Cinema Should Have No Boundaries

Nuno Sá Pessoa, film director at Skookum Films, is a true global visual storyteller. Educated in Denmark, based in Portugal, and working extensively in Brazil and the United States, Sá Pessoa knows firsthand what it means to collaborate internationally.

Nuno Sa Pessoa
Nuno Sá Pessoa

“Cinema, as any other art,” says Sá Pessoa, “should have no boundaries. It’s a global language and the more you know of the world and its people, the easier it is for you as an artist to express what you want in a way that can reach each and every kind of person.”

Are there common visual storytelling elements that span various countries and cultures? “I was born in Portugal, studied in Denmark, and have lived and worked in Brazil and the USA. All four countries,” says Sá Pessoa, “are as different as their cinema, and all four have consciously or subconsciously influenced me in every aspect of who I am. But considering that the USA is the biggest melting pot of the world and the biggest ‘exporter’ of cinema, I would say in a very general way, that it’s the one I can relate to the most, because that’s my aim as a filmmaker, reaching the world.”

After beginning film school in Portugal, Sá Pessoa transitioned to Denmark’s The European Film College. “Art and culture are intrinsically connected,” says Sá Pessoa, “and at The European Film College they meet as in no other place. Teachers and students come from all four corners of the world, united by their passion for cinema and with an urge to create. It’s a highly practical course and I think that’s essential if you want to pursue a career as a filmmaker. Studying there definitely allowed me to both culturally and artistically broaden my horizons and it has set the stage for what I wanted for my future.”

filming Terra 2084
Filming “Terra 2084”

Sá Pessoa’s most challenging film project? “Terra 2084 was my biggest challenge so far. It’s a sci-fi short in which I tried to express my thoughts and feelings on the situation the world and Portugal in specific are going through right now by combining it with sci-fi and fantasy. For that reason it was artistically challenging.

“At another level it was economically challenging,” says Sá Pessoa, “since I wrote, directed, produced and edited it on a virtually nonexistent budget. But, as in other projects, the striving to make it is greater than the economic boundaries, and the effort was taken ahead by the whole cast and crew in order for the film to be completed.”

filming in Brazil
Filming in Brazil

“I can’t say I have a favorite film genre,” says Sá Pessoa. “It ranges from different genres which are in some way connected, such as horror, fantasy, thriller and sci-fi. Maybe the easiest way to sum it up is to say that one of my biggest influences is the original Twilight Zone series.” Twilight Zone, the (1959) – Complete Series

 

filming in Brazil
Filming in Brazil

“In a general way maybe I want my audiences to take away from my films what I took from The Twilight Zone: deep and relevant messages which are delivered to the audience in an unconventional way that makes us travel to a different dimension at one level and yet very similar to our own in its essence.”

See more here.

The Headless Nun – Official Teaser (HD) from Nuno Sá Pessoa on Vimeo.

Feeling Moved

Feeling moved this morning, thanks to two inspiring Facebook posts. Both came from Irish artists.

Sinead O'Riordan
Sinead O’Riordan

One post spoke of a theatre experience moving the writer so deeply she found a way to leave her software engineering job and make a life for herself in the theatre. Sinead O’Riordan – interviewed here in 2014 – is now acting as well as producing both theatre and film. Says O’Riordan: “I needed to create and tell stories that affected people positively and endeavour to have people walk away from my work, feeling moved. I at least had to try.” What initially moved O’Riordan to make her move was seeing a 2002 production of Miss Saigon.

Caroline Farrell
Caroline Farrell

The second post, from Caroline Farrell – also interviewed here – featured a poem she wrote years ago on forgiveness. Farrell’s motivation: “Not many of us can walk through life without heartache, or the lingering weight of it, so, I’m putting ‘The Memory Wandering’ out there, as a gift to anyone, whom in any way, might find it helpful.” Farrell’s poem will be featured at the closing of the French premiere of her film In Ribbons at the 2015 Cannes Art Film Festival.

 

As we take our first creative steps in 2015, we can find inspiration in the lives of two creatives who take giant steps to move the world around them. They need to create and tell stories. So do we.