On Daydreamers from A Filmmaker’s Handbook

I woke up this morning with the sense of yesterday,
that while I slept something had happened, set course.
Something unknown to me had begun to move. It will
affect me greatly. Something that in time will reveal itself,
with great anticipation I fell back asleep to uncover the event.
I dreamt of rooms and furniture, many and for the first time.
Something is on its way. The actress walks into the kitchen,
puts the kettle on and stops to look out the window. Absorbed
in the sounds from her neighbor’s kitchen, she stands watch.
Where does she go? The kettle whistles. She enters three rooms
for the first time. I enjoy characters that sense things that can not
be proven. For the reason that they see more, a hyper sensitivity
to their surroundings or that they believe this, whether true or not,
creates questions and dimensions to the character that can be
accessed, played and explored by the actor in a plethora of ways.
It creates surprises for the film and for us living near the film.




Stefania Irene Marthakis received her BA in Poetry & Theater from Columbia College Chicago and her MFA in Poetry & Poetics from Naropa University. From 2005-2007, she interned at The Poetry Project in NYC. Some of her poems can be found in Columbia Poetry Review, New American Writing, Bombay Gin and The Recluse.

On Music in Film from A Filmmaker’s Handbook

No other art form is as closely related to memory as music
is for me. Music is heard, the new sound is played over and over.
It collects all that is going on at the time. Years later when heard,
it brings along the memory that was recorded. The sense of the
memory is so strong that I have to stop and exist fully in the other
time, let it play out before I can return. I like music to exist as
a character in a film. The actor acknowledges the sound, brings it
into the story. She walks to the counter. Dreamin’ Man is playing.
She sings along as she hands the money to the waitress. Or she pays,
leaves the diner, later we see her in a bookstore singing “I’m a dreamin’
man. Yes, that’s my problem.” Another character overhears and speaks.

I also like music to exist as setting. The music is not acknowledged
by the characters but by the landscape. The music is picked for the
apple orchard, the 1950s Formica kitchen table or for the lamp’s low
light hitting the tools in the garage. For the shadows they cast,
music is played so that they might tell their story.





Stefania Irene Marthakis received her BA in Poetry & Theater from Columbia College Chicago and her MFA in Poetry & Poetics from Naropa University. From 2005-2007, she interned at The Poetry Project in NYC. Some of her poems can be found in Columbia Poetry Review, New American Writing, Bombay Gin and The Recluse.

On Truth from A Filmmaker’s Handbook

The point in film where there is no eraser, an action, something occurs and everything after a result of the moment, the severity of a choice, right after frightens and interests me. Not the moment of the murder, of the birth, the affair or the telling of it. The right after as you watch it reach the muscles of the face. Called the irreversible, inescapable or unforgettable. The point that demands, that demands more choices, courses of action. Which course? Time moves quicker now, the weight of things increases. What I want to film: the movement after the accident; the secret told or realized, whether a welcomed or negative surprise. A witness to that moment…well, that stands out to me.




Stefania Irene Marthakis received her BA in Poetry & Theater from Columbia College Chicago and my MFA in Poetry & Poetics from Naropa University. From 2005-2007, she interned at The Poetry Project in NYC. Some of her poems can be found in Columbia Poetry Review, New American Writing, Bombay Gin and The Recluse.

On Time Travel from A Filmmaker’s Handbook



So if tried and trusted are drunk in the corner of the bar and I take off my babushka and walk outside. Ride the donkey to pick the lemons and olives with my father in Kiveri, when I come back, since honey keeps, have you rearranged the tracks? Would you sing me a new version of a song from the 40s about being true? I would talk about time-travel with toasted bread and messy hair. How would I film, how would a character enter the flashback of her great-grandmother? Maybe I would start with sound, a sound that one can smell. I like the sound of dishes and cutlery when they come into contact with each other or other things like wood or tile. It makes me think that there is a family nearby and a crowded kitchen scene comes in. The lighting and small gestures come next.







Stefania Irene Marthakis received her BA in Poetry & Theater from Columbia College Chicago and my MFA in Poetry & Poetics from Naropa University. From 2005-2007, she interned at The Poetry Project in NYC. Some of her poems can be found in Columbia Poetry Review, New American Writing, Bombay Gin and The Recluse.