Animal and human creatures bring us into the uncanniness of existence.
Interview with Writer/Director/Producer Carolina Charry Quintero
Congratulations! Why did you make your film?
It became obvious to me that in our view of the world, at least in our western view of the world, there is a clear hierarchy in regards to humans and animals, where animals are thought of as inferior to humans. This is seen as "natural" and even "logical". For a long while I have wondered what would it be like, and what would it imply for us to regard animals as equals. I wanted to make a film that could position animals on the same level as humans. I sought to make work where animals were visually and morally not looked down upon, but instead regarded as equals. For me it was about suggesting and provoking a shift in the gaze towards animals, which inevitably also provokes a shift in the way we view ourselves as humans.
Imagine I’m a member of the audience. Why should I watch this film?
A film that can bring you into an experience of the uncanny, of beauty and strangeness, that can raise a conversation about what we expect from experimental films, and that can provoke thoughts you might have never had before, is a film you may want to watch.
How do personal and universal themes work in your film?
They are imbricated. The personal and the universal, as well as the fictional and non-fictional are entwined. The relation between human beings and anims is a universal theme par excellence. Some philosophers would say that the question about the animal is the fundamental question above all. That is precisely the reason I am drawn to it. Our concerns about animals are ultimately concerns about ourselves as a species. The question about the animal is a question about what defines animality, and therefore about what defines humanity.
In the film, in order to bring this question into a way that we can relate to it, not only as a philosophical, abstract question, but as something that can matter to us personally, I resort to fiction, or fictionalization. I bring in a human character, a mother, who is played by my own real mother, and she is the center of the film. This makes the whole film very personal to me, and it gives it a level of fiction and non-fiction that fascinates me. I think the film might be precisely my attempt to make this universal question a personal matter.
How have the script and film evolved over the course of their development and production?
I started out thinking of the film as a poem. It sprouted from a poem-script, a sequence of possible images. In the process, it acquired a life of its own. It also involved a lot of experimentation. I tried out different ways of putting the question about animality on screen. Even though several of such experiments did not make into the final film, they worked as research. For months, I worked with dancers and actors carrying out experiments blending dance and animal movements, or dancing with actual animals. I also worked with animal masks at some point, and also filmed a ritual called Monkey Chant for a while.
Parallel to this, I researched different theories and critical thought about animals, and our relation to them. Out of all the works I found, John Berger’s Why do we look at animals and Derrida’s The Animal That Therefore I Am were crucial texts that underlie and inform the issues that I explore in this film. So you start the film with a poetic impulse, then you go on a journey of experimentation and research. In the end, you try to find a way back to leave in what works best, what grabs most faithfully your initial impulse.
What type of feedback have you received so far?
I have been very glad to hear people say that they had never seen anything like it. It seems that its structure and connections are particular. It's creating a language of its own, which is what I look for.
I am very glad Slamdance appreciated its risk taking quality and is premiering it.
Has the feedback surprised or challenged your point of view?
It has made me realize that not every film is for everyone, nor necessarily should be. With BLUA, some may feel disoriented, and you have to accept that. However, when the connection with the audience is achieved it is really strong, so far.
What are you looking to achieve by having your film more visible on www.wearemovingstories.com?
A wider audience, a conversation.
Who do you need to come on board (producers, sales agents, buyers, distributors, film festival directors, journalists) to amplify this film’s message?
Distributors, festivals, galleries, art spaces.
What type of impact and/or reception would you like this film to have?
I hope the film provokes questions and new perspectives on the way we look at animals, and on how we think of ourselves as humans. The film hints at different ideas in this direction. However, it only suggests. In fact, because of it’s montage and its cinematic language, it actually asks for the viewers to make their own connections and to think for themselves. I would never want a film that thinks for the viewer, and tells people what they should think.
What’s a key question that will help spark a debate or begin a conversation about this film?
What do we think we know about animals?
Would you like to add anything else?
I collaborated with very talented people. Norbert Shieh as DP of the staged scenes, Sophia Stoller as choreographer dancer, Chuja Seo as actress and of course my mother, who is a doctor but acted.
What are the key creatives developing or working on now?
I am working on the first film to be filmed with my hip. A portrait of the relationship of dance, bodies, heat and space in my hometown Cali. Yes, I am currently looking for funding.
Interview: January 2017
We Are Moving Stories embraces new voices in drama, documentary, animation, TV, web series and music video. If you have just made a film - we'd love to hear from you. Or if you know a filmmaker - can you recommend us? More info: Carmela
Animal and human creatures bring us into the uncanniness of existence.
Length: 21 min 44 sec
Director: Carolina Charry Quintero
Producer: Carolina Charry Quintero
Writer: Carolina Charry Quintero
About the writer, director and producer:
CAROLINA CHARRY QUINTERO is an artist from Cali, Colombia who works with image, installation, dance and sound. She holds an MFA in Film and Video from the California Institute of the Arts, and a BA in Philosophy from Universidad del Valle in Cali. Her work is concerned with the experience of the unmeasurable, and the idea of the limit of comprehension. She is interested in the human-animal border as a place of thought, and as a place from which to revise the grand definitions of what is human, as well as the ethical, political and epistemological issues that are born at this border. Her work has been screened at Lugar a dudas as part of Cali's International Film Festival and at REDCAT in Los Angeles. In 2014 she was selected for the Michelle Lund Calarts/Earthfire Institute Residency and in 2015, she was awarded the Jack Oakie Foundation Grant. She lives in Cali, Colombia.
Key cast: Margarita Luisa Quintero, Rafa Rojas, José Adam Arriola, Chuja Seo, Sophia Stoller
Looking for (producers, sales agents, buyers, distributors, film festival directors, journalists): distributors, buyers, producers.