Deepak Rauniyar on „Four Nights“ / interview

The Nepalese director, screenwriter and producer began his career as a film critic. His debut feature film, „Highway“, premiered at the 2012 Berlinale and, in doing so, became the first Nepalese film to be invited to an A-list festival. His second feature, „White Sun“, screened at Venice, Toronto, Busan, Locarno and Rotterdam, won several awards and was Nepal’s official entry for the Oscars. He is a Berlinale Talents alumnus and has been a jury member at Locarno, Sydney and the Asia Pacific Screen Awards.

What was your starting point for “Four Nights”?

Eighteen years ago, Asha and I met on a film set! I was assisting in the direction, and Asha performed a role. We were both “outsiders” to the Nepali industry. A few years later, not only did we get married, but we also started a production company. Since then we have made two features and multiple short films that have internationally screened and won awards and accolades. We are working on a few more. But our journey together hasn’t been less dramatic than the films we have made! The shared love for the cinema brought us together. But the same passion at a point threatened to separate us! We filmmakers don’t often talk about the darkness behind the shadows of the glamour of the red carpet, festivals, and awards. „Four Nights“ is our small attempt to turn that camera and face us, the filmmakers. Though most of our works had been in Nepal, for the past 11 years, we have primarily lived in the US. I’m fascinated by New York City, by the complexity of this town, and I wanted to explore it in this film.

Do you have a favorite moment in the film? Which one and why this one?

I wouldn’t dare to compare a film to a baby, but I feel it’s something close in that realm! So, it’s hard to say; I like the face most, head or tail, if that makes sense. We had planned for a three-day shoot, but my DOP’s other project’s shooting got extended, and he couldn’t come until midnight of the second last day. So, we had to shoot the entire thing of „Four Nights“ in less than 12 hours. I had to change my visual plan at the last minute and improvise according to the schedule. The last shot of the film was also the last shot we shot that day. Whenever I watch that moment, I remember my DOP saying; we have 20 seconds of battery left; do you want anything? My mind was stalled. I couldn’t think of anything! He had an international flight in less than two hours. I appreciate that he used every second available to make the film happen.

What do you like about the short form?

“Freedom”! Financing an international co-production takes a long time! It’s a painful process of waiting for “approvals” and going from one grant to another, one market to another, one investor to another. It felt nice not to have to wait and shoot and edit it. I did a short after almost 13 years, and it felt good. To realize that you can also fully express and be satisfied with a short from has been rewarding. I think I will be making shorts more often now. 

Photo © Dorothea Tuch

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00:5302:38 Excerpt: Four Nights / 10:5016:45 Is it possible to cast chemistry? / 16:4623:34 How do you manage the transition from writing the script to acting in the film? / 23:3434:10 Please tell us more about the different acts of performance in all three films. / 34:1136:16 Deepak, please tell us more about the usage of sound in “Four Nights” / 41:3044:38 Flowers and compliments

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„Besides acting in the film, I also co-wrote the script. And to add to that, the film also takes some inspiration from our own experiences as immigrants in New York, which makes it more special.“
in an interview with Asha Magrati by Ankit Khadgi for The Kathmandu Post

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“We switched it to be entirely from the husband’s perspective, all indoors. It still told the essential story while actually being more controllable. We let the world in through off-screen sounds.” 
in an interview with Deepak Rauniyar by Abigail Celoria for The Seahawk

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