Thursday, September 13, 2012

Magda M. Olchawska: Filmmaker, Author, Consultant

I am:

1.    An award winning filmmaker.

2.    An author of children books.

3.    Entrepreneur.

4.    An activist.

5.    Dyslexic.

Few facts from my life:

1.    I was born in Wroclaw, Poland.

2.    When I was 7 years old two things happened in my life that shaped my dreams & future.

a.  I watched Citizen Kane.

b.  I read a film magazine & came to the conclusion that being a movie star is awesome.

3.    When I was 19, after graduating from high school I decided to follow my childhood dreams of becoming a filmmaker and, knowing only little bit of English I moved to London.

4.    I make films & write children books.

5.    I help creative entrepreneurs: filmmakers, actors, writers, photographers, artists to:

- promote their work

- find the right audience for their artistic outlet

- find money for their projects.

6.    I blog a lot about indie filmmaking & indie marketing & promotion for creative people.


Writer, Director, Producer

2012 - "Two People"- feature film in pre-production

2012 - "Anna and  Modern Day Slavery" - feature film in post- production

2010 – “The Man With The Spying Glass” short film;

Awards: Best Picture BSFF 2011

Official Selection at:Jaipur International Film Festival; Newport Beach International Film Festival; NYIFF – (NY spring & LA summer 2011); Short Film Corner – Festival de Cannes; Ballston Spa Film Festival; Naoussa International Film Festival; Cornwall Film Festival; Poppy Jasper Film Festival;

2009 – “9 mm” short film;

Official Selection at; Waterford Film Festival; Jaipur International Film Festival; Deep Fried Film Festival; International Festival of Film & Culture at Patras City; Naoussa International Film Festival; Novara Film Festival;

2008 – “Short Guide-Autism” experimental

2008 – “Mikolaj”  experimental

2007 – “7 Minutes of Ur Life“ short film;

Official Selection at: No Festival Required

2007 – “Reverse“ short film

2006 – “The Fantasy House“  medium length film


2012- "A Shot At The Big Time" short film

Scripts, Short Stories & Books

2003- 2011 – I have been writing scripts for all of my shorts.

2012 - “Moncania” - children book

2012- "Mikolay & Julia: Mikolay Has a Secret" children book

2012 - "Pooh Gets a Beating" children book

2012- “Do You Know Why You Blow Your Nose? Do You Know How To Blow Your Nose?” interactive e-book

2012- "Do You Know Why You Need To Do Pee Pee Or Poo Poo In Your Potty?" interactive e-book

2012- “Do You Know Why You Brush Your Teeth? Do You Know How To Brush Teeth?” interactive e-book

2012- “My Mom Is a Superhero” interactive e-book

2011- "Mikolay & Julia In The Attic" kids illustrated book

2010 – “Two People”  feature film in pre-production

2010 – “Fantasy Room” feature film in development

2010 - “Mikolay & Julia Meet The Fairies”  kids illustrated book

2009  - Short Stories Collection

- “Julia & the Sea”

- “A Man Who Gives Happy Memories”

- “The Man & His Dragon”

- “Scary”

- “3 Months”


What is the current project you are working on?

“Anna & Modern Day Slavery” – this is a feature film in post-production


Anna, a strong & independent woman, leaves her partner & high paid government job behind to set up an underground Organization that exposes corruption and injustice which is spreading like a virus around the world.

Her IT/hacking skills come in very handy when she discovers international sex slavery network that runs deep into the government & corporate structures.

Her investigation leads her to Eastern Europe where one vital contact set her on track to discover horrific truth behind human trafficking.

To keep up on top of things Anna recruits Pawel, a talented researcher who unwittingly gets entangled into the unstoppable current of events.

Together, they risk everything to unravel the secrets behind a major trafficking ring and shed public light onto the horrors of sex slavery.

How do you define success?

Being able to do what you love doing. Drawing happiness from even the smallest things in life.

How do you handle rejection?

Of course it was hard at the beginning but with time it kind of became part of the job. It still makes me sad if I’m not accepted to film festivals with my movies or if someone gives me a really bad review. However, at the end of the day you can’t make everyone happy, right?

What is your writing process like?

It varies. Sometimes I write while watching a movie or listening to music. Sometimes I need total silence.

Usually I have an idea such as a title for a book or a script & I just start writing. After the first draft I keep on re-writing until I’m satisfied enough with my words.

What and/or who influences you?

Filmmakers: K. Kieslowski, Mike Leigh, Wong-Kar-Wai, Jean Pierre Jeunet, Christopher Nolan

Authors: Kafka, Dostoyevsky, Camus, Saint-Exupery and a lot of children's authors.

What is the estimated number of projects you have worked on?

Films: 15-16

Scripts: 20

Children books: 30 (6 of them are published)

Why do you think it's important to help other people promote their projects?

First of all let me tell you that I don’t believe that we artists have to compete against one another. We can co-exist & co-create & there is enough space for all of our creation.

I think it’s very important to help each other any way we can. This way we are able to create supportive community around our work.

Creation isn’t a piece of cake so it’s vital to support fellow artists & to celebrate their achievements any way we can.

What is one piece of advice you can give to someone who also wants to make it in your business?

Persistence. Don’t give up & don’t let other people tell you that you are worth less than you really are.

How would you describe your education?

I went to high school in Poland & after graduating I moved to UK. I got my media degree in the UK.

I hated high school & I really mean it.

Uni. was much better ‘cos finally I was able to do what I really wanted.

However saying all that I think you learn the most on the job. The hands-on experience is priceless. No amount of reading can provide you with the relevant knowledge you need to either write or make films.

What are some of your favorite American films? Foreign films? Television shows?

American Films: “Blood Diamond”, “Constant Gardener”, “Another Earth”, “Drive”, “The Lords of the Rings”, “Harry Potter”, “Inception”

Foreign Films: all of Mike Leigh’s films, “Three Colours” “Sex & Lucia”, “In the Mood For Love”, “2046”, “City of the Lost Children”

TV Shows ( I don’t have TV so I’m usually very behind) “Friends”, “The Game of Thrones” , “True Blood”

How do you balance you life as an author and filmmaker?

To be honest it’s not difficult. Writing & filmmaking is all story telling, just using different tools.

I write a lot during the fall & winter & if it’s possible I make films in the spring/summer.

Writing is easier ‘cos you just need a pen & paper or your laptop.

To make a proper movie you need vast amounts of money and a number of people. You can’t make a movie on your own & it does require loads of planning before you can go into production.

I love both. Actually I could never tell you which one is more important to me J

Is human trafficking more prevalent domestically or overseas?

Human trafficking doesn’t differ & you can find trafficked people in US, Canada & Europe as much as in Africa or Asia.

There are at least 27 million people kept as slaves around the world across the globe for sexual & physical exploitation.

Just check Village Voice Backpage & you can find out how people are trafficked & sold in US.

What's your favorite quote and why?

I don’t think I have one.

Is there anything else you would like to add?

I also run consultation and soon small workshops for other filmmakers & authors. If you would like to find out how I could assist you, check out my website


Thank you for doing the interview Magda. Let me know if  “Anna & Modern Day Slavery”  screens in Boston. I'd love to see the film and meet you in person.