interview by JANA LETONJA

Eva Vik, a Czech-born film director, screenwriter, and producer, is based in Los Angeles. Eva is renowned for her acclaimed award-winning short films, including ‘Serpentine’, ‘Raven’, and ‘Carte Blanche’, which feature notable stars such as Barbara Palm, Suki Waterhouse, Sean Penn, Dylan Sprouse, and Cailee Spaeny. Eva Vik has been recognised with numerous film awards for her rapidly rising career, including the Breakout Director’s Award at the Hollywood Film Festival, the Audience Award and the Best Genre Awards at the Mammoth Film Festival, and the Best Director at the International Short Film Awards. Notably, Eva Vik was named in Forbes’ 30 Under 30 list.

Eva, how did your interest in all aspects of filmmaking begin?

As a child actor in theatre and films, my early exposure to cinema sparked a deep interest in the art form. While I began on the other side of the camera, I always maintained close involvement with directors and cinematographers. I co-wrote some projects and even co-operated the camera in a film with Mike Figgis. However, I found myself yearning for a deeper creative challenge beyond acting. At the age of 25, I transitioned behind the camera and pursued directing and writing. Initially drawn to a surrealist approach, my style gradually evolved towards narrative storytelling. While elements of surrealism remain embedded in the DNA of my films, my upcoming feature film projects are entirely narrative, with a sort of magical realism to them.

The first short film you did had Sean Penn and Suki Waterhouse starring in it. How was it working on your first project with such high-profile actors? Did it add any pressure on it?
I went with instinct and a creative mind. They are both fantastic collaborators, so the filming felt effortless and innovative.

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suit jacket & shirt RALPH LAUREN PURPLE LABEL
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With your directing and writing work, you strongly emphasize female empowerment. Why is female empowerment such an important focus for you, and how do you showcase it through your work?
I never even thought of a female character who is not empowered or does not reach her ultimate empowerment throughout her journey in the film. It’s exhilarating to reveal the latent potential of female empowerment within my characters, whether it demands extensive soul-searching or directly showcasing their feminine strength and influence. Everyone has to undergo a series of pivotal transformations and I often incorporate this into my character’s narratives. Women are sophisticated creatures who deserve to be portrayed with depth and intricacy on screen.

Your latest short film ‘Serpentine’ went to the Tribeca Film Festival and won the Best Genre Short Film at the Mammoth Film Festival. How proud were you of all these accolades for your work?

Being recognised for one’s work with accolades is always an honour. However, with or without these awards I would have continued the same way. Everything becomes fuel, awards or no awards, success or delay. I believe that everything comes to fruition exactly when it’s supposed to. Like people, projects and scripts also have to undergo transmogrifications to arrive at the point where they are meant to be. In the film industry, we know things can take years, even decades, but enjoying and learning from the process is key. Some of the greatest films took a decade to make.

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‘Serpentine’ has also been made in collaboration with Bulgari. How did your relationship with the brand develop and what do you love the most about it?

I’ve been collaborating with Bulgari for the past couple of years. Talking about female empowerment, they were the ones to approach me and ask me to write and direct a female-empowering short film which became ‘Serpentine’, a covert snake cult breaking the genetic code to create new snake-human interspecies, starring Barbara Palvin, Luke Brandon Field and Soo Joo Park. We premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival, won awards at multiple film festivals, and it has accumulated over millions of views on Nowness. ‘Serpentine’ also served as a precursor for my first feature film, which explores a different topic but shares the body-horror genre. Additionally, I am expanding ‘Serpentine’ into a full-length film, blending elements of sci-fi, body-horror and an obscure spiritual journey.

You are also working on another project with Bulgari. Please share more about it with us.

Last year I directed Omnia Eau de Toilette starring actress Cailee Spaeny and this year we are releasing the perfume version. We shot in Portugal with Ridley Scott Productions. Bulgari has become like a synergistic family to me and it’s wonderful to continue collaborating with them over the years.

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What usually inspires you the most when creating new work?

Finding inspiration is a fascinating process. You’re planting seeds during the process of research, mulling over ideas, dreaming, experiencing, and embodying them. Then some mornings when you get up, clarity strikes and you know exactly what to write or how to solve parts of the narrative. Sometimes you’re sitting at your computer and the words are just pouring out of you, or through you, should I say. Sometimes I like to get a long car ride while listening to music, which offers a fresh perspective. Other times, the right ideas have been there all along, just waiting to be utilized at the right moment. Like many other filmmakers and writers, I enjoy infusing my screenplays with personal experiences. Some filmmakers say it should be on such a personal level it makes you embarrassed to screen it in front of others. I like that idea, but it hasn’t made me feel self-conscious to share my private experiences through the characters and stories on screen.

Besides your filmmaking work, you are also an ambassador of the White Ribbon Foundation, committed to the protection of women and children who are victims of domestic violence, and promoting gender equity, and healthy relationships. Why is supporting this cause dear and close to you? How does your work with the Foundation look like, what activities do you participate in through them?
It’s important to me because women deserve equity and to be heard. Thankfully, in modern times, achieving this goal is not only conceivable but also attainable. A lot of the work goes on behind closed curtains. It’s about listening to the people you meet in person or online and offering advice when needed. We are here providing help to everyone who needs support or immediate actions. If you or someone you know needs help, don’t hesitate to reach out to us at:

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Having moved to Los Angeles for your career, how do you enjoy your free days in California?
I find solace in my office and study. While I may not indulge in typical LA outdoor activities like hikes or other LA-typical recreational activities, I find contentment in swimming. Yet, nothing quite compares to the pure joy I experience in a dimly lit cinema or within the confines of my office.

Next, you’re working on your first feature film, a body-horror genre film. How exciting is it working on your first feature and what can we expect from it?

This will be my first feature, so it’s incredibly exciting. I’m dedicating all my energy and focus to it. I have high expectations and self-imposed pressures, and in my mind, how I envision it, it’s amazing. Let’s see it come to life when it comes out. It’s also about the harmony and symbiotic collaboration of the whole team, which I’m very much looking forward to. 

talent EVA VIK
photographer URŠA PREMIK
retoucher SANJA BRAUN
editor-in-chief TIMI LETONJA
interview JANA LETONJA