«In The Shadows» press conference report
On October 4, 2020, the press conference dedicated to the film «In The Shadows» by Turkish director Erdem Tepegoz took place. The film is part of the Main Competition of the 42nd Moscow International Film Festival. Director Erdem Tepegoz and director of photography Hayk Kirakosyan participated in the press conference.
Set in the dystopian future, the film tells the story of Zayt, who works at a mine owned by anonymous people, to buy a grave for his mother. His social conduct is led by survival instinct, and he lives in constant fear of losing his job. Once, Zayt decides to rebel.
«I don't have a pessimistic world view, but think that there are issues everyone should be aware of. Millions of people across the globe are working in these conditions. I believe my primary task as a director is not to find answers or solutions, but rather to ask these questions and cover the current issues. I’m positive about the future, because I think that by highlighting the existing problems, we can make our future brighter,» Tepegoz said.
His previous, debut feature «The Particle» received the main prize of the 35th Moscow International Festival. The film focused on a jobless woman who is her family's only breadwinner and is trying to find work in Istanbul.
«I prefer concentrating on one character and his or her life story. We observe other characters in their communication with the main character. In «The Particle» we followed the life of the female protagonist, and in «In the Shadows» we follow Zayt. Other characters merely touch his fate,» director and screenwriter emphasized.
He added that it was non-fiction and sci-fi — including Russian sci-fi — that inspired him. The film was shot at a real factory.
«The place looks a bit abandoned, but the factory actually works 365 days a year, 24/7. When we came there first, I was amazed by the location, it looked like it was created especially for our film. It looked timeless. The visual style was based on authenticity, I tried to make it look like a documentary. As though it was happening in real life, but we don't know when exactly,» Hayk Kirakosyan said.
Director Erdem Tepegoz said that he was looking for a huge location for the shooting, it was supposed to look «like another planet».
«The enormous factory space, with parts of it connected by cable railways, looks very cinematographic. I met the factory workers, talked to them, found out that most of their ancestors also worked there, and they never left the town. And this reality chimed with the film, with the events happening in a closed space,» the director said.
Apart from the visual component, sound effects play a significant role in the film.
«We wanted the viewers to relate to the factory workers. And if you ever go there, you'll feel fear, jolts and shivers, because the entire factory constantly shakes and rumbles, while the space around it is very quiet, almost dead. We reflected this in the film, too. Inside, people are scared, feeling the necessity to work non-stop, and there is complete emptiness outside. That's why we filled the film with visual and sonic effects in such a way that leaves the viewers exhausted, as though they had spent time working at the factory,» Tepegoz said.
Numan Acar played the main character. The actor also starred in Hollywood films: «Spider Man: Far From Home», «The Great Wall», «Jack Ryan», and many others.
«I watched a lot of films starring Acar, and realized that he would be a perfect fit for a character who comes back of a primal state of sorts. Numan believed in the script and was able to relate to his character, enriched him with personal traits, his own energy, even aggression. And it's not the easiest role, he had to put a lot of effort, mental and physical, into it, there are a lot of difficult scenes in it,» the director concluded.