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Nicolas Swings Back and Forth between Comedy and Drama

Nicolas Kolovos on location at the shooting of the short film Index in Greece.
Nicolas Kolovos, one of the Manusfabriken residents, has just completed the post-editing of his short film 'Index' which was shot in Greece this past autumn. The film is a miniature refugee drama and consists of a single take.

The short film 'Index' is a miniature refugee drama. The film is about Othman, who is on the run with his family. We follow the family when the rubber boat that will smuggle them to Europe is ready to disembark, but Othman's son, Alan, refuses to leave the lorry. The film is shot in a single take without any cutting. Nicolas Kolovos is behind the script and direction.

Why did you want to tell this story, in particular?
'With this film, I want to come close to a refugee family and show that it is children and parents of flesh and blood who board flimsy boats and risk their lives. I portray a regular family just like all other families, whether on the run or not, who shares similar fears and feels the exact same worry at difficult times as the rest of us. It is not actually a refugee drama in the sense that the actual escape is the focus. It is more of a story about a family that finds itself in a difficult dilemma when they face a horrible decision.

What made you choose to do a film in a single take?
'Every story requires unique imagery. With continuous shooting, I want to create presence and nerve in the storytelling. By following the events without interruption, the audience presence is complete throughout the events progress. The camera is not stationary and moves discretely, recording the tense situation in progress. Some of the people for whom I have shown the film have not reacted to the fact that the film is uninterrupted. It is first when I ask them what they thought about the film being shot in a single take that they admit that they did not realise it was a one-take film. This makes me happy, because it was my intention to make the viewer forget the camera and be drawn into the story. At the same time, the short film is a platform for finding your voice and narrative style. This is where all risky experiments and tests can take place without a producer suffering a stroke. This is how it has been for me and now I feel mature and ready to take on longer stories. 

Where will the film be shown?
'Right now, we are in the studio and working on the sound production, which is exhaustive. But, as soon as the film is finished it will hopefully première at a large film festival and later appear on SVT.

Your writing swings back and forth between rather dark stories and hilarious comedy; are they two different paths or two sides of the same coin?
'For me, comedy is important and is always near the surface in practically everything I do. It doesn't matter if it is a film, a play or a novel. To me, humour is a relief valve for the audience that must be present in order to be able to assimilate stories based on serious circumstances. And my stories usually do this. I usually say comedy is the door to tragedy. With humour, you can draw the audience closer to you and when you have them in your grasp, they are receptive to assimilate the most serious topics.

You have also developed a comedy series during your time as a residence writer at Manusfabriken? Can you tell a little about it? 
'It is going to be a hilarious comedy series about a completely insane Greek family full of secrets and lies, much like my own [laughs]! It's about Christos, who has run a Greek tavern in Sweden for over 30 years, but business has suffered in recent years. The customers become fewer and fewer and begin to favour other food cultures over the Greek kitchen. At a meeting with his accountant, Christos is informed that his finances have bottomed out. Christos sees that the end is approaching for his life's work. Liv, who is Christos' illegitimate daughter and of whom his wife and three children are unaware, decides to help her father. She also sees it as an opportunity to get to know her Greek family, all of whom work at the tavern. But some things are easier said than done. I believe in the idea. I laugh a lot when I am writing it. That's a good sign!'

img_0810.pngIndex is about Othman, who is on the run with his family; it is a short film shot in a single take.