Insights from talented Filmmakers

Alecs Nastoiu

“If we have changed even one single person out of one thousand people who have watched our film, then we have changed the world.”

 

Photo-alecs-train_colors

Alecs Nastoiu working on the set of his film

 

ALECS Nastoiu (33) is a Romanian Director who’s is on tour around Europe and the US with his feature “Billion Star Hotel”, winning Indie Festivals and collecting Film Awards. We met him at the Miami Independent Film Festival, June 25th-26th 2016, during the Mindie first annual event, after the screening of his feature film. Alecs’ work was celebrated by the audience with a honest, long applause and a deep Q&A session. The film is a comedy about a trio of “crazy” people helping to make the world a better place, for example, by offering shelter to homeless kids.

 

INTERVIEWER

Hi Alecs. Congratulation for your movie: very sensitive and entertaining at the same time. And this is your first feature: a brilliant achievement! How did you start your career in Cinema?

 

ALECS

Thank you. I graduated at the Bucarest Film Academy in 2007. I made a Short film that was selected by several Film Festivals. Then I launched my own Independent Film Festival, “Spune pe scurt” (lit. “Short to the point”, Ed.), in 2008. It was a great experience: anyway, I had to find me a job to get the money to live. So I worked in TV as an editor in News. I did a lot of editing, like, a lot. Now I have no TV at home.

(laughs ironically.)

With my Festival, in 3-4 years I have seen thousands of Shorts, realized projections all around Romania and promoted many Indie Films. So I thought: It’s time to make a movie and promote myself.

 

INTERVIEWER

(laughing.)

Starting from the bottom. The hard way. What did you do then?

 

ALECS

I moved to another city, where I met some actors. There I also met Ovidiu Radian Vasu, who has produced my feature film. It was 2012 when he started to collect the budget for Billion Star Hotel: given the socially involved subject of the movie, there was a huge amount of small donors. The budget was hard to manage.

 

INTERVIEWER

(nodding.)

A strong commitment. Well done, guys. Was the fragmented nature of the budget a constraint to your development process?

 

ALECS

Yes. It was very hard to write the scenes without knowing how many of them we would be able to shoot. Actually, I found myself changing the whole story structure because of this reason.

 

INTERVIEWER

The story structure: the film is presented as a sequence of scenes, end to beginning. It’s strange to see this approach in a comedy, it normally belongs to other genres.

 

ALECS

I needed to present the story that way. We didn’t have the time and resources to shoot everything I wanted. Now, should you see all the scenes in chronological order, you wouldn’t have the crescendo. Then I thought about the timelines of a movie I liked, Memento by Christopher Nolan. And I saw a Youtube video in which the Director himself explains the structure.

 

INTERVIEWER

(surprised.)

Sure, Memento is a pillar of Indie Cinema. Do you mean the video of Nolan drawing the parabolic structure on the blackboard? (Youtube link)

 

ALECS

Yes, that one!

(laughing.)

I said: “Let’s try”, and I did the math. It worked.

 

INTERVIEWER

Actually, if I think about the main plot in chronologic order, the audience could sometimes think: “where is the story going?”. But, by changing the order of the scenes, the audience is no longer wondering where the story goes. Their mind is busy in reconnecting the plot, while what they really enjoy is the depth of the characters, that is the real great value of the film. A great idea, Alecs!

 

ALECS

Nolan inspired me very much about the structure, and so it did Tarantino, for his narrative style.

 

INTERVIEWER

Which other artists inspired you for the realization of this movie?

 

ALECS

Well, there are many. Jean Pierre Jeunet’s “Amelie” for its atmosphere, a bit like a fairy tale. Wes Anderson’s “Moonrise Kingdom” for the same reason. Also the Coen Brothers for their ironic view of life. And the great Charlie Chaplin, of course. Tim Burton’s dreamlike “Big Fish”.

 

 

INTERVIEWER

All these works are identifiable in your film: still, your movie is very original and there’s no doubt that you didn’t make a collage of somebody else’s scenes. This story is yours, the audience can feel it. You are honestly doing an homage to important works that inspired you.

(smiling.)

When you cited “Amelie”, my mind went to the use of colors and to the scene of the French lesson.

 

ALECS

Yes! Oh, thank you, I’m so happy when people recognize another film in my movie, I’m not afraid to admit it at all. I even put a printed picture of Amelie in one scene, but unfortunately I had to cut it.

 

INTERVIEWER

Now, a last very important question: what is this film about? What does it mean to you?

 

ALECS

It’s a story of other stories. The film is a message itself. It’s about being a better person. If we walk on the street, you, I, and we see a poor guy asking for a coin, we don’t even look in his eyes and turn around. Now, this film is for those people, the homeless. The title says so. The Billion Star Hotel is the sky under which they sleep. Why staying in a hotel that only has 4 or 5 stars?

(beat. Serious.)

It’s about being a good person. If you want to change the world, you don’t have to change any single person. Just change one person. And that one person will change others. It’s a chain. So, if one person out of a thousand people who have seen my movie talks to a guy in the street, asking for help, then we will have changed the world.

 

Poster BSH_ok

Billion Star Hotel (link to Youtube trailer)

 

INTERVIEWER

Amazing truth, Alecs. We are sure you’ll change more than just one person. Keep rocking like you do, Alecs, this is real Indie Cinema!!

Link to Billion Star Hotel’s website
Link to Alecs Nastoiu’s IMDB page

Love this article?

Give us a like on our Facebook page 🙂

Main partners

Next Film Festivals

FestivalLocationEvent datesDeadline
Miami Independent Film FestivalUSA - Miami, FLJuneEach month
Brooklyn Film FestivalUSA - NYCJune 3-12March 7th
Fantasia International Film FestivalCANADA - MontrealJuly 14 - August 02May 1st
Venice Film Festival - La BiennaleITALY - VeniceAugust 31 - September 10Line-up announced at the end of July
Camden International Film FestivalUSA - Camden, MESeptember 15-18May 27th (Late). July 1st (Extended)
Santa Fe Independent Film FestivalUSA - Santa Fe, NMOctober 19-23July 1st (Late). August 1st (Final)
United Nations Association Film FestivalUSA - San Francisco, CAOctober 20-30May 26th
American Film FestivalPOLAND - WroklawOctober 25-30July 15th
Show me ShortsNEW ZELANDNovemberApril 15th
Black Nights Film FestivalESTONIA - TallinNovember 11-27September 15th
Sundance Film Festival 2017USA - UtahJanuary 19-29 2017Submissions open in June 2016. Deadlines by September 23rd or 26th
VIEW FULL TABLE