Thursday, 16 July 2020

Interview with filmmaker Vitória Vasconcellos

Fogo Infinito will premier at the Straight-Jacket Guerrilla Film Festival

*How did you get into making films? 
At first it was just about editing little videos for my mother and sister on iMovie, then it quickly became a way through which I developed my English speaking skills and next thing I knew, filmmaking became the only way through which I can properly understand the world. And explain how I see the world. Because I never had much money for filmmaking, despite attending the University of Southern California School of Cinematic Arts, filmmaking also became a way to explore places, practice my creativity and resourcefulness and meet passionate artists. 

*What inspired you to make your movie? 
This movie was supposed to be a visual identity for a poem about oblivion that I had written years ago. A couple of days after we shot, COVID happened and I ended up editing Fogo Infinito during quarantine, which substantially changed the story. Instead, I saw myself cutting and writing a movie that reflected the impact of loneliness and toyed with the idea of ownership, ultimately thinking about the questions: are humans only humans when we are in a community? Do we lose ownership of ourselves when we are isolated? 

*How has your style evolved? 
At first, I just wanted to adapt a poem I had written while following the motto of Cinema Novo (“a camera in the hand, an idea in the head”), but I ended up trying to bring some style references from Agnes Varda’s work in Cleo from 5 to 7, since Fogo Infinito deals strongly with mortality; and I also believe my film evokes a bit of Andrea Arnold’s style when it comes to the way she portrays the human-nature connection. 

*Tell us any strange or funny stories while making the film? 
It was my brilliant idea to shoot the final scene at this VERY COLD beach in California (and being from Brazil I’m used to the warm Atlantic sea and I often forget that American beaches are ridiculously cold). In the scene, I had to fake drown as the tide carried me, but the water was so cold that I kept shaking involuntarily when I was supposed to be “dead”. So apparently we freaked out the few people that were at the beach who would stare at me and not understand (what is this floating thing? is it dead? WHY is it shaking?) because they couldn’t see the camera. We also got kicked out of the garden where we shot the third scene by a cop, we told him “but every filmmaker trasspasses here, it’s a California tradition”,to which he just agreed and let us go. 

*The Misrule Film Movement & Pink8 manifesto bring what to mind? 
Freedom. As an actor-director with no money who just went around with one friend and a camera and shot Fogo Infinito on the spot, going against everything I’m taught at USC, Pink8 manifesto reinforces my freedom as a filmmaker. As I “wrote” and put together the movie in my laptop, I embraced the lack of plot and the nature of street filmmaking. The Misrule Film Movement encourages me to continue making unconventional films and to not obey the restraining rules of Hollywood filmmaking, which, in my opinion, often hurt films and put them in a box. 

*What can we expect from your next film? 
My next film is a crazy censorial trip that reflects the effect that PTSD can have on someone’s life. We made it with a very limited budget but a lot of heart and I’m excited for the world to see it, specially because it’s directly inspired by what I learned after being temporarily disabled after getting hit by a car.