London-based filmmaker Rafael was born in Poland and left a job in banking to work for the Camerimage Film Festival. He subsequently attended the Andrzej Wajda Master School of Film Directing in Warsaw and the National Film and Television School in the UK. His three short films have won more than 25 awards at international film festivals. He started developing his first feature Butterfly Kisses at Cannes Cinefondation Residency.
What’s your connection to the British Council?
British Council has helped screen my feature Butterfly Kisses to festivals as part of their festival selector screenings. Butterfly Kisses will have its world premiere at the Berlinale on 11 Feb. Also, I used to borrow loads of books from the British Council library in Warsaw in my teenage years shortly before I decided to leave the green pastures of Poland for good. I still have one of them...
What are you working on right now?
My backhand.... And two feature projects titled Cranley Gardens and Budapest Diaries. Love them both. The former is set in London, the latter in...take a guess...yes, in Budapest.
Who originally turned you onto film?
Charlie Chaplin - he always made me cry.And Cul-de-sac by Roman Polanski; The final scene really intrigued me when I saw the film for the first time at the age of six I think. I had no idea what was going on in it...Still don't. I also had a film teacher in my teenage years who was an alcoholic, he always told me that filmmaking was not conducive to cultivating relationships. He was right.
What has been your career high so far?
The world premiere of my new feature Butterfly Kisses at the Berlinale on 11 Feb. Apart from almost drowning on the set of one of my shorts.
What was your first job in the film industry?
I was in charge of the festival office of the Camerimage Film Festival, when it was still a kitchen-sink affair. It is a mammoth today.
What's a key piece of advice you’d give to someone starting off in film making?
Have faith in yourself and your ideas. Respect them. Confidence is key.
What is your favourite British film?
Loads of them... But it was The Reflecting Skin by Philip Ridley that has given me one of the most intense cinematic orgasms during my rather short filmmaking life. Something in it took me back to my childhood in the most intense way.
If you could have directed/been involved with any film ever made, which one would it be?
Chinatown by Roman Polanski. It is perfect in many ways...I am the opposite.
What’s your favourite line or scene from a film?
I love the line from Terrence Malick's Tree of Life: "Mother, Father, you wrestle inside of me... You always will." It always gets me... I guess it resonates with me in a special way. There is a good line in each of his films.
Who’s your favourite screen hero or villain?
I love Marlon Brando in On the Waterfront. I dislike villains in general.
Who would play you in the film about your life?
Philip Seymour Hoffman. I guess that film, sadly, will never be made, though.