He is the man behind The Woman in the Room Dollar Baby Film.
SKSM: Could you start with telling me a little bit about yourself? Who are you and what do you do?
Romanos Papaioannou: Hello! My name is Romanos Papaioannou. I was born and raised in Athens, Greece and I’m 23 years old.
SKSM: When did you know you wanted to become a filmmaker?
Romanos Papaioannou: Since i was 8 or 10. I grew up watching films out of my dad’s VHS collection. I saw movies a 6-7 year old probably shouldn’t be watching but it all worked out at the end.
SKSM: When did you make The woman in the room? Can you tell me a little about the production? How much did it cost? How long did it take to film it?
Romanos Papaioannou: I shot the film in May of 2017. With about three weeks of pre production, that included location scouting, casting, assembling my crew. I produced the film myself and it cost less than 1000 euros. Shooting took two days. An 8 hour and a 12 hour shift.
SKSM: How come you picked The woman in the room to develop into a movie? What is it in the story that you like so much?
Romanos Papaioannou: While reading the story i saw elements of myself in it. Although i haven’t experienced an exact situation as the character in it, i knew who he was and i saw parts of my daily life in him. This endless slumber of inactivity in the face of a life or death situation. In my character’s case is literal while to me it was metaphorical.
SKSM: How did you find out that King sold the movie rights to some of his stories for just $1? Was it just a wild guess or did you know it before you sent him the check?
Romanos Papaioannou: Google. Years before i made the film or even entered film school i had learned about the existance of Dollar Babies through a google search for a complete list of adapted Stephen King works.
SKSM: Was there any funny or special moment when you made the movie that you would like to tell me about?
Romanos Papaioannou: I was so stressed out while making it I cannot recall of anything. The post-shooting drink at 4 o’ clock in the morning in the empty streets of Athens was a great closure.
SKSM: How does it feel that all the King fans out there can’t see your movie? Do you think that will change in the future? Maybe a internet/dvd release would be possible?
Romanos Papaioannou: I think a dedicated short film festival would be best. Once a year, all the short films based on Dollar Babies. I don’t think they are that many anyway so no reason to make it too competitive. It would be more like a celebration istead of a competition. We have enough of those as it is.
SKSM: What “good or bad” reviews have you received on your film?
Romanos Papaioannou: After the “premiere” in the International Short Film Festival in Drama (Greece) people came up to me and the general consensus was that the film was an honest effort at such a sensitive subject. A gentleman told me how he enjoyed the positive portrayal of Death in the film, he felt my movie references were there to serve a dramaturgical purpose and not just be nerd references. Now on the other hand, for quite a few people the structure of the film didn’t really work and I believe that stems from the screenplay that I needed to work a lot more. Also people felt there were some amateurisms in the look of the film. I don’t like making excuses, I felt both the positive and the negative reviews were fair.
SKSM: Do you plan to screen the movie at a particular festival?
Romanos Papaioannou: Yes, the film had already a big opening at a great festival here and Greece and a great follow up at the Athens International Film Festival. I have sent the film in a few other festivals via FilmFreeWay and I will continue to do so throughout the year.
SKSM: Are you a Stephen King fan? If so, which are your favorite works and adaptations?
Romanos Papaioannou: YES! Huge fan! I have a soft spot for Pet Sematary, this novel really got under my skin although my favorite books of his are IT and The Green Mile with The Long Walk and the Dark Tower series following close by. As for my favourite movies based on his works, Rob Reiner’s Stand by Me and John Carpenter’s Christine.
SKSM: Did you have any personal contact with King during the making of the movie? Has he seen it (and if so, what did he think about it)?
Romanos Papaioannou: No the closest I got to him was with his associates via email. Actually, I haven’t sent them the film yet which is not something i’m proud of but I will do very very soon.
SKSM: Do you have any plans for making more movies based on Stephen King’s stories? If you could pick -at least- one story to shoot, which one would it be and why?
Romanos Papaioannou: Not in the near future. A drawback of adapting the works of such a famous writer is that most of the questions I had for the film was on how did I get the rights to do it. Stephen King monopolized the conversation a bit. But if Frank Darabont ever becomes tired of Stephen King and wants me to do The Long Walk I would do it in a heartbeat. Haha.
SKSM: What are you working on nowadays?
Romanos Papaioannou: I am writing my next two short films while working as a production assistant on other films and commercials.
SKSM: What one thing people would be surprised to know about you?
Romanos Papaioannou: I’m funny at a very annoying level and I like making people I don’t like or know very well extremely uncomfortable.
SKSM: Thanks for taking the time to answer my questions. Is there anything you want to say to the fans that read this interview?
Romanos Papaioannou: The film will be uploaded to Youtube at some point. I hope you will enjoy it and leave a comment. I would love to know what you thought of it.
SKSM: Would you like to add anything else?
Romanos Papaioannou: Thank you so much for this interview. It’s great to know that people care about the dollar babies, actually short films in general.