Velvet Datsopoulou is a Greek director and producer based in New York City. She was born and raised in Athens, Greece. She studied Politics and International Relations in London but then decided to follow her childhood dreams and go into filmmaking. As one of her initial projects, Velvet was part of the support staff that helped produce the acclaimed documentary “Great Directors,” selected in the Cannes Film Festival 2012. The Documentary is a deeply personal and intimate look at the art of cinema and the artists who create it and features original, in-depth conversations with world-class filmmakers Bernardo Bertolucci, David Lynch, Stephen Frears, Agnes Varda, Ken Loach, Liliana Cavani, Todd Haynes, Catherine Breillat, Richard Linklater, and John Sayles. Velvet also worked for a New York-based production company called Creative Chaos, which provides production services for H&M, Vogue, Sportmax, Frame, and Nars.
Along the way, Velvet produced another short documentary about love and relationships, inspired by the article published in the New York Times, “36 Questions that Lead to Love”. Velvet was also an associate producer in a VR documentary called “Sygnomi,” a project that studied domestic violence themes in our society, in partnership with Greek director Alexia Kyriakopoulos. In addition to films, Velvet has produced music videos for emerging singers, including a recent one for the Greek singer Evgenia which reached more than 1m views on YouTube.
Which director has influenced you the most in your cinematic journey?
Many of them inspired me in different ways, artistically and intellectually. I would say Jean Luc Godard was the most influential. I explored his work during my teenage years and quickly became fascinated by his creative genius. His work truly revolutionized the art of movie-making through its experimentation. His films have an innovative vision with so many intellectual stimulations; Godard was the La Nouvelle Vague king. His films remain unseen by mainstream audiences, and this is what I admire the most – he never became a commercial director. He had this creative freedom on the characters of his films and also on his way of living.
A lot of directors have a series of hugely successful years, and then it all evaporates. Is that something you’re afraid of?
Everyone is exposed to that risk. But that’s the challenge. When the downfall happens, I will improvise. Down periods are a scary time for everyone, but that’s also what makes us stronger. Sometimes the passion, motivation, and desire are stronger than fear.
What tips will you give to beginner filmmakers?
Make a film with a subject that you love that motivates you, that you are passionate about. Don’t stress if you make mistakes; remember that from your mistakes, you learn. Surround yourself with people that inspire you and collaborate with you – filmmaking is not an individual sport, so pick a good team. Don’t fear experimenting with new ideas on the camera.
What, in your opinion, is the most important quality for a film director?
Ability to motivate others, a combination of organizational skills and artistic vision, and perhaps above all, the courage to go with your gut instinct when it comes to creative decisions.