HN: Were there any breakthroughs in the journey that made you think: “Yes! We can now make a film that we can be satisfied with”? If so, could you please let us know?
Michaela Mihályi and David Štumpf: Well, most of the time during the development, we kind of felt that we didn’t know where we were going with the project or how it would turn out in the end. We did most of the learning by trying stuff, and it took so long because we were not sure how to write something that we can be satisfied with. When we moved to the animatic stage, we could see what is working and what we need to change or tweak. But we were pretty uncertain until we saw it with the audience, so maybe that was when we had the breakthrough.
HN: What were each of your roles in the development of the film, and how did you two use your talents together?
Michaela Mihályi and David Štumpf: In the development, we were both equally involved. We have decided to discuss everything and that everyone has equal say in every stage. It was more divided in the production.
Michaela Mihályi: I was responsible for the design part as well as finishing the colouring of the animation. I have had the help of our great colourists that worked with us.
David Štumpf: And I was in charge of animation and post-production. So, our production pipeline was mostly a ping-pong of responsibilities between the two of us.
HN: We would like to ask you a few things about your journey on developing the story. The story elements seem to be independent of each other at first glance, then through the film it all comes together into a linear story of the human male character in the end. We are interested in the process of developing this well-structured story of the film. What was the initial idea of the story?
Michaela Mihályi: Well, the first idea was to make a story about the difficulties of cohabitation in apartment buildings. Here in Slovakia it is pretty common to live in those places and sometimes I feel like it can provoke some bizarre interactions. I have had a storyline with a main character living in an apartment building with some motifs of sea and water included.
HN: How did you develop the whole story from the initial idea, and when did you decide to adapt Noah’s Ark?
Michaela Mihályi: It was at our previous school in Bratislava, when the story as I mentioned earlier, was supposed to be a treatment for my bachelor movie. Patrik Pašš Jr., our dramaturgy teacher at the school, had a suggestion to maybe use all the themes and put it into Noah’s Ark storyline. I thought that it would work perfectly and that it had potential to be something to play with. I have never finished my bachelor’s there, but we have decided to develop the idea further together with David.
HN: What did you take care in and what difficulties did you face through the development?
David Štumpf: Well, looking back at it now, I feel that everything was pretty difficult. It was very exciting, but it also had some pretty complicated parts. It was our first big project together and we were not very experienced in directing or scriptwriting. We also didn’t know how to divide our responsibilities, so we wouldn’t go completely crazy. We have learned all of that in the process. I think because of that, we became much more confident in decision making and knowing what we want to say and how to do it.
Michaela Mihályi: Yes, I totally agree. Also besides just developing the story, we have been learning about funding the project and all the stuff that comes with it. It was our first experience with a professional producer and it gave us so much more knowledge about it. We also pitched the film a few times at different pitching events, so it was another thing that we found pretty difficult. So, I see the development stage as a package of many, many difficulties.
HN: What kind of message or experience do you most want to deliver to the audience through this film?
David Štumpf: We would like to leave it up to every individual viewer, what kind of message they will take from the film. We were hoping to deliver some kind of mixture of cheerfulness as well as sadness. Like smiling but with a tear in your eye, that kind of thing.
Michaela Mihályi: Also, we were trying to find a narrative structure that can lure you in, that is why we have chosen non-linear storytelling. We love those kinds of films ourselves, so we hoped that we would be able to create a story that is somehow unpredictable until the very end.
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