ACF Asian Cinema Fund

Script Development Fund

2014 Script Development Fund

LIST Learning to Build a Fire
Category Asian Project
Project Learning to Build a Fire
Director Hannah ESPIA
Country Philippines
Director's Profile Hannah Espia is a director under the Manila-based production company TEN17P. Her debut feature film, <Transit>(2013), was one of the most acclaimed Filipino films in 2013. Premiering at the Cinemalaya International Film Festival where it won ten awards (including Best Picture and Best Director), the film received a Special Mention at the Busan International Film Festival and the Student Jury Prize at Tokyo FilmEx. <Transit> was also selected as the Philippines’ entry to the Academy Awards in 2014.
Learning to Build a Fire is about the falling out of love of a young interracial couple – Ella, a Filipina, and Lukas, a Slovakian. After being in a long distance relationship for almost two years, the couple decides the future of their relationship within Ella’s 90-day visit to Slovakia – the maximum stay for visitors in the Schengen area.
Ella and Lukas arrive at the apartment in Bratislava, which they will share for 3 months. As the days and weeks go by, Ella gets acquainted with a culture that is very different from hers. As Ella becomes familiar with Lukas’ everyday life – his quirks, his habits, his likes and dislikes - the excitement that comes with discovery quickly turns into merely a survival of the mundane.

Director's Note
<Learning to Build Fire> explores the complex relationship of an interracial couple within a 90-day Schengen visa. The couple is faced with everyday challenges – such as changing a light bulb, fixing a toilet – and more complex issues such as racism, language barriers, and the acceptance of each other’s difference.
Accepting each other’s differences can be difficult. But what can bring people together is sometimes the most basic thing – like building a fire. Something that was necessary for human survival required a lot of effort, but done successfully, it gave people light, warmth, and comfort. Maybe this is the same with love. <Learning to Build Fire> is my take on the ever-changing view of modern day relationships.
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