Emese Liliom started her career as a film trick animator in Varga Animation Studio in the late 90’s. Then headed towards the advertising industry, and worked as a Traffic Manager for International Advertising Agencies such as Leo Burnett and Ogilvy.
She has spent 5 years in Egypt as a scuba diving instructor.
After going home, she changed career, started to attend film school - Werk Academy in Budapest, and works as a freelance editor.
1. Your music video BINÄR DESIRE won 3rd Best Director Music Video. How did the creative process go?
This clip started in an odd way, first was the idea, then Attila Varjú the founder of the electronic band BINÄR wrote the music to this actual story. Attila is a music producer and also a drummer of several professional bands in Hungary. BINÄR is his latest project with the singer Krisztina Vámos. Attila and I are good friends, we were looking forward to a project together. Attila and Krisztina are actually in the clip, they are standing in front of the club. The story is based on a personal experience somewhere in the early 2000, which obviously did not end as in the clip, but thankfully we survived harmlessly with my friend. This story was a good lesson, and kept on bouncing in me since.
2. Tell us about your background and when did you decide to become a Filmmaker?
I started my career as a film trick animator then oriented towards the advertising industry. After spending 10+ years in the marketing world, with a U turn, I am heading back to more creative fields, I’m currently studying in a film school, Werk Academy in Budapest, and enjoying every bit of it.
3. You mentioned scuba diving in your biography, that is a surprising part in your career. How did that happen?
I felt I have burned out in the corporate world, always loved travelling, love the water, so I tried scuba diving in Sinai, Egypt, and it felt so refreshing, I stayed for a good 5 years! I learned so much there - besides diving obviously - but how to lead and manage people, especially in a stressful, or even life-threatening situation. This skill I can use really well now on shoots. How to make my actors comfortable, so they can rely on me, they can feel that they are in safe hands. I think it is crucial.
4. Did you have any special technique or solution while shooting this clip?
Dato Katamadze, my DOP came up with an idea: how could we shoot the scenes within the car in a way, the car stands still. This was an awesome idea! With this solution we were able to shoot also daytime, and it was way easier and flexible for everybody!
5. Would you mention anybody especially from your crew?
I am very fortunate to know Dato, who was my DOP in both my short film - The Wolves, and in this music video too. He is essential in the creative process, we work together very smoothly. My production manager Júlia Szandtner is also a gem, there is no impossible for her. Dorka Czippán, my first assistant lifted all the practical issues from my shoulder so I could concentrate on directing. And of course I am grateful to the entire crew!
6. Films that inspired you to become a filmmaker?
As most of my generation (I am over 40…), I grew up watching the Star Wars and Indiana Jones films, on the other hand I am especially interested in exposing slight emotional shifts in the characters, and stories about abusive relationships, for example the Bitter Moon - Roman Polanski or the Mother! - Darren Aronofsky. In terms of visuals, I am fond of Tony Scott, the Desire music video was especially inspired visually from his film: Man on Fire.
7. Who is your biggest influence?
I am big fond of Christopher Nolan - tho his latest film, the Tenet was a disappointment for me. But the Memento or the Inception are great movies! I really like Polanski, Lucas, Cameron… the list is long.
8. Do you have a favorite genre to work in? Why is it your favorite?
Seems like, so far my stories are dramas or thrillers. I like when a story gets under your skin and doesn’t let you go for days after you saw it. I like to make people think. I wonder if I could make a good comedy, that is a hard genre!
9. What’s your all-time favorite movie and why?
There are numerous and very different kinds of films and tv shows I like, it is a hard question. The Legends of the Fall - Edward Zwick is a movie which I can watch again and again. I love how it shows the changes in the characters by time.
10. If you could work with anyone in the world, who would that person be?
I would love to see Nolan in his creative process, script development, on scene...
11. The one person who has truly believed in you throughout your career.
My late dad. And my tutors in film school are also very supportive, I would like to mention Gábor Ferenczi especially. I feel his faith in me which gives a lot of strength.
12. What was the most important lesson you had to learn as a filmmaker?
To let go sometimes. When you stress on something, especially due to time pressure, it blocks the creative energy. You have to let go sometimes. If you managed to collect the best people around you, and you breathe, move, think as one, if you don't stress about it, the right solution will appear just on time.
13. What keeps you motivated?
I am reading books, watching films, going to exhibitions, listening to music, taking photos as a hobby, going to film festivals (as much as it is possible with the current pandemic situation), meeting fascinating creative people, having deep discussions about certain topics. And rest as much as I can, cook and go for long walks with my dog.
14. How has your style evolved?
I think by time I start to be more brave and extravagant. I am constantly stretching my boundaries.
15. On set, the most important thing is…
To have the right people around you. If the shoot is well prepared, and I have the right crew, everything is possible.
16. The project(s) you’re most proud of…
My short film, the Wolves. It is performing pretty well also at film festivals.
17. The most challenging project you worked on. And why?
As a freelance editor I work on a lot of projects, some of the clients can be very high maintenance. Thanks to my previous experience from the advertising industry, I have a skill set to manage them, but it takes a lot of emotional energy sometimes.
18. How is it to change your career in your 40’s?
Well, at first I was a bit concerned, especially because of my classmates, who are on average 15-20 years younger than me. But it seems like it is more my concern :) I have obviously more life experience, I have routine in making things happen, know how to start, do, manage and finish things. They add their uncompromised view and approach to everything, which is a fresh breeze for me. Seems like the creative film industry doesn’t care about age, more about the result. Which is great!
19. What are your short term and long term career goals?
Short term I would like to make more short films, in the long term, well, I have a tv show idea… about diving instructors' adventurous life… ;) But first I have to write that book.
20. Your next projects?
This is my last year in this film school - Werk Academy - so I will make a diploma short film in spring. After that I am planning to continue my education, and hopefully make more and more films. And I want to write that book too.
Thank you for your great answers! I believe they inspire many of you to read this article!
If you want to continue following this exceptional artist, here are his social networks:
Binär Desire clip:
Binär Desire web page:
Binär band Facebook page:
Emese Liliom IMDb:
Studio Liliom Facebook page:
Studio Liliom Instagram:
Wolves short film:
Wolves short film IMDb: