Tea time with Estilhaços (Fragments)

Meeting with...

Interview with José Miguel Ribeiro, director of Estilhaços (Fragments)


la mouche cf Can you tell us about your animation style? What got you into this field?
I don’t know if I have a animation style, what I can tell you is that in each film I try to explore new graphic styles, techniques, and ways of telling a story. Until now, each project was born from a personal experience that is developed with other authors I invite, but the new one, I’m working in, will be the first based in a pre-existed story, created by two writers. Animation is a large field where we can find painting, photo, literature, sculpture, cinema, music and make them interact one to each other. Is a large field to explore the freedom of creation. My studies started with drawing and painting in the Lisbon art school ESBAL, and from the beginning I was interested in drawing from reality around me with a journal that I took with me everywhere. Animation extended my journals to film projects.

la mouche cf Can you tell us a bit more about the war at the heart of the story and why you chose to tackle it?
The war I show in my film started in 1961 with a legitimacy desire of the African peoples for the independence that was denied by the Portuguese fascist regime. The consequences of this conflict with 13 years is present nowadays in Portuguese society. The body of the Portuguese and African soldiers were the container of this war. So in 1974, when the colonial war finished, the 900 000 soldiers returned to Portugal and brought that war to their families and close friends. It was almost 10% of our population and of course it influenced the future. My father was one of them and once again, the story of this film is based in a personal experience. Before the Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder War had a name, who was achieved in 1992 after a long period of studies with the Vietnam Veterans, in Portugal a huge number of families were trying to deal with a problem that nobody knew what it was. And still today the Portuguese government don’t recognize the soldiers with PTSD as Deficient Army Status, who difficult the support to these persons and their families.

la mouche cf [Spoiler alert] What motivated you to include live action elements?
The film explore different stages of reality based in human memory. I tried to find and use the physics origin of an image (Drawing animation, stop-motion and live action) as part of the different perceptions we kept from reality. The Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is a disease that influence our connection with reality and has the power to explode anywhere with anything sometimes with just a single sound.
The questions are:

  • What is more real to a person with PTSD?
  • Can the PTSD goes from father to son?

For the first question I don’t know the answer, but for the second I found the answer in The masters of Susana Martinho de Oliveira “War Traumas: Secondary Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) in colonial war veterans’ adult offspring”. Yes, the PTSD goes from father to mother and then from mother to son.

la mouche cf Do you have any projects in the future that you can share with us?
I’m working in my first feature named Nayola. A story written by Virgilio Almeida based in the play Caixa Preta from the Angolan José Eduardo Agualusa and the Mozambican Mia Couto writers. Again, I will work the war and how a family (3 generations of women) can survive in the middle of one of the biggest conflicts in Africa – The Angolan civil war that took place from 1975 to 2002. It is a story of an orphan girl that reinvents her mother as a heroin on the sheets of a journal, where memories and masks, utopias and cruelties, reality and magic emerge, mesh together and fall apart. A suspended love, a fearless quest on a military landscape, a lacerating regret, an initiatory journey. In the end, a tragic reunion during peacetime, in a country undergoing a true metamorphosis, pregnant with hope.

la mouche cf If you’ve already been to the Clermont-Ferrand, could you share with us an anecdote or story from the festival?
Few years ago, I presented a project with the scriptwriter and friend Virgilio de Almeida. The project was Christmas Wrapping Paper a story for children about sustainability in Christmas time that take place in a parallel world were everything is made of paper. Virgilio had the great idea to use a paper bag in the pitching illustrate the moment Dodu (the cardboard boy) make a balloon to voyage. The problem was that the pitching starting in 1 hour and the paper magazines were closed. So we finally tasted a lot of different sweet cookies and met all the bakeries in Clermont downtown until we find the perfect paper bag.

la mouche cf Are any other releases scheduled?
ANIMA, Bruxelas Festival Internacional de Animação (Belgium)
Stuttgart Trickfilm International Animated Film Festival (Germany)
FICCI Festival Internacional de Cartagena de Indias (Colombia)


Click here to find more detailed information about the making of process of the film Estilhaços



Estilhaços is being shown in International Competition I8.

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