EDA Awards @ IDFA 2015 Filmmaker Interview: Mariana Viñoles on CAROLINA’S WORLD

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carolinas mariana vinCarolina’s World, one of ten films nominated for the AWFJ EDA Award for Best Female-Directed Documentary at IDFA 2015, provides the viewer with entry into the mental and physical environment of Caro, a 20 year old who has Down Syndrome and is living an extraordinary life. Filmmaker Mariana Viñoles’ portrait of Carolina is up close and personal, and entirely revealing. Discover what the filmmaker has to say about her experiences in making the film.

AWFJ: How and why did you encounter and commit to the subject/theme of your film and the main characters in it?

Mariana Viñoles: I was invited to film a group of Down Syndrome young people who were learning how to dance tango in 2011, and I was around them, intermittently, for two years. I met Carolina there. I was thinking deeply about the idea of making a film about this tango experience where Carolina would be the main character of the story. After two years of shooting I realized that I really needed to have a personal point of view for the film I was planning and, even though I had plenty of great images, I realized I need something else, something deeper. I thought that I should come to Carolina’s place (where I’ve already been before, but not for filming), and try to shoot with her. I decided I wanted to shoot in the place where she had received me every time I was there, around this table.

I filmed the first shot (the one my film started with…) and after three days of shooting I understood that was the film I really wanted to do: a long conversation between two women with different life stories trying to know each other. Nothing about tango lessons. I didn’t want to do another “disability” film… So that was my big decision.

AWFJ: What did you learn about the subject/theme from making the film?

MV: Meeting Carolina had changed my life. The sort of love I experimented by knowing her deeply it’s something very special for me. I became someone new. Even now, watching this film touches me deeply. I learnt a lot from Carolina, and this learning helped me to go through a very special moment in my personal life.


AWFJ: What did you learn about filmmaking from making the film?

MV: I’ve learned that the clearer the point of view you have from the start, the richer your film is gonna be.

AWFJ: What were your biggest challenges? Gaining trust? Filming conditions? Making a coherent story or creating impact through edited juxtapositions?

MV:: The biggest challenge of this film was to tell a story from a specific point of view, in a very static way, but where the audience wouldn’t be bored and where a real story cames from the depth of the observation. The big challenge of the editing was to be able to build all of the universe that was also an important part of the film.

AWFJ: Do you think that being female gave you a distinct perspective and/or way of handling the filmmaking process? If so, please let us know how. If not, please let us know your thoughts about this question.

MV: I think that we can find some men who have very sensitive way of being alive. But of course this belongs most of the time, to a female universe. Of course being a woman had give me a special way to approach the subject of my film, which is a big female story.

AWFJ: What are your plans for the future? Do you have specific career goals? A ten year plan? What sorts of “ideal world” opportunities would make it possible for you to succeed?

MV: I have another film on production, about a Syrien woman who left a Lebanon refugies camp pregnant and went to Uruguay (my country) with her family: two other kids and a husband, as part of an humanitarian mission. Trying to know her deeply is once again the challenge of my film. I feel very happy for whats happening in my career in this moment. Being selected at IDFA wit h such a special film as “Carolina’s world” is a nice gift for me and for the film for it’s next steps and visibility. I have two little kids which I deal with while doing this special profession. From the next four years I think, I’ve been working on my new film projet. I will succeed what I do if I can keep doing it without compromising my personal point of you, and if I also can be there as I am, for giving all my kids need to grow up free and doing my best for prepare them for this special world we live in.

IDFA’s Notes on Carolina’s World:: Carolina, the titular heroine, gets a fit of giggles at the start of the film – to the mild disapproval of her mother. It was because of the silence, explains Caro, one of those silences that sometimes fall in conversations when she has to come up with an answer to a question. Caro is 20 and she has Down syndrome. She met documentary director Mariana Viñoles five years ago, and now here they are making a film together at Caro’s mother’s kitchen table. The method is utterly transparent: the camera points constantly at Caro, exploring her face, her arms and her hands – as if, together, they formed a landscape. Viñoles asks questions and Caro responds. In addition to discussing her life, being in love and Pablo’s wonderfully long kisses, she talks about what it’s like to be making a film. All the time, life goes on as usual around them: a baby is slid into the frame; Caro gets a kiss from her mother; conversations carry on in the background. Caro visibly grows in stature before the eye of the camera – and actually becomes a little older and wiser. As the friendship deepens between the filmmaker and her subject, Viñoles explains that her contact with Caro also touches her deeply for another reason.

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