Interview with Ursula Dabrowsky:
For my Film History class I had to write an essay about Independent Australian Film. I asked if my friend had time in her busy schedule to do a short interview that I could utilize as my primary resource. Ursula Dabrowsky was traveling and promoting her second film, Inner Demon at the time of the interview. She made time to respond to a short questionnaire via email and IM, which shows how kind-hearted and generous she is to her fans, family, and friends. Thank you Ursula Dabrowsky!
Me: “Who is "Ursula Dabrowsky" and what kind of background does she have? What are some of your projects, past and present?”
Ursula Dabrowsky: “Ursula Dabrowsky is a pseudonym I created when I began to work in horror. For some reason, I lacked confidence when I started out making horror films in 2003 and I decided to create a persona, much like novelists and musicians do. Ursula Dabrowsky is my dark side. I tap into ‘her’ when I’m writing my screenplays. I find this liberating. So far, my dark side has created two feature films: Family Demons and Inner Demon, and I am currently working on a new project called The Devil’s Work.”
Me: “Do you feel you have more freedom as an independent film producer/writer/director?”
Ursula Dabrowsky: “I can only say that I have as much freedom as my budget allows. What I am finding is that I have freedom to write whatever I want, but in terms of execution, what you want to be able to do is work within the budget constraints. If you can’t, you’ll find that the lack of money can let your project down.”
Me: “What can you tell me about your experiences as an independent, writer/producer/director?”
Ursula Dabrowsky: “My experience as an independent filmmaker has been varied but the single thread binding all these experiences is my drive to learn my chosen craft. I create opportunities to make films when there aren’t any because I want to master the craft. It seems to be working as my films are progressively getting better each time. My music composer, Mick Taylor, describes Inner Demon my latest film as “Family Demons on steroids.” It’s exciting to watch yourself improve as a writer and director.”
Me: “What kind of politics or obstacles, if any, have you faced as an independent film producer/writer/director?”
Ursula Dabrowsky: “The main obstacles that I have faced are a lack of financial and emotional support: My budgets have been very low and have forced me to take on several roles and this has led to burn out. For my next film, I want to focus on writing and directing and leave the producing side of things to someone else.”
Me: “What do you feel the pros and cons are when it comes to Hollywood versus Independent Films?”
Ursula Dabrowsky: “I have no idea as I have never worked within the Hollywood system. All I can say is what I’ve read and what I’ve seen. Hollywood makes a lot of films and its hit and miss. But the same can be said for independent films. Regardless of budget or the system that you are working with, making films is difficult and making a successful film is even more difficult. But both systems want to make great films that are both critically and commercially successful. There is this myth that there is more freedom when making independent films but I would question that. Unless the financing is entirely your own, you will need to answer to someone… even if it’s just your audience. I’m not sure I believe there is such a thing as independent filmmaking anymore or if there ever was. We are all bound by our budget constraints and whether or not the audience wants to see our work.”
Kevin C. Davison.