Maja Borg has made her feature length directorial debut with her new documentary movie Future My Love, which looks at the economy.
I caught up with the filmmaker to talk about the new movie, where her interest in this subject came from and what lies ahead.
- Future My Love is your new documentary so can you tell me a little bit about the movie?
It's a movie that has from the beginning been hard to explain (laughs). It's a movie that looks at the economy like human relationships in order to investigate our possibilities to change it.
It basically explores economy in two strands; one looking at the philosopher, social designer and architect Jacque Fresco and his ideas of a moneyless society.
Then there is a more poetic strand to it that looks at relationships and love in order to contrast economy as the larger relationship to understand why it is so difficult to change and to understand the psychological aspects of economy.
- The movie looks at the global economic crisis, which is obviously very relevant, so where did your interest in this come from and what made you want explore some of these ideas on film?
It started a long time ago as I was politically active when I was a teenager - I felt a little bit frustrated at how many movements you could involve yourself in that were against one thing or another.
There were so many things that you could be against that it started to become quite heavy and I started to really think 'what are these movements that people are for?' and 'Are there alternative things?'
Particularly when it came to economy as I felt very much that both the left and the right of party politics they were speaking about the same things - they were debating who was going to have ownership of the system or the money if you like and if it should be public ownership or private ownership.
However what they were going to own they had never really questioned and I really started to think about that.
Then I came across Jacque Fresco and that give me a completely different perspective to look at and assess the situation from and that is the perspective that I am very much trying to share with this film.
- While the film is a documentary it does blur the lines between documentary and fiction so what did you decide to shoot in that way?
I very much believe that the genre is very much secondary to the subject and I think what is really important is to find ways to honestly portray your subject; sometimes that is documentary and sometimes that is fiction.
In this case it uses both genres at the same time to get different aspects of it. So it is not a stylistic choice if you like it is coming from trying to portray something on more than one level.
- The movie brings together people who have a whole host of ideas on how things could be improved and what needs to be done so how easily was it to get them on board?
These are people who have been working their whole lives for change in one way or another. They are also people that we listen to when things go bad.
By the time that I started to make this film people in general did not really talk about the economy, this was before the crash of 2008, so the general public were just not that interested or it wasn't relevant to their lives.
So I think that every character that I met was very happy to share their research and their experiences because they hadn't had many people who were interested and their whole aim was to share these findings that they had.
- You have mentioned Jacque Fresco already and he is perhaps the most notable voices so how did you meeting him and how much did you agree with what he had to say?
He is an amazing character to spent time with and I spent a few months in total with him. Jacque is not a diplomat and he has managed to piss everyone off; whatever it is that you hold precious he will make you really have to defend it or re-think it.
The first couple of times that I met him there really wasn't much room for discussion because what he was talking about were things that I hadn’t really heard too many people talk about.
So he would just speak to me for hours and hours every day, I would be there for two or three weeks. I would just have all this information and then I would go home and very much have to do my research to be able to have opinion, I reacted to a lot of things but it wasn't things where I could say 'this is logically wrong because this and this and that.
But he very much listened to me and was saying 'that feels really cold' or 'where do I have a place in this?’ Because Jacque's philosophy is very much based on enquiry and he uses terminology that maybe is terminology that I wouldn't use to talk about the same thing.
But things that I think are important as an artist he would say are important from a scientific approach; things like just admitting that you don't know, finding things out or not taking things for granted, all the time pushing boundaries but all the time being aware of the fact that you don't really know.
On that level we very much connected and as we got to know each other we had very very interesting discussions, he is ninety seven now and so the way that he was taught to present his ideas are also quite different in terms of rhetoric compared to how we talk today.
And that was sometimes difficult when I was making the film because as soon as I switched the camera on he would naturally stop being the loving and very open man that I spent the time with; as soon as the camera was on he felt like he had to deliver.
So we had to break through that barrier and find different ways of interviewing him and making him use to the camera.
- You have been working on this movie for a few years now and in that time the global crisis has changed so how did the movie have to change to keep up with what was happening?
It has had to change a lot, when we started back in 2007 there wasn't so much of a collective debate about economy so when we started the film it needed to contain a lot more information than what is in the movie today.
As the economy became turbulent in 2008 people know so much more about economy and it is more talked about that five years ago so for us that meant we could strip away information from the film and start to tackle deeper questions and more psychological or emotional questions that comes with an economic crisis.
So it has changed in that way and it has meant that we had to find a different layer to the film to bring it to that level and be less information heavy and also to go into something where we as a collection possibly don't have all the answers.
- Given the climate we are in how difficult was it to get this film financed and ultimately made?
Of course it is an irony trying to make a film about a world without money and obviously we needed money to make the film - I suppose luckily we didn't need that much money to make the film.
It wasn't easy to get it financed and even before the economy was a hot topic there were a few people who did see the importance of this subject and supported us.
- Future My Love is receiving its world premiere at the Edinburgh Film Festival where it is nominated for the Michael Powell Award so you must be excited that the movie is getting all this attention?
It is brilliant because we had absolutely no idea how this was going to be received.
Also it is not a strict documentary but it is not a fiction film and so it is very encouraging to hear that other people are trying to diffuse this limit between the genres of documentary and fiction. So it is great on man levels.
- What do you hope people will take away from this movie when they watch it?
The most important thing is that you go away and you feel that you have got food for thought and that it has provoked thought and questions - these questions have to be asked by very different people and they have to be answered in many many different ways.
I felt that those questions were very much lacking and so I wanted to raise more questions that delivering answers or any packaged solutions.
But the other thing that has been really encouraging for me to make this film is because I have very much gone from a place of feeling that there are so many things wrong in the world and so how can we possible change it?
But by looking at these mechanisms it is very clear that it has a flip side to it and that all these problems that we are facing have to do with the power that we have given ourselves through the modern world and through technology and also we can use that power in a different way.
The problem is that we are not adapting to a change that has already occurred, so it's not an enormous project of re-creating the world the world has changed and we are struggling adapting to change.
That is a very empowering place to have moved to and I hope that I will be able to inspire some people in that direction as well.
- This is your first feature length documentary so what is it about this genre of film that interests you so much?
I find the genre of the film very secondary to the subject - of course when you are making a film that is engaging you are looking for metaphors and images to portray what you are saying and you are looking for stories.
However some things are not necessarily going to be possible to talk in a conventional story because you want to challenge that story and you want to challenge that narrative.
So for this subject it was quite clear that I wanted to make a documentary but it was also quite clear, especially as it progressed, that just a journalistic piece would not be enough to convey what I think is the soul of the film or the important questions that are raised by the film.
So I suppose that is why it isn’t a straight documentary but it is all very much coming from the material and what I am trying to convey - it’s not a stylistic choice.
- Finally what's next for you?
Well for the first time in a very long time I am going to have a bit of a holiday, which is brilliant. Then I am going to do a short piece, short pieces have a whole level of freedom that feature films don't, so it is a contained project that isn't going to take me five years.
FemaleFirst Helen Earnshaw