You are born in Vila Franca de Xira. What was that like and do you feel your childhood there as formative for your projects as director?
Yes, I guess it was formative in every aspect, not just as a director but in all of my work. It’s very different when you go to the capital to study. You start absorbing all the energy of Lisboa and feel the contrast with your hometown. You get different experiences, meet different people, different ambitions, dreams, and so on. With that said, I wouldn’t change growing up in Vila Franca for anything.
When you started writing and shooting, were particular stories you wanted to tell, a particular angle that you fell was missing?
I really don’t know if they were angles that were missing or a particular story. For me it’s more of a matter of feeling uneasy, of necessity, an urge to expressing something. To meet someone and with them build a film together. It’s very intuitive rather than rational, it’s related with emotions, with believing in someone, in their presence, in their story.
In what ways the pandemic affected your schedule, shooting process, plans? Also, do you feel that there’s anything good that came out of the situation, like for example people revisiting or discovering more movies?
I was going to shoot two films for other directors and they were postponed… a lot of work was cancelled. I’m working mostly from home, writing. I think this should be a time for people to reflect about what they watch, what they consume and hopefully people will start to value the place of cinema - of culture in a whole, actually – in our society. Especially in Portugal, where people don’t care about that and think it’s a waste… maybe now they can think differently.
How do you feel about so much of the cinema content now being moved to the online?
I think we should fight for the collective experience of cinema, of being in a large room with projection and sound proper for the event, and be willing to see a film in the conditions it was made for. To immerse and live that, without intermissions and interferences. It still is very different form watching a film at home, and we want to continuing making films for the big screen.
Tell us more about how the contemporary Portuguese cinema looks like. Do you feel part of a scene where young directors are having the spotlight or it doesn’t feel this way? Is there also a relationship between older and younger directors in the country?
It's difficult to talk about it, because everyone has a different voice and it’s not really possible to simplify it as an artistic wave. But I guess young people are arising with fresh ideas and a very strong will to make films. Of course the older generation still has a strong power, especially when it comes to financing. It’s very hard for someone new to be able to get a grant, but a lot of people do it on their own. I think it’s that strength, that determination that is present in contemporary Portuguese cinema which originates films that are very distinct from each other.