Interview with the Brazilian Film Collective “we are magnolias” (The Grenade)

“we are magnolias” made an amazing short film called “The Grenade”  that was shown at the December 2016 FEMALE Feedback Film Festival. It was awarded “Best Music” at the festival.

Before I interviewed them, they wanted to introduce themselves:

We are an artistic collective from Brazil, formed by three women: Barbara, Nat and Valentina. We all met working at the same production company, and created We are Magnolias, seeking to express ourselves in our most genuine way. Since, 2013, when we made our first short film “Desamores” we kept together making different kind of movies and telling particularly stories that represents ways inside us in that period. We usually write, direct and produce our films and we are absolutely passionate about what we do, always looking forward to what new adventure is coming ahead.

 Matthew Toffolo: What motivated you to make this film?

we are magnolias: Since the beginning of our collective we had done basically sensitive films, with a very female and delicate perspective. So when this picture came up in our minds, we knew it was time for us to express ourselves in a more aggressive and visceral way. Not only because we wanted to take this new step in our carrier and style, but also because we were portraying a generation that it’s personality went smoothly along with this concept. We wanted to explore a darker atmosphere, puzzle characters and an explosive love in midst to the chaos of this eruption generation. Because we didn’t want to be only that, we wanted to show that even in all this chaos and drama of a teenager life, you can always find a poetic beauty in it, it’s all about the point of view. From that thought, we start developing the script and decide that it would be better to make it in two different perspectives, of the same thing happening: the cosmic and rough feeling of being in love. The Grenade was important to us because it showed ourselves that we could dive into our artistic vein and create this universe of sensations and reflections.

MT: From the idea to the finished product, how long did it take for you to make this film?

wam: Because we had a low budget, we took almost a year, from the first small talk to the screening in Brazil. Nine months to be exact, from December 2015 to August 2016. And we had to create and develop The Grenade while making other projects, all at the same time. Therefore we extend the deadline two times. It was 9 months of a lot of work, engagement and a lot of love for our amazing crew. We found in this project beautiful minds and talents that helped us bringing this story to life. Definitely all worth.

MT: How would you describe your short film in two words!?

wam: Chaotic beauty.

MT: What was the biggest obstacle you faced in completing this film?

wam: Definitely the budget. Because as we said before, the idea of making this short film was ours, so it was born as an independent piece. We made the most of what we had, like shooting almost the hole film at one location: a very huge, plural and poetic shed, working with a really small crew. Natural lights in most of the scenes, and also working with two sets of camera at the same time, during our tree shooting days. We also had weather problems at the shooting days, a strong storm affected not only our abandoned location but also our entire city. Unfortunately, the biggest lost we had to face, was a particulary scenario, because the rain damaged all of the props and the area. But certainly this chaos helped us inserting our characters in this obscure universe and made all the experience so unique to us.

MT: What were your initial reactions when watching the Toronto audience talking about your film in the feedback video?

wam: It was amazing. We really appreciate being able to listen to all the comments, even being more than 5 Thousand miles apart. It was also very constructive and beautiful hearing people from another continent, another background and culture, telling how they felt the picture. We always love to hear all kinds of critics, in order for us to keep evolving and moving ahead. We also liked to see that there was women and men at the audience, the two genders supporting women’s films and stories, because it should all be about equality and admiration from both parts. Thanks for sharing that with us Feedback, we will always keep this sensations in our thoughts.

Watch the Audience FEEDBACK of the Short Film:

MT: How did you come up with the idea for this short film?

wam: This picture had a really odd and particularly beginning. A couple of friends that own an art magazine and a fashion brand wanted to make a fashion editorial about this new generation of teenagers that they’re targeting on. So we got back to them saying: Ok, sure! Sounds amazing, but we want to make this bigger. We suggested to make a short film too. Once in a blue moon we have this kind of project on our hands. So we convinced them to make the picture, grabbing the opportunity and then putting our minds and souls to create this narrative and portray a little bit of this new, visceral and eruption generation. To show the beauty in the chaos of their thoughts.

MT: What film have you seen the most in your life?

wam: Well, we are three, so we should respond it by person, right? So it would be: Barbara: Memento, Cristopher Nolan and Pulp Fiction, Quentin Tarantino very hard to say just one. Nat: Delicatessen, Jean-Pierre Jeunet/Marc Caro and Boogie Nights, PTA. and Valentina: La male educación (Bad education), by Pedro Almodóvar. It maybe not the one that I’ve seen the most, but It’s definitely one of the most special to me.

the_grenade_5.jpg

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Interviewer Matthew Toffolo is currently the CEO of the WILDsound FEEDBACK Film & Writing Festival. The festival that showcases 20-50 screenplay and story readings performed by professional actors every month. And the FEEDBACK Monthly Festival held in downtown Toronto, and Los Angeles at least 2 times a month. Go to www.wildsound.ca for more information and to submit your work to the festival.

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