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The more energy you put into it, the more energy the Universe will give you from it.
Elsewhere (A Flor Azul)
Date: March 2018
Writer/Director: Guilherme Pedra
Producer: Guilherme Pedra
Cinematographer: Xuezi Zhang
indieactivity : What is your film about?
Guilherme Pedra : “Elsewhere (A Flor Azul)”, my first short film, follows the story of a young Brazilian artist named Luna, as she copes with the pain of her brother’s passing. When they share a final intimate moment by the sea, Antonio gives Luna his book of poetry, titled “Epitaph”. As in a premonition, he starts reciting the first poem, “A Flor Azul” (in English, “The Blue Flower”) and Luna takes it in. When she finds herself alone in her studio, she finds a way to turn her grief into art and hence eternalize the memory of her brother and their love. The film was born from a very personal, deep place. It originated from the loneliness I was facing living in New York while deeply missing my home country, Brazil, and particularly my younger sister. In Portuguese, when we miss a place, something or someone, we say we feel “saudade”—and that’s precisely the word that originated the whole concept for the film.
indieactivity : Tell us about the festival run, marketing and sales?
Guilherme Pedra : The film has been selected and exhibited at some festivals around the world, including, but not limited to, Cannes Court Métrage (Short Film Corner 2018), The 2018 American Student Film Festival (where the film was awarded Best Short, Best Actress and Best Director), and the 2019 Brazil International Film Festival (where it was awarded the Special Jury Prize).
indieactivity : Dramatic Feature?
Director: Guilherme Pedra
Producers: Guilherme Pedra
Cinematographer: Xuezi Zhang
Financing: Crowdfunding (indiegogo)
Production: 2 days
Shooting Format: Digital, 2048x1080p
Awards: Award of Merit (Best Shorts Competition), Best Short, Best Actress, Best Director (American Student Film Festival), Special Jury Award (Brazil International Film Festival)
indieactivity : Give the full Official Synopsis for your film?
Guilherme Pedra : Logline- Luna, a young Brazilian artist, copes with her brother’s passing through painting and self-expression.
Synopsis: Two artistic siblings, Antonio and Luna, share a final intimate moment by the sea. He gives Luna his book of poetry, titled “Epitaph” and as in a premonition, he starts reciting the first poem, “A Flor Azul” (in English, “The Blue Flower”) and Luna takes it in. Later, finding herself alone in her studio, Luna answers a calling, and finds a way to turn her grief and pain into art, hence eternalizing the love for her brother. The film is a study of Luna’s subjectivity under the shadow of death, and it is, above all, a reminder of the power that art and the creative gesture have to connect us, transcend us and transport us to elsewhere.
indieactivity : Development & Financing?
Guilherme Pedra : The film was made in a production class at NYU and was born from a very personal place. I wanted to write a story about the power of art and how it can be used as a healing tool, particularly painting. I also wanted to tell a story about siblings, since it was never really something I had seen and it was a period in my life when I was deeply missing my younger sister, who lives in Brazil, and my country as a whole.
The script took some time to take form and I knew I wanted it to be like a poem—and feature one. It was only later in the process that I found the right words that Antonio ultimately writes in the film. They came from a poem I stumbled upon one day, which a very close friend of mine, Cadu, had written in our shared little book. It was titled “A Flor Azul” (The Blue Flower)—and that was when I knew I had something strong. I altered some of the words and lines of the poem, changed some verses and their order, and evidently adapted it to the context of the film—but its DNA is still my friend’s writing.
My feelings of missing home, summed with my fears of losing my loved ones in life, were transformed and translated in the story as Antonio’s death. Then it became about Luna’s overcoming of it, somehow, through painting. After feeling like the script was ready, I started a crowdfunding campaign on Indiegogo to raise money for production. We were going to shoot at Rockaway Beach, so we needed money for food, transportation and extra equipment. Although I didn’t reach the total goal, the money I got was enough to cover all of the production expenses.
indieactivity : Production?
Guilherme Pedra : The script was completed in the beginning of October and principal photography was scheduled for mid-November. I launched the fundraising campaign as soon as I had a final version of the script and kept working on pre-production (securing the location for Luna’s studio, for example). It was a very stressful process, especially considering it was my first time creating something bigger than anything I had done before. Because of the money we raised, we were able to shoot the film at the beach and rent a studio for a full day, to shoot Luna’s interior scenes.
Filming took place during two days: A Sunday at Rockaway, and a Monday at the Artist Co-op studio on W 52nd St. The first cut of the film was completely by mid-December and it was refined in February. We did ADR for Antonio’s poem and color correction after the picture-lock. I knew I wanted the film to be a big musical piece, so it was very important to develop a good score. I worked closely with a composer, Ching-Shan Chang, to create the right score for the film, which was deeply inspired by Brazilian composer Villa-Lobos. The film was finalized and sent to Cannes on the very last day of February.
indieactivity : Festival Preparation & Strategy?
Guilherme Pedra : To be honest, I didn’t have a big strategy for the festival run. I was mostly thinking about finalizing the film and therefore being able to express myself. But after getting into the Short Film Corner, and realizing the film had some potential, I decided to use film freeway and submit it to some festivals around the world (many, of course, in Brazil—since the film is in Portuguese and has “Brazilian blood”).
indieactivity : Advice from the Filmmaker?
Guilherme Pedra : Making this film taught me to listen to and believe in my inner voice and once again proved that expressing myself is primordial. So hold on to your feelings, your beliefs, and your vision and never compromise your creativity when creating a film. It should be unapologetically you.
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