Interview with directorAlex Reis

  • Was there a particular event or time that you recognized that filmmaking is your way of telling stories?

Yes, at the school. I had some group projects and always proposed to make movies. At this time I could practice documentary and narrative shorts without fear. It was pretty cool!

  • Do you think it is essential to go to a film institute in order to become a successful filmmaker?

No. Kubrick’s movies are here to prove it. You need to study hard, truly fall in love with cinema, have action and be in places that improve your networking (Film Festivals in first order). Of course that I recommend you to go to a film institute, all the way  its gonna be more clear after graduate and your gonna be a bit prepare for industry, but you can do it by yourself to nowadays. Just do it.

  • Is it harder to get started or to keep going? What was the particular thing that you had to conquer to do either?

Hmm … In Brazil, definitely keep producing. We don’t have so much support for culture in general. The few incentive laws we have are being quietly vetoed or censored. We will not be silent. They attack with censorship, we fight back with art.

  • What was the most important lesson you had to learn that has had a positive effect on your film? How did that lesson happen?

Listen your team. In independent productions, its natural the director want more than the team can handle. So it’s important you don’t be an idiot and pass throw your team. I think the most remarkable moment was in a conversation with the art director at the end of the second day. The art team had so much work to do at this movie. It was pretty hard to make it happen in a few time. Now imagine the director questioning the art director about THE prop, which was hugely important for the conclusion of the film, and they just forgot. What should I do? I could just said “Get it fixed!!”. I knew it was possible but it would cause a huge dis comfortable for her and her team, it would reflect in the rest of the diaries and as consequence in the whole movie. The solution; I remembered that we would shot Papa-Figo putting the soap in the store. Well, simple it’s better. Art safe, the shot was just what we need. Happy Crew!

  • What were the production realities from casting through editing that you had to accommodate? How did you navigate those compromises or surprises and still end up with a cohesive film?

I was running out time in all the process. Papa-Figo is my final graduation work so we had no time to lose. The movie just happen because of the great team that I had the lucky to work with. So every production trouble that we had, everyone figured out very quickly. That was amazing.

  • What was the hardest artistic choice you made in the making of a film, at any stage in production?

The make up of Papa-Figo (Herbert Richers Jr)!! We build a history for the character based at this Brazilian horror tale. In the history he has lupus. We have in mind that he had this condition and had more than 200 years old. I had a hard time deciding how destroyed it would be. It was a long long journey  to make the decision.

  • You are a collaborator. How have you discovered members of your team and how do you keep the relationship with them strong?

I just met them thanks to the Ocio Creative Label team. They gave me a chance to work in a featured movie for the first time ever without any professional experience. I’ve learned a lot in this movie and could met this awesome team that I have the pleasure of call friends. They are constantly working in new projects but when we have time to see each other we meet in a bar!

  • What do audiences want? And is it the filmmaker’s role to worry about that?

Feel something different or similar to your personal taste. Absolutely! The audience makers the movie, not us! They need to feel connected with the movie and to this happen you have to know what it’s gonna be the cliff in your movie that your audience will be hanged until the end.

  • What role have film festivals played in your life so far? Why are they necessary? How do you get the most out of them?

They just changed my life for good. I could met many professionals from Russia, Colombia, India, USA, Mexico, Uruguay and other countries and have a really great talk.  The festivals are essentials for visibility for the new/old filmmakers and networking. If it’s possible, attend the festivals. It’s always a great surprise and gift for everyone. Your always get some lesson from each festival and awesome contacts.

  • Do you believe that a filmmaker should be original and fresh or he/she should stick to classic but safe cinema style?

I believe that a filmmaker should be honest with your cinema. If you’re been honest with your art, that will be reflected in your movie and the audience will enjoy. Fresh or Classic, be yourself.