Encounters with filmmakers and festival’s news

Aleksandra (Sasha) Gavrilenko

Born in Yakutsk, republic of Sakha. The majority of my family tree were sent to Siberia during the beginning of the 20th century as political dissidents.
Being an artist for me means developing a humane approach. I believe that my audience won’t. As the art of cinema develops our moral qualities and empathy.
I love showing young and rebellious characters. They desperately want to love and live a “beautiful life”. They are ambitious although they are unlikely to survive. Some of them have not enough spirit, some of them just burden in the correctional colonies. They want to alter their destinies, as I dreamed, when I was growing up next to the Arctic Pole. I’ve chosen the pathway of art, so I feel obliged to share this feeling of hope with the audience.

Antoine Svolanek

Director of MODERN LIFE
I am a self-taught filmmaker born in the south of France, and living in Paris. Modern Life is my first film, fully autofinanced.

Stephen Gallacher

Director of HAROLD & MARY
Stephen has over a decade of experience in directing, both as a lead director, most recently on MCDONALD AND DODDS for Mammoth Screen/ITV as well as directing second unit on notable series’ including LONDON KILLS (BBC/Acorn TV) and FIFTEEN-LOVE (World Productions/Amazon UK).

Over the last few years, he has been mentored by Peter Hoar, originally as part of the Directors UK Inspire Mentor Scheme, and has worked with numerous household names such as Aidan Turner, Olivia Colman and Jason Watkins. He also directed the wonderful Dermot Crowley, in his most recent short HAROLD AND MARY, a moving and personal story of a man struggling with dementia, which had a very successful run at various BIFA and BAFTA qualifying festivals earlier this year.

Stephen’s focus in both his original ideas as well as his directing work is socio-political dramas and intriguing thrillers. With a deep-rooted commitment to honest and meaningful filmmaking, he is always striving to bring authentic visuals to the screen, serving the narrative and the characters at its core.
Instagram: Stephen Gallacher
X: @RealSGallacher

Gábor Holtai & Péter Fülöp

Director of SECOND ROUND
Gábor Holtai is a director from Budapest, Hungary. He divides his time between directing TV series with
the occasional commercial mixed in and developing his feature-length projects in Hungary and in the UK
as well. Based on the success of his latest, award-winning short film ‘Second Round’ he’s now convinced
that horror is the new drama and lighthearted is a medical condition. He also cares deeply about social
justice issues and surrounds himself with old rescue dogs.
IG @gaborholtai
Péter Fülöp has been working in film productions for eighteen years. He has got experience from no-
budget music videos and shorts, trough domestic commercials and feature films, to Hollywood
blockbusters. As part of a production, he prefers to be involved in the creative process of the film as
well. He worked in such movies like World War Z, and Die Hard 5. He funded his own production
company (FP Films) in 2011, where he produced internationally recognized, award winning shorts. His
first feature film ‘Deva’ premiered at the 75th Venice Film Festival 2018. He produced the highest
grossing Hungarian feature film in 2020 ‘Budapest heist’ and currently produces the biggest budget
Hungarian feature “Now or never!”

Haley Erickson and Taylor Washington

Directors of CALL ME MOMMY
Haley Alea Erickson is a queer award-winning writer, director, and comedy performer. She is
currently living in Melbourne, Australia where she is a filmmaker and screenwriting teacher at
the Victorian College of Arts. Haley was named a “rising star” in Voyage Magazine in 2023.
Haley was the co-host of the iconic, long-running comedy show “Good Fight” at Fallout
Theater in Austin, TX, performed at the “OOB 2019 Just For Laughs” showcase, and is a
current member of “The Remix” at the Improv Conspiracy in Melbourne. She acted in
MUSTANG ISLAND with Macon Blair, and received a Drive-In Academy Award from Joe Bob
Briggs for her performance in SCARE PACKAGE. Her film, “It’s Compligayted” won “best
comedy narrative” at the Moment Invite Film Festival in 2021. Haley was a writer for the beloved podcast, HUMANS GROWING STUFF, nominated for a Webby, a Shorty, and winner at iHeart Radio’s Podcast Awards.. She has been a finalist in the FinalDraft Big Break competition, the Creative Screenwriting Unique Voices competition, the ScreenCraft film fund, and the Sundance Development track. Her feature film “Call Me Mommy” was trending on the Black List last year.
Taylor Washington is an award-winning director and cinematographer based in Brooklyn, New
York. Hailing from Austin, TX, Taylor comes from a music video background where he has
directed 50+ videos across the United States for artists like Marian Hill, Cautious Clay and Of
Montreal. In the commercial world, he’s directed for clients ranging from Canon, Chase and
Southwest Airlines to Netflix, Amazon and Apple TV. His ‘Where is Jimmy’ spot for the
Irishman was selected for SHOOT’s New Director Showcase in 2020 and an Official Selection
for the Shiny Awards in 2023. Taylor’s appetite for travel has always directly influenced his work – currently he’s directing a feature documentary, Modern Tlingit Warriors, following Alaska Native Veterans and how they used their culture to heal through their shared trauma from war. Taylor is a co-founder of Pan
Up Productions, a full-service content production company based in New York. Most recently
they created campaigns for The Met Museum Canon and Broadway plays ‘A Doll’s House’ and
‘Tina Turner the Musical.’
The director duo met 7 years ago while filming interviews of drunk people at a SZA concert
for money. Since that fateful day, they have gone on to make 3 short films, commercials, and
a pilot. They specialize in genre-blending offbeat comedy with a heart. Their short film “Call
Me Mommy” premiered at SXSW 2023 where it was nominated for a grand jury award and went on to win “Best Comedy” at Academy Award Qualifying Hollyshorts, “Best Comedy Short” at Cannes Indie Shorts Awards and garner awards for “Best Screenplay” and “Best Production Design” at Mirada Corta Film Festival in Mexico City.