new filmmaker Nuno Rocha and his D.o.P. Pedro Negrão (an interview)

Nuno Rocha“MOMENTOS”

Interview with Nuno Rocha

thenewfilmmaker: You are a Portugal-based filmmaker. What’s the story behind your short Momentos, is the plot based on a real story or even a personal story?
Nuno Rocha: No. The story was not based on real events, although there was a research focusing the homeless people and because the causes responsible for this conditions are numerous, this story was not intent to show the reasons of this matter, but simply the emotive side that makes people want to be with the love ones, and to focus on the most important thing, the family.
thenewfilmmaker: You wrote: “This is a short-film I wrote and directed for LG Portugal.” In case the film was also a personal film (or based on a real story), how was the work for you as a passionate filmmaker, considering shooting a commercial? What tasks and goals were set by the agency “full six Portugal” and the client?
Nuno Rocha: I was contacted by Rui Vieira, the creative director of FullSix Portugal, the agency that works with LG. Rui gave me total creative freedom to writte the script, respecting of course some main purposes regarding the slogan “Life’s Good”. For this “ad”, the product placement was the less important thing, in opposition to the story. LG and I didn’t want to have the brand right in the face of the viewer. This was supposed to be a short film, not a typical ad, and then get a new approach and connection with the consumers, the emotive side of the brand. I think it was very smart thing to do, a different way to reach people.
thenewfilmmaker: You are preparing your first feature film. Would you consider to shoot a full length feature under similar conditions? (One main sponsor/client, like in the the short Momentos)
Nuno Rocha: It’s an interesting question. I see the cinema as one of the biggest art forms, but there is good and bad art. There are really good movies with a 20k budget or less, and bad movies with a million budget and vice-versa, all depending how it’s done. Sponsoring features through big brands has is positive and negative side. If you have a lack of financial support for your project, most probably this is the only way to do it, and if the agreement is the product placement, sometimes it’s so obvious that can kill your movie, sometimes I don’t even notice it’s there. Most probably I would do it, only if I know that the product is not messing with the story, so it’s all depending of the agreement.
thenewfilmmaker: You graduated in Audiovisual Communication from the Polytechnic Institute of Porto in 2007. Can you describe this film school and how was your time there, can you recommend the Polytechnic Institute of Porto?
Nuno Rocha: I studied during a 5 year degree in the city of Porto and then I finished my studies in the University of Texas at Austin, U.S. The film school in Porto is very good, but like in every place in the world it’s necessary a huge dedication apart from the knowledge we get from classes. Research and practice can make a difference.
thenewfilmmaker: How to enter this film school/ studies? (Polytechnic Institute of Porto)
Nuno Rocha: The rules are always changing, I’m not sure at the moment what is necessary.
thenewfilmmaker: What advice would you give a young filmmaker, who would like to apply for this or in general a film school?
Nuno Rocha: My advice is, choose wisely the film school, work at least the double that teachers ask you to do it. And the most important thing, the school isn’t enough but indispensable.
Nuno Rocha“3×3”
the new filmmaker: In 2009 you received the grand prize “Zon Creativity in Multimedia for your short film 3×3. Can you describe the story behind the film, Sponsorships (maybe Sony?) and how the prize helped you in your career as a filmmaker?
Nuno Rocha: Winning this prize was a big step in my career as a filmmaker. After the award, the short film 3×3 preceded Slumdog millionaire in Portugal and became the most viewed short film in theatres. It’s a very simple story, between a janitor and a security guy with a curious and funny competition in a basketball court. It was not sponsored at all, I had to support all the production costs. Then I had some working proposals and I became a commercial director as well. Finally I started my own production company called FilmesDaMente, based in Porto (Portugal).
the new filmmaker: Who is your favourite director and what for do you love this filmmaker?
Nuno Rocha: I don’t have an all time favorite director, this year is this one, next year will be another one, but there are a lot of filmmakers that inspire me all the time. Right now, Christopher Nolan is that kind of director I’m always waiting to see his next film.
the new filmmaker:What is your dream, related to film making?
Nuno Rocha: My dream is to continue to make movies, shorts or features, ideas I’m working and want to share with the world.

Interview with the D.o.P. Pedro Negrão

Nuno Rocha“Making Of – Momentos”
the new filmmaker: What was your technical equipment? Camera, Lenses, Lighting.
Pedro Negrão: Our equipment was relatively modest. We had two camera units, each with a Canon 7D camera and Canon prime lenses. In what concerns to lighting we tried to take advantage from the location’s existing light, modifying it to fulfil the narrative needs with the support of kinos, china-balls and small led features.
the new filmmaker: Were there technical difficulties or a challenge shooting this film?
Pedro Negrão: The whole process was truly a challenge as we were working under very low light conditions. Fortunately, Nuno Rocha has very strong visual sense and knew from the beginning which look he wanted to achieve. That allowed us to take some risks throughout the shooting.
thenewfilmmaker: Did you use a special technique or made visual experiments?
Pedro Negrão: This was only my second experience working with Canon 7D and we knew we had to get the most out of the camera’s codec. Therefore we read about some camera profiles, ran some tests using them and saw how the camera signal behaved. We ended up customizing a Canon profile by ourselves.
the new filmmaker: How did you become a D.o.P.? Studies or learning by doing? How about future cooperations with Nuno Rocha and how long do you work together?
Pedro Negrão: I’m still working to build a career as a cinematographer, although there have been some great opportunities recently. I graduated in Audiovisual Communication at the Polytechnic Institute of Porto. This is a very wide range course, so you need to put a lot of effort in your own research if you want to stand out at a specific area. Regarding the collaborations with Nuno, they date back to the beginning of 2010, and are reflected in a spot and this short-film. I’m very grateful that he trusted on me to shoot both projects in such a short time. Currently there are no scheduled future collaborations. However, I look forward to work again with Nuno Rocha. It’s always a thrill to work with such a competent and creative team.
the new filmmaker: Who is your favourite cinematographer and what for do you love this cinematographer?
Pedro Negrão: I can’t pick one cinematographer, it just isn’t fair. Although, when I look at the roll of names that come into my head, there certainly are common characteristics. The one I value the most, is the ability to take risks to enhance the film’s final result.
the new filmmaker: What is your dream, related to film making?
Pedro Negrão: To keep collaborating with directors with real talent for storytelling.

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