Review Fix chats with A Favor director Tannia Kustka, who lets us know all about the creative process behind the film and what to expect from it at this year’s Queens World Film Festival.
Review Fix: What was the inspiration for your film?
Tannia Kustka: Me. I was my own inspiration. I wanted to tell a story that made people feel, see a different side of people they don’t see…show that we are all human and we all struggle in our journeys in life. Where better to pull from in writing this story than from my own life experiences. I think as people we have become accustomed to using words as labels for people. We like to put them into categories based on what we briefly see on the surface. But human beings are complex. There is always so much more underneath than just a military woman. She is a woman who is a mother who is in the military who has viewpoints and makes decisions. Whether good or bad, it’s all in who is looking. All these are layers, or colors if you will that make up this very unique human being.
Review Fix: What did you learn about yourself while making?
Kustka: I learned that I kept the faith I have in me in my project as well. Even though filmmaking is an arduous process, and when I had the idea and passed it around for feedback I could see the doubt in people’s faces, I didn’t steer from making it. Their opinions were only important in that it brought me back to the drawing board. I made changes and flushed out parts to make the story stronger but I didn’t think of dropping it. I didn’t give up on it. If a door closed, I looked for another one. Sometimes I just crawled through a window. Slowly but surely I put one step in front of the other and it got done.
Review Fix: What was the most challenging part of making it?
Kustka: Finding the cast and crew that I wanted! Schedules and budgets were factors in having to go back to the drawing board sometimes and find alternate solutions. I learned how to balance finding alternative solutions and still maintaining my level of expectation for excellence. The bar must always be met or superseded.
Review Fix: How do you want it to be remembered?
Kustka: I want people to be curious of what makes others tick, be more compassionate because you do not really know people until you walk in their shoes. If someone who sees my film remembers it and approaches someone in their life with more understanding, more patience, more compassion, then I have succeeded in what I set out to do.
Review Fix: How does it feel to be a part of the festival?
Kustka: It’s exhilarating and surreal! I had an idea of what I thought it was supposed to be like but actually experiencing it has gone beyond what I imagined.
Review Fix: What’s next?
Kustka: Shoot! I have a couple more stories I want to shoot and get out there for people to see.
Review Fix: Anything else you’d like to add?
Kustka: I am grateful to my grandfather for giving me a strong foundation in staying curious, storytelling and the belief in myself to accomplish anything.