Romanian people makes us proud wherever they go. Andreea Helen David is an actress and a producer based in UK. Andreea is working on an important project involving people with dementia. Even though she has already worked with Oscar Awarded directors, the actress has not forgotten people in need and is trying to help them.
Adanye: Hello! Thank you for accepting this interview!
Andreea Helen David: Thank you kindly for your invitation.
Adanye: From the age of seven, you started dancing and prepared for this career. What caused you to quit dancing and start acting?
Andreea Helen David: My parents signed me up at the club – Modern Dance and Gymnastics. I don’t think it was ever in my mind as a career path. I had a fall from the first day but it didn’t scare me to my mother’s dismay and worry. I loved the stage, the costumes, the preparation. I felt very proud being part of the shows, which at that time, I think were quite centric in the cultural life of a small town like Vaslui. I had to retire because my Maths grades were low and that was one condition my parents had for me to be able to do dance.
Adanye: You left Romania to start a new life in London. What made you make such a radical decision?
Andreea Helen David: Personal reasons.
Adanye: How has your life changed since you moved and how did you become an actress in the UK?
Andreea Helen David: I moved in the UK (Exeter at first) when I was 25 years old, after I was done with university.
I gave it a year to convince me, it took only a month.
Started acting classes shortly after, I would come to London once a month for 6 hours of amazing but grueling acting workshops. After a year I moved to SW London, in Richmond. I joined amateur theatre Mary Wallace in Twickenham . With them I did ‘Marvin Peake’s Ghormenghast’ and ‘Dracula’. Then I moved on to professional acting when I auditioned for Adela in Lorca’s ‘The House of Bernarda Alba’, directed by Mhari Grealis. We did together Dylan Thomas Under Milk Wood’ as well and then I got the chance to join the National Theatre tour of ‘An Inspector Calls’, JB Priestly, directed by Oscar winner Stephen Daldry. I felt free. To think, to experiment and to find myself, which sometimes makes me sad, because I never felt like this in Romania. I hope dreams and talents are being nurtured more now.
Adanye: You have already experienced many aspects of the film industry: acting, direction, and production. Which one attracts you more and does it seem to be a bigger challenge?
Andreea: I only directed a music video but it was more of an experiment so I wouldn’t add it to my CV. ( I should take it off really ) The lovely Raul Babos fulfilled an older wish, but I couldn’t call myself a director. Producing is so far the most challenging, but I am very proud of my projects so far, especially the ones under ‘Lighting The Darkness’ umbrella. A short film I produced and starred in, ‘3rd Degree’, is just being submitted to film festivals at the moment and that is also about a sensitive mental issue, PTSD.
Adanye: How was the transition from acting to production?
Andreea: I don’t know how it happened. I was asked to be part of a project, ‘Lighting the Darkness’ now, as an actress, but because the writer is so young I found myself doing the job of a producer. Quite surprised when my agent told me I am the producer. I never intended to become a producer, but I think it found me because I am like that, I need to create, I can’t just sit and wait. Because of the nature of the subject, I said I’d do everything I can to make it come to life. Now we’re working on the feature, the documentary and we’re developing a series “Don’t mention dementia”.
I was asked to produce a documentary about Romania too, which, because of lack of funding, came to a halt, hope not for too long. When I produced and acted in the same project was very interesting, harder, on the set though I was only the actress but I felt I had the control and I liked it. And when it comes to fruition is a fantastic feeling of accomplishment.
Adanye: Can you give me more details about the movie?
Andreea: The feature film is called ’Stranger’. Still working on the script. We have a very talented director interested, hoping to be able to confirm her soon. I love how Aalisha Green writes, 5 beautiful complex female characters and lots of twists and heart stopping moments. I can’t wait to start filming but we have plenty more work ahead of us before that.
Adanye: How is independent film seen in the UK?
Andreea: It exists and that is very important. Technically anyone who has an idea can turn it into a film. Of course there are obstacles but the line between the independent film-making and studio films is less defined than in other countries. I love we are independent, wouldn’t want a boss pressuring me with numbers. We get to take our sweet time to achieve the vision we have. Of course we all want to make money and a name but mostly to be able to fund the next project. For me is very telling that A listers turn to independent film-makers when they want a meatier role. We have support though BIFA Awards and IARA Awards and plenty of festivals for exposure. So plenty of opportunities to grow.
Adanye: Today, people are concerned about their own problems, but you, over time, have organized various charity events, and now you’re working on a project where the main subject is dementia. What has made you focus your attention on people less fortunate?
Andreea: I don’t have a personal connection with dementia and that helps a lot I think. It’s very hard to not be moved when you hear the stories, when you learn that people that had careers, that looked after their families, are losing their mental capacities, sometimes at a slow pace (over years) sometimes in a matter of months. They don’t recognize their family members or themselves, putting them in danger and so on and is hard not to empathize when our minds define us. There is a lot being done in the UK for dementia but there is need for so much more still. Knowledge is power, a lot can be achieved when information reaches us.
A young man in the audience at the screening of our documentary said that he finally understood why his grandmother behaved that way. That is precisely our goal but multiplied by a million. The fundraising gala and the screening managed to raise enough money for some exciting and beneficial activities in care homes and it was great especially when I got to have young talented Romanian artists on stage.
Adanye: What inspires you in your everyday life, but also in your career?
Andreea: People inspire me. I get to work and meet lots of talented film makers, actors, musicians, producers. And I get to learn so much from them. Also my family, music, films…
Adanye: How would you describe yourself in a few words?
Andreea: Strong, cheerful and I have at least an emotional intelligence.
Adanye: Is there a personality that you admire or have marked you in any way?
Andreea: Mihai Eminescu was my favourite writer, well still is, I periodically return to him when I miss those feelings. And Judi Dench as an actress.
Adanye: Do you have a motto that guides you?
Andreea: Yes, I have. Confucius: “Don’t do unto others what you don’t want done unto you”