Scars, the fictionalized account of a soldier battling PTSD, is shaping up to be one of the most important and powerful pieces of film of the coming years. We spoke to filmmaker Shaun Kostas about the project.
Working on short films is apparently a great training field for filmmakers. Did you find that?
Absolutely. Commercials too.
How different was it, though, going into directing that first feature The Republic of Two?
It was the same for a longer period of time. You plan meticulously the same–eliminate any surprises. It’s all storytelling.
And is there anything you did on that, that you’ll do differently next time?
Yes, as any filmmaker will say. You always learn.
Like actors, do you believe filmmakers get better as they go along?
Yes, but forever maintaining a “beginners mind,” and keeping an open mind for more invention on the day—also keeping an eye out for those beautiful happy accidents.
In an ideal world, will you only direct the projects you write?
No, as long as I deeply connect to the material that doesn’t matter.
Speaking of, we’ve heard about the project you and Suzanne DeLaurentiis are collaborating on. First of all, how did that relationship begin?
Suzanne is incredible. A regarded producer and staunch advocate for American Veteran affairs. We first met at a pre-Oscars charity event she put on for Veterans.
And the project is a true story, I believe?
Richard F. Berg, CSC wrote the book, SCARS, after interviewing many Veterans and their families. The book is a mildly fictionalized account of one Veteran’s story of war and the PTSD he experiences at home after war, with his loved ones always bearing witness.
How hard is it to condense a book, or someone else’s story, into a two-hour movie?
Fr. Berg gave me licence to make it my own. I did as much, while respecting the book’s powerful foundation. Adapting the book was a joy.
Been through many drafts?
Have you reached out to any names yet, about playing roles?
Is this the project that you’ll be spending most of your time on over the next couple of years?
Couple of years? No. But in the very best way, a little bit of SCARS will always be with me.
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