyone can follow the voice of his or her ambition.
Gabrielle Reilly: What advice can you offer for building such a successful career?
Delia Antal: I am working really hard to build a successful career, having just released my debut film D'ORA (2014) I will release my second film “WE CANNES.” It is a documentary about a new filmmaker at the Cannes Film Festival. I hope one day for further recognition and more work in big movies. One day I would love to work with my idol Clint Eastwood, I actually follow his way of working having many roles in the same movie. My advice would be, never give up, work hard and open your heart to opportunities and people.
Gabrielle Reilly: What tips can you give for working in front of the camera?
Delia Antal: Just be yourself, consider the camera to be your best friend or an angel that watches you and wants the best for you.
Inspired by common truths that come with transcontinental migrations D'ORA is a haunting, bittersweet film chronicling a young woman's journey from oppression to democracy in England. It starkly shows the cut-throat reality and severe choices that individuals face at the crossroads of freedom and opportunity. Delia Antal (33) takes us deep into the heart of a naive young woman who abandons familiarity in search of a promised land. She paints a portrait of Romania, a new nation struggling to find its identity after the brutal collapse of a terrible communist dictatorship, and how it has shaped the lives of its citizens. The film opened on the 6th of February this year amid the immigration debate in the UK and across the EU focusing on legal, rather than illegal immigration from CEE, including Romania.
While Delia is a newcomer to the director’s chair, she is determined and hardworking, and no slouch when it comes to ambition and drive. On her own admission her first film ‘might not be technically perfect’ but she hopes it will open people’s eyes. As a creator, she is keen to break boundaries, encouraging groundbreaking writing on current, yet 'silent' issues.
Delia was born in the stunning Transylvania region of Romania to her parents Dorel and Ileana. They were factory workers during the Communist regime and later became small traders in her hometown of Zalau. She always had a keen interest in acting but due to peer pressure and limited opportunities, she sidelined these ambitions. Instead, she pursued and won a degree in economics. Once she gained her degree Delia moved to London, where she has lived for nine years and a half.
Now, Delia wishes to create inspiring, enlightening and thought-provoking films, which reflect contemporary culture and the hard economic landscape facing many today. She is striving to attract new audiences by creating uncompromising issue-led films, which are relevant to modern day life and accessible to large audiences.