Eva Doležalová was ten years old when she landed her first acting job. Her grandmother saw a casting notice in a Czech newspaper and thought Eva would be perfect for the part. The thrill of being picked out of 300 girls sparked something inside her, and she spent her formative years acting in films and performing in plays. During one such production Eva was scouted as a model, and was promptly whisked away on a whirlwind tour of Paris, Milan, New York, Argentina, Cape Town, and Japan, before eventually settling in London, where she spent three years studying at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art. It wasn't until she moved to Paris, and was studying under the brilliant Gaspar Noé, that she first entertained the idea of filmmaking. "He made me see for the first time what I've always wanted, to be more than an actor," the Prague-born beauty states. "I began to find my own artistic voice and realized my dream for filmmaking, and started pursuing my writing and directing skills." Fresh from the launch of Sound of Sun, a surreal short starring Suki Waterhouse and Sean Penn about a girl's path to self-discovery, the young creative spoke to us about film and female empowerment.
What makes you want to create films?
Being able to translate emotions and vision into moving images. Creating something that makes people discover something they've never explored before is the purest form of art for me.
What inspires you?
Life itself inspires me the most — everyday moments, experiences, countries, and people. How people look, or what they are saying is the biggest gift for a creative like me. I love listening. Of course, Stanley Kubrick or Sidney Lumet are my biggest inspirations in filmmaking.
How did you get into film?
Since I was a child I always knew that I wanted to be in film. I just always assumed that it would be as an actor. Until I realized that my real dream, my real mission in this world, is to be a director, tell moving stories, and create powerful visuals.
Can you talk a bit about your recent work Sound of Sun?
Sound of Sun came to me as a dream at first. I saw myself transforming from who I was into an unchained artist who is finally able to be who she's supposed to be. Sometimes we get lost in knowing who we really are, and Sound of Sun is a portrait of that. It's about discovering who you are and what you really want.
What do you want viewers to take away from it?
I would love for each viewer to take anything they want and can. I love when each individual has a different feeling and take on Sound of Sun. I wanted my first film to be quite surrealist, since surrealism was one of my biggest influences growing up. My next films will be more narrative based, and center around female empowerment.
Why is it so important to get more women behind the camera?
Because of our female vision, we see the world and understand it perhaps a little differently to men. In the 60s the only crew jobs available to women were as script girls and in the editing department. Now is the time for women in film more than ever, and it's a blessing that it's finally happening. Lets use it and go for it. It's our time.
What does the female gaze mean to you?
I guess a response to Laura Mulvey's The Male Gaze. I've always found it very interesting, and I agree that certain filmmakers were using cameras and narratives as a certain form of voyeurism. On the same subject — in the film, Dreamers by Bernardo Bertolucci, Michael Pitt's character says in one of the bathtub scenes, "It makes films like crimes and directors like criminals. It should be illegal." At this moment Bertolucci was obviously talking about himself and he definitely is one of the "voyeur" directors out there. The female gaze is the opposite of the male gaze, however. I believe that women treat it differently, especially in film. I would definitely love for some filmmakers to stop killing innocent females in films for no reason, and so I am changing that!
How do you reconcile your work as a director with that of being a model and actress? Are they all part of the same outlet or do you keep them separate?
It was definitely a big transformation from being an actor and model into a filmmaker. I strongly believe in sacrifices and change so I sacrificed traveling as a model, making great cash, or acting alongside cool actors and worked and worked, slept three hours a night, wrote and studied for months when I first came out to Los Angeles. That's what I needed and wanted to do. I wanted to be respected for my craft as a director and it happened. In the end, it wasn't that hard, because people saw my passion and determination in what I believe and to me that's the key to life. What you see yourself as and what you hold yourself as, that's how others will see you.
What's the best thing about being a female creative in 2017?
I think I couldn't have been born in better times for a female creative. People are really opening up to female visions and opinions. This is the time where talented women will make history.
What else are you working on at the moment?
I have two original feature films that I wrote in development, with one of them being made this autumn. It's a powerful female revolution story, something very relevant to today's politics and female rights.
Text Tish Weinstock