Some stills of Lije directing CONCRETE KIDS:
Read our FILMMAKER Q&A with LIJE SARKI:
Why do you make movies?
There a couple of answers here. Since I produce and write/direct they are different answers. As a director I seem to be reaching further than my youth allowed me to. I had a bunch of dreams and imaginations of “what if” that I still think about today. It keeps me young. It let’s me live out all this childish stuff I wanted to do - or thought “could this really happen”? Some of it is dark and some is fantasy. It's my own therapy and probably why most everything I have written/directed deals with some sort of adolescence and coming of age type thing. As a producer, I want to make movies with my friends and tell great stories. It doesn’t ever feel like work making great ideas come to life. I'm open to so many more ideas from other folks as a producer because there are so many things I am drawn to that I don’t know everything about. But… I do feel like I have a good handle on putting a film together and helping other directors be the best they can be. And when it works, there’s nothing like it!
What story do you want to tell?
So many. Mostly adventure, struggle, heightened reality and suffering. Lately I am into feeling good after I watch a movie. We need that today.
What’s your story?
My story has changed over time. Used to be one about a lonely kid that grew up rebellious and broken because of circumstances. But I’ve learned that it’s not that. We get cards we are dealt because life is very hard. It’s not my parents' fault, or teachers, or whatever. That picket fence life is BS anyways; who ever leaves that with any survival skills for the real world? I am proud of where I came from and how I had to grow up fast and if I can give a little bit of that and a little bit of guidance to my own kids, they will be all right.
What do you want to achieve in your craft?
People to see the work and feel something, anything. I’ve never need or wanted to be rich. If I can make movies and put a roof over my family’s head, I’ll be stoked.
What would you tell a young person with aspirations to be a filmmaker?
Make your film. Now! Find a way. Do other stuff too. Whatever pays the bills and gets you further along, do it. Don’t be “too cool”.
What has been your biggest struggle as a filmmaker?
Asking for help in the early years. It’s that whole childhood “I'm going to show everybody that I can do it on my own!” If you can surround yourself with people that are better than you, you will get better. You have to seek that stuff out. I didn’t at first. So I feel like I could have learned some things quicker and better. I also learned not to think I know everything. Trust me, people want to help and share their knowledge and it doesn’t make you look stupid to ask. Works the opposite in my opinion.
What do you see as the biggest struggle going forward?
Sifting through the ways to get your films out there. it’s a good and a bad thing to have so many outlets, but the cream rises to the top. If it’s good, people will see it. I hope.