Interview with Filmmaker Carolina Neves (ALVORADA)

ALVORADA was the winner of BEST FILM at the January 2021 LGBTQ+ Film Festival.

1. What motivated you to make this film?

My motivation came from my personal experience when I was photographing music events of the Metal genre for web magazines. Although I had a connection with this subculture during my teen years, the discrimination in this environment is loud and clear. There were times when radical homophobic speeches by some members culminated in severed ties with LGBTQ+ members of the same circle.

The film’s main objective is to denounce the intolerance imposed on certain social groups. The theme’s exposure seeks a reaction from the audience, in order to cultivate reflection and debate about discrimination which is still so real in today’s society. It’s intended that the audience, when confronted with this important issue, gains a new type of awareness and change in mentality.

2. From the idea to the finished product, how long did it take for you to make this short?

Alvorada’s concept was on my mind for a long time and I decided it should come to life as my master’s degree final project. It took approximately 9 months to complete, from writing the script to the last editing details, as the deadline was before the end of the school year.

3. How would you describe your short film in two words!?

Stand tall.

4. What was the biggest obstacle you faced in completing this film?

A film depends a lot on teamwork as interpersonal relationships and respect for others influence the quality of the film. The director’s role is decisive, to direct all team members to the idea that exists in their mind in order to transform it into a product. The fact that it is an academic project meant that, in an initial phase, the project was viewed less seriously than intended which was one of the greatest challenges I faced as a first-time filmmaker. Nevertheless, communicating the concept with maximum clarity and assertiveness guaranteed the needed credibility and gained the participants’ trust.

5. What were your initial reactions when watching the audience talking about your film in the feedback video?

I felt this wave of joy and understanding! The audience’s feedback was very professional and it’s amazing how they understood the film so well from just one session, it means that its’ message gets through. They also praised the concept, creativity and quality of the project which made us very happy for this recognition. And the music! We wrote and produced the Black Metal song ourselves, it’s great that it’s being talked about and leaves people curious about what’s gonna happen next.

Watch the Audience FEEDBACK Video:

6. How did you come up with the idea for this short film?

Our society’s full of stereotypes that encourage hatred. I wanted to work on these issues by demonstrating how worrying they still are today. Witnessing them happening in my own friend circle increased my curiosity to better understand all their dimensions and to carry out theoretical and scientific research that would allow a greater knowledge for a civic intervention through fiction.

The idea for the film was to have the opposite worlds of intolerance and social inclusion experienced by a single character. Intolerance would be evidenced by the character’s forced insertion in a hostile environment, while their nature would take them to a different environment of acceptance and inclusion. From the character’s experience, it was possible to convey a sense of their world and address the themes of intolerance and self-acceptance.

7. What film have you seen the most in your life?

Though question! I have watched “Donnie Darko” a lot as it feels like it was catered to my tastes in almost every aspect, from the 80’s post-punk soundtrack to the satiric religious representation through characters. The film’s mainly characterised by its brutal criticism of social conformism and the lack of critical spirit, the main moral lesson being the importance of critical analysis capability in the face of what life presents us, alerting to the dangers of social conformism that translates into a general anesthesia of most of its individuals towards the claim of their civic and humanistic duties. Donnie stands out for his unique way of being, whether one can interpret his personality as an anti-hero who saved the world or as a troubled boy in a strange situation.

8. You submitted to the festival via FilmFreeway, what are you feelings of the submission platform from a filmmaker’s perspective?

The platform presents endless options for film submissions. It can be a bit overwhelming at first but, knowing your film and with plenty of research, filmmakers can find good festival matches for their own pieces of work. It’s also good that you can keep track of your project’s submissions and updates in a single place.

9. What song have you listened to the most times in your life?

Maybe not “the most times in my life” but these past two months I’ve been constantly listening to “Say Less” by the band Nothing, it’s one of their heavier songs from the new album. It conveys a gloomy feeling of uncertainty and isolation, that I’m sure we can all relate to during these strange times, but also the need of silence when life feels chaotic. Definitely worth a listen!

10. What is next for you? A new film?

Yes, I’m already working on the script for the next one. I have it all outlined but the project’s in need of funding in order to have the best quality.

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