They are artists: Tess Savina

Why did you film Untitled Night in Hong Kong?

I dreamt about shooting a short film in Hong Kong for a long time.  I also had a story that I wanted to turn into a film. It was about place, belonging and a chance encounter that stirs you up.  I couldn’t see this story visualised anywhere but in Hong Kong, so I went ahead.  In the end filming in this city turned out to be the most fascinating and fulfilling experience I had so far.  I hope to repeat it soon.

How did Hong Kong inspired you?

Hong Kong is a very unique city.  Here I can find inspiration literary everywhere: the skyscrapers, the neon lights, the street corners, the local diners, colours… everything is a story or has the potential for a story.  My favourite experience is to take a ride from New Territories to Hong Kong island at the sunset – that moment of peace and calm before you plunge right back into madness.  I think it’s brilliant.

Was film making always your passion?

Actually I studied fine art in school and college, then became interested in graphic arts and design. I have pursued design career since university and with time also started art directing. The fascination with film came much later. I was in the middle of my Masters Degree and we had a film making workshop. From then on it became the biggest passion of my life.

What inspires you?

I draw inspiration from everyday life, from the things that happen to me or the things that happen to people around me.  Sometimes I find the same impulse in smaller things like objects, lighting or the colours within rooms.  Something would click in my head, I’d sit down and put rough idea on paper. From that point the idea starts growing like a snowball.

tess savina

How do you handle obstacles?

There are many hurdles that a film-director will encounter during the creative process.  For instance, the fear of not being able to give justice to the script or a fear that the final piece will be a disappointment.  They are all equally terrifying.  My trick is to stay calm and focused and to take things easy.

What are you currently working on?

I am producing a short film trilogy.  All three films are dedicated to the exploration of a human psychological conditions, which are both comic and tragic at the same time.  Right now we are working on the second film, it is about one man suffering from Multiple Personality Disorder.


What do you do besides film making?

I study PhD in Visual Arts and my subject is Philosophy & Politics of Death in Contemporary Japanese Cinema.  So at the moment, my life is all about keeping the balance between the film making and working on my scholarly thesis.  Sometimes it’s not easy but it makes it more fun.

Who is your favourite Hong Kong director / visual artist?

Definitely Wong Kar Wai.  I find him one of the most visually inspiring movie directors who has a very unique style of story telling.  I also love Wing Shya.  His photography is very beautiful and cinematic.

tess savina

“Encounters and conversations are vital and often bring with them revelations and a rush to visualise a story. “

About Tess Savina


Favorite book:  After Dark by Haruki Murakami

Favorite movie: Maboroshi No Hikari

Favorite cartoon character: A cat called Kot Matroskin in Russian cartoon Dadya Feodor

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