Florence Film Awards
Cynthia Fridsma is an author specializing in supernatural thrillers. She is inspired by her mother's stories and by authors such as Stephen King, Clive Barker, Dean Koontz, and Philip K. Dick. She began writing in 2014 after a handicap that affected her right hand, wrist and fingers. She has published several novels, including Pandemic: Chaos is Bleeding, which was adapted into a film. The animated film Pandemic: Chaos is Bleeding was nominated for the Swedish International Film Festival in 2023.
When did you decide you wanted to be an actor/director/ screenplayer?
I am a writer and I like to put my thoughts on paper. But I also like to visualize my ideas. Since I enjoy working with specialized 3D software, I can make this happen. By gaining a lot of experience, I was able to make my first movie: Pandemic : Chaos is Bleeding, based on my book of the same name. That was last year. So to come back to your question, seven months ago I decided to start this movie project, that's when I decided to become a director to make my movie come true.
How did your family react?
My husband supported me from the beginning and I love him for that. Well, not only that, but you know what I mean, right? It's great to have a supportive husband and when I told my family about my movie project they were very enthusiastic.
Do you have a Muse or a Role Model?
Not really. I don't have a role model, although I admire strong women. My main character, Sybil Crewes, is partly based on the fictional character Alice from the Resident Evil movies, played by actress Milla Jovovich. You could say that her character is a role model. The same goes for the fictional character Chloe O'Brian from the action-packed TV show 24, played by actress Mary Lynn Rajskub. Vannessa Dogscape is a character based on Chloe O'Brian, to name a few. But like I said, I don't have a muse or a role model, except for the ones mentioned here.
Who's your biggest fan?
That'd be my husband, Gerard. He's very supportive of everything I do, and I love him for that.
What brings you inspiration the most?
For me, the news is a good starting point. When I read something that interests me, I like to dig deeper to gather more information about the topic that I can use as a backdrop for my story, or even as the main event. Like the terror that happened in 2013 during the Boston Marathon bombing on April 15. That was my inspiration to write my book The Black Widow, which is about terrorism and vampires. And for my movie project Pandemic: Chaos is Bleeding, it was the COVID-19 pandemic, the attack on the Capitol that happened on January 6, 2021. I used this horrible event as the background for my book and later for my movie Pandemic: Chaos is Bleeding.
Which actor or director would you like to work with?
I would love to work with Kiefer Sutherland as Jack Hunter, head of the ATU (Anti-Terrorism Unit) in Boston, and Milla Jovovich as Sybil Crewes.
Have you ever seen a film that was better than the book?
A book is a different experience than a movie, so it's hard to compare the two. But I think Clive Barker's Hell Raiser and the original Candyman movie from 1992 were great to watch. Also The Mist, based on a short story by Stephen King, was a great experience. But I like the movies and the books equally. A movie is a visual journey of images and sounds, while a book is words and can be very intense. You have to use your imagination to visualize the story.
What's the movie that taught you the most?
This is a hard question to answer. I have seen so many movies that I have lost count. But you asked about the movie that affected me the most, and I can tell you that it wasn't a movie. It was the 1978 TV miniseries Holocaust, starring Meryl Streep and James Woods. It's the saga of a Jewish family's struggle to survive the horrors of Nazi Germany's systematic marginalization and extermination of their community. And also the 1977 miniseries, Roots, about Kunta Kinte's enslavement to the liberation of his descendants. I was ten years old when I saw the series on television and I was shocked at the time, not understanding why people would kill or enslave other people because of their race, religion and color. What I learned from those two shows is that racism is evil and that we're all born equal. Your color, race, religion (or in my case, lack of religion), and sexual orientation should never be a reason to hate, discriminate, harass, and kill. It's also the reason why I start writing stories in the hope that people will learn to appreciate each other instead of hating.
About your artistic career, have you ever had the desire to quit everything?
I think everyone has that feeling from time to time, when something you have in your head doesn't work out in practice, you just want to give up. But quitting is never an option for me. Sure, I take a break and take a deep breath and call it a day if I don't succeed at first. But the next day I will do my best to make it happen.
On set what excites you the most?
Since I work with 3D models and 3D software to bring my ideas to life, my stage is my PC. It's great to put 3D models in motion. Hearing the characters speak and act while I set up the stage to make it happen. It's like magic and a dream come true. Almost literally.
And what scares you the most?
A computer crash. Sure, I have backups, but reinstalling all the software and recreating all the footage takes a lot of time. It took me seven months to create and edit my first movie, Pandemic : Chaos is Bleeding. It would be a nightmare if I had to do it all over again because of a malfunction. Luckily that didn't happen. As they say in showbiz: break a leg, you might get lucky. I didn't break a leg, my computer didn't malfunction, and I finished my first movie project.
What's your next project?
My second movie will be a sequel to the first, but with a lot more drama and scary moments. Sybil has to put an end to a new threat - a terrorist organization of hardline voting refuseniks who want to overthrow the current government with a deadly variant of COVID-19 that turns people into skinned zombies.
You can steal the career of an artist you really admire, who do you choose?
Jimi Hendrix. I always wanted to play guitar in front of an audience. I also admire Steven Spielberg, who doesn't? But wait, I mentioned two. Sorry about that.
An actor/director/screenplayer is made of....
Passion. That's the word I want to add to your sentence.
For you Cinema is....
The best place to see dreams and stories come true. Where you can be safe and enjoy a great movie.
Do you think Black and white movies have a powerful impact?
I really don't like watching black and white movies. It's old school. Vivid colors and Dolby Digital Surround make a movie enjoyable. Not black and white and mono sound. Although I do enjoy watching old movies like Alfred Hitchcock's 39 Steps or Gaslight starring Ingrid Bergman.
Have you ever dreamed of winning an Oscar?
To be honest, it is fun and exciting to participate in a film festival. Especially when your film is selected to be seen by a jury. Then the adrenaline rush when you find out you've won something, a semi-finalist, a finalist, an honorable mention, a nomination or an award. I never imagined that my film would win an award or be nominated at the Swedish International Film Festival. It would be a great honor to win an Oscar, or to win at Cannes, or to win at the Florence Film Awards. Only time will tell.
Do you think you're gonna win it?
To be honest, I don't expect to win an Oscar for my movie. But it's fun and exciting to be a contender.
Source: Florence Film Awards