We interviewed Director Luiso Berdejo about his romantic drama, “VIOLET,” that screened at the 21st San Diego Latino Film Festival and returns for a week run at the Digital Gym Cinema on December 19-27. Luiso shares his experiences and inspirations below:
1. What was the main source of inspiration for VIOLET?
It is always hard for me to point at one specific source of inspiration. I believe that every piece of work that we create is influenced by anything that happens to us daily. VIOLET is the result of spirituality + happiness + life + dreams…
2. The color “violet” presents itself most vividly in the scene on the Santa Monica Pier. Did the inception of this scene motivate the film’s title?
We had the title VIOLET even before we had the story. It is true that the idea came from the violet skies that we witness very often in Santa Monica, but the title itself came mainly from the fact that it is the most spiritual color.
3. Narration is featured prominently in VIOLET. Can you speak about the power of narration in cinema? The first voice the audience identifies with is the narrator’s since the film opens on black. What was the intention behind this?
I have used a narrator before in three of my four short-films, and I almost did it in my first feature film as well. From my perspective, a narrator usually adds a more personal layer to a story, plus letting you imagine segments of the plot rather than giving you the whole thing already chewed-up with images. Somehow it turns you into a more active viewer. In our case, to increase the closeness with the story, we even decided to have a narrator who speaks directly to you.
4. Alex, the protagonist, is captivated by a Polaroid he finds at a flea market. Transitions in the film are marked by the auditory cue of a camera’s shutter. What is your relationship with still photography?
Pictures are tiny gates to imaginary worlds. I could watch them for hours, lost in the infinite possibilities and uncertainty that they suggest. This is what Alex feels about that particular Polaroid and this is what we tried to present with our film as well.
5. What message do you hope VIOLET conveys to viewers?
I find that a bit pretentious as a creator. 🙂 We’ve just told a story here. I hope the viewers will feel that they have invested an hour and a half of their lives properly, that would be enough for me.
6. What are the challenges that present themselves when you are both the director and the screenwriter of a film? Do you enjoy one process more than the other?
They say that there are three movies on each one: the one you write, the one you film and the one you edit. Well, in VIOLET I have done the three of them and although a very challenging process it’s been a helluva ride. I couldn’t pick one process over the others. I love mom and dad the same.
7. What is the best piece of advice you have received from another filmmaker? What personal advice would you give an aspiring filmmaker based on your own experiences?
Shoot always a faster take. Once you have what you need, shoot the same action again but do it faster. It turns out that most of the times you end up editing the faster take, and regretting you didn’t shoot more of them that way. This is a very useful advice before going to shoot a story. What I could tell to any potential filmmaker is “go home and write, dammit!” It’s the cheapest and fastest way to move forward into telling stories; and even if your material is not right it’ll help you to connect with yourself and with the things you want to talk about. Afterwards you can always hire a writer to shape your stuff, or even throw it away and pick somebody else’s brilliant work to film, but by writing or trying to do it yourself at least you will know from the bottom of your heart what do you want to talk about.
8. Can you tell us about future projects you’re working on?
I am writing a lot. And I am trying to finance a genre film that I would love to shoot. I live in between spirituality and a good scare.
9. Lastly, what are the 5 films that have shaped you as a filmmaker?
Wow. That a question… I don’t think there’s any specific film I could mention here; it’s been more of a vibe, and I’ve got this vibe from movies as much as from comic-books, books, paintings, life-experiences…
The Digital Gym Cinema is located at 2921 El Cajon. Blvd., San Diego, CA 92104. For more information, showtimes and movie tickets visit www.digitalgym.org.