ESP 2015: Interview with Ayshea Halliwell and Miha Manea

ESP 2015: Interview with Ayshea Halliwell and Miha Manea

by March 19, 2015

The last ones of the ESP participants who couldn’t escape the Nisimazine invasion were Luxembourg-Romanian friends Ayshea Halliwell and Miha Manea.

In the Luxembourg morning sun we sit together with the radiant Ayshea Halliwell and
Miha Manea who are here to enlighten us about their short The Family Who Hid in the
Cellar.

– Tell us something more about your story. You are not really hopeful about the future, right?
Halliwell: Our story is set in 2020 in a Luxembourg where there are only 2 classes, rich and poor,
and nothing in between. The protagonists are on their way to be poor but to impress everyone at
their party- and later on in their entire neighborhood- they tell everyone they are planning to go on
holidays in Indonesia; they will rent an island over there. But this is an absolute lie, so the only
solution they could come up with was to hide in the cellar.

– How did this plot come to life?
Halliwell: It’s based on a true story that happened in Luxembourg in the eighties. That was the
starting point and from thereon we wrote the script. It was because of the help of the ESP workshop
that we went from a kind of general script to what it is now, a detailed world with much more
elaborate specifics.
Manea: For me in the beginning I was a bit afraid, it was a quite a challenge because like Ayshea
said we had the plot but we needed to put all the characters and details in place. So, I’m glad we’re
already come this far with the script.

– Were their struggles to overcome in this process? How was your partnership during the writing
stage?
Halliwell: There were quite a bit of disagreements about the world we wanted to create. But then
again, it was finding a balance. Sometimes you already see the idea in your head and you have to
communicate it in a way wherein you have to come to a common understanding.
Manea: They’re maybe our first arguments since we became friends but it really weren’t this heavy
kind of discussion. If you agree on everything, there’s really no need to work with two. As long we
could both be passionate about it, it was fine.
Halliwell: In the end for me it worked really, really well.

– The other interviewees said that the ESP Poznan scriptwriting sessions changed their script
enormously, is the same true for your project?
Halliwell: Yes, our tutor Nadja (Dumouchel) was just incredibly. She got what we wanted to say and
helped us to say in a more cohesive and interesting way.
Manea: And she made it more attractive for the audience too.
Halliwell: Even more, participants sometimes contributed quite major ideas to our story, for
instance, the idea of the missing plane. The beauty of the workshop was that the mood was open
and everybody felt like they could give these kinds of suggestions. And we’re very grateful for that.

– Where is your project headed in the near future?
Manea: We just want to finish it before the collapse of the European Union [Laughs] (In their short
which takes place in 2020 the European Union is already dismantled)
Halliwell: Realistically, the next steps are checking out the options the producers gave to us. But
first we need some sleep; it’s all too fresh right now [Laughs].

By Matthias Van Hijfte

Here you can find more information about the project