Manolo and his donkey Gorrión go on a journey to the West.
Interview with Writer/Director Chico Pereira
Congratulations! Why did you make your film?
We are three cousins that wanted to reconnect with Manolo, our uncle, a person who has been very important in our lives. Manolo used to take us to the countryside for adventures, and filled our heads with so many amazing dreams and stories. But due to life circumstances we lost contact with him when we were still kids, more than 25 years ago. In a sense, we have become filmmakers because of his stories, and we thought that the adventure of making a film with him was a great way to come back together.
Imagine I’m a member of the audience. Why should I watch this film?
Manolo has a very inspiring relationship with animals, with walking, and with Nature. His friendship with his donkey Gorrión (“Sparrow”) is really special and full of nice and tender moments. If you like donkeys, long walks, American hats, crazy plans, sleeping under the stars, Samsung Galaxies and/or (edible) grass, you might like this film...
How do personal and universal themes work in your film?
I’m from a rural region in Southern Spain and always like to film where I’m from. From the outset it seems that we are doing something very concrete, just focusing on a small geographical area and its people. But sometimes, if you go deep into people’s realities you find out those elements that connect with us all. I think it is easy to overlook the small stories around us and try to find the universal in the notion of what is supposed to be the “important” stuff.
How have the script and film evolved over the course of their development?
Documentary making is an unpredictable journey itself. The expressive moments found along the way are more important for me than preconceived ideas about where the film should go. In this regard, I like to be open to the process and to collaboration with the participants in order to find out what the film is really about. For instance in Donkeyote there is a clear sense of Manolo wanting to go somewhere. However, after so many years without sharing time with him, we found out that this film was not so much about going, but rather about coming back, in particular coming back to Manolo and his world.
What type of feedback have you received so far?
Audiences connect with the film in a very poignant way. Many people mention how Manolo’s lifestyle has made them remember the things that they used to do and enjoyed so much, but that they don’t do anymore, perhaps because life has become rather fast-paced. Some people say that after watching the film, they feel like saying hello to everybody…
Has the feedback surprised or challenged your point of view?
One happy surprise has been to find out how this film did not only serve to reconnect us with our uncle Manolo, but also to reconnect the audience with a particular relation with Nature and animals.
What are you looking to achieve by having your film more visible on www.wearemovingstories.com?
Our aim is to reach as much people as possible with this film and hopefully find distribution for it. Donkeyote is a “moving story” in several ways.
Who do you need to come on board (producers, sales agents, buyers, distributors, film festival directors, journalists) to amplify this film’s message?
We are waving at distributors, buyers, festivals and press to come on board. But for a long time during the process what we really wanted was the donkey Gorrión to come on board of a boat in order to fulfill Manolo’s dream to do a long walk in USA...
What type of impact and/or reception would you like this film to have?
First, I like that audiences are responding to the film with the same warmth and love that we put into the making of it. Donkeyote is a simple story that touches a wide audience. Since the animal world is so present in the film we are collaborating with animal welfare associations since there are important synergies between their philosophy and this film. But I also think that Donkeyote shows an interesting take on documentary by using performance and humor, two elements that are not usually identified with the documentary genre.
What’s a key question that will help spark a debate or begin a conversation about this film?
Manolo is an inspiring character and usually the first question is about how do we know Manolo. The story of reconnection behind Donkeyote helps to understand better the formal and aesthetic approach of the film, as well as Manolo’s relationship with animals and Nature.
Would you like to add anything else?
Yes, I would like to thank everyone that helped to make this film and all the people that are supporting it along the way.
What are the key creative developing or working on now?
For me documentary is primarily a particular set of social and creative practices between filmmakers and participants, and subsequently something that we see on a screen. I believe more in documentary practices and processes than in documentary film itself. In this direction, we are starting a project centered on the creation of a community radio in the village. We want to explore how engaging in creative practices, which are full of up and down moments and are far from idyllic, can put in motion new dynamics and connections in these more rural areas. Collaborative projects as community radio are also a good ground to foster dialogue, conversation, and hopefully, tolerance.
Interview: April 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
Manolo and his donkey Gorrión go on a journey to the West.
Length: 85 mins
Director: Chico Pereira
Producers: Ingmar Trost & Sonja Henrici
Writers: Chico Pereira, Manuel Pereira, Gabriel Molera
About the writer, director and producer:
WRITER/ DIRECTOR: After several award-winning short fiction films, Chico Pereira started combining fiction and documentary film techniques. His debut feature, PABLO’S WINTER won awards at DOK Leipzig, IDFA, Full Frame & opened 2013 MoMA Documentary Fortnight in NYC.
PRODUCER : Ingmar Trost is a member of the European Film Academy and an alumni of EAVE, Documentary Campus and EURODOC. Ingmar was Germany’s Producer on the Move at the Cannes Film Festival 2015.
PRODUCER: Sonja Henrici, co-founder SDI Productions (2007), producer: Seven Songs for a Long Life, I Am Breathing, Future My Love, exec producer Bridging the Gap series
Key CAST: Manuel Molera Aparicio, Gorrión, Zafrana, Paca Molera Pereira, Mamen Gómez Heredia
Looking for: buyers, distributors, festivals, press
Social media handles:
Twitter: #donkeyotefilm (no account)
Funders: Creative Scotland, Film-und Medienstiftung NRW, ZDF/ARTE.