Review Fix Exclusive: Inside ‘Two Strangers’
By Patrick Hickey Jr.
Review Fix chats with “Two Strangers” writer and director Marcus Markou, who discuss his creative process behind the film and more.
About Marcus Mark:
Writer and Director Marcus Markou made his first short film The Last Temptation of Chris starring Ed Stoppard in 2010 and quickly created his first feature Papadopoulos & Sons, starring Stephen Dillane. In 2014, Markou was nominated by the London Critics Circle Awards in the Breakthrough British Filmmaker category and founded the production company Double M Films. The talented director is currently working on a number of original feature film and TV projects with Movie Collective; a new crowd funded production company he co-founded with Hollywood producer Cassian Elwes.
Review Fix: How did you get involved with this project?
Marcus Mark: I was working hard on getting a new feature film project off the ground but I was struggling. Struggling with the story, getting a cast and struggling to gain momentum. Sometimes to gain back that momentum and energy on a project, you have to turn to something else. So I decided to make a short film. And then that energy from the new project refuels the other project. This is why it’s good to always have two or three creative projects on the go. And short films can happen quicker, because you need less money and less time but you are still engaging the same process as you would when shooting a feature. So this is what I did.
Review Fix: What attracted you to it the most?
Mark: Most short films are seen as a stepping stone or a calling card to a bigger project but the short film format has it’s own rules. It’s a very difficult art from to try and get right. You are effectively trying to take an audience on the same emotional journey as you would with a feature film but in a matter of minutes. So it’s a very attractive challenge for a film maker.
Review Fix: What have you learned from it?
Mark: I think it established again what I love most about filmmaking – which is the ability as a director to empower other people.
Review Fix: What was the feeling like on set?
Mark: I love it. I’m energised. It’s where I need to be.
Review Fix: How did this film affect you?
Mark: I have loved the responses from audiences. It’s now approaching 60 film festivals and it has won many as either best short voted for by the audience or a jury.
Review Fix: How do you want people to be affected by this film?
Mark: I want to make films that touch the human heart. And I hope I have done that.
Review Fix: Who will appreciate this film the most?
Mark: Judging by the audience responses, I think older people – middle aged people – and women – have responded very well to it. Perhaps it’s because older people have a greater sense of their own mortality.
Review Fix: Why should people see Two Strangers Who Meet 5 Times?
Mark: It’s only 12 minutes and 12 seconds long and you won’t regret it. That’s a personal guarantee (I wanted to add “or your money back” but I suspect this could get me into all sorts of issues).
Review Fix: How would you like it to be remembered?
Mark: A film about the power of kindness.
Review Fix: What inspired this film?
Mark: It was inspired by this wave of intolerance to foreigners and immigrants after Brexit and Trump. All the differences we ascribe to each other – skin tone, religion, culture, nationality, accent – are invented stories. There really is no difference. There is only one human race.
Review Fix: What’s next?
Mark: We are currently in the process of casting my next feature film – Crazy Blue.