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Depict ’17 Winner Alejandra M. Perrusquía talks about her film Vudú and the magic of Depict

We’re getting excited here at Depict HQ as there are only one week left until this year’s submission deadline (Mon 2 July – but you knew that already, right?).

Depict is Watershed’s free competition for tiny films and each year we’re inundated with fantastic entries from around the world, all 90 seconds long or less. Submissions span every genre and style of filmmaking and come from people at all levels in their careers (or hobbies) and from all over the world. We remain immensely proud of the filmmakers who have entered and found their way onto every year’s shortlist, and subsequently go on to do amazing things – we also love staying in touch with them and finding out what they’re getting up to now.

Mexican director Alejandra M. Perrusquía won the Main Depict Award last year with her stylish, 1970’s-set World Cup comedy Vudú. All we can say is the black magic finally seems to be working given the Mexican football team’s impressive performances so far in this year’s World Cup in Russia! As well as the main award Alejandra received £1,500 cash prize and a lifetime membership to our friends at Shooting People after our Jury judged Vudú to be “the most complete film” of last year’s entrants, “with its seductive colour palette and stylised mise-en-scene.”

Last week we caught up with Alejandra to chat to her about making her winning film and hear her advice for anyone applying for this year’s competition.

Can you describe your winning Depict film for us and how you came up with the idea?

My film Vudú is about a mother and her three young children, who gather to practise voodoo, in order to make their national football team win a World Cup match. It’s actually very funny because it is a true story. My grandmother did that once with my mother and uncles, as a fun game, (with no witchcraft involved, of course) and it obviously didn’t work. But after all these years, they still remember fondly that story and laugh at it. When I heard it, I thought it would be a wonderful idea for a short film, and thought it would be funny, if done properly.

What drew you to the Depict 90 second format?

Because of the story I wanted to tell, and its structure and pace, I knew it had to be very short. Originally it was going to be a two-minutes short, but then, while browsing online, I stumbled onto DepicT!, and decided to cut my script short, so I could participate. Since it was such a short time to tell a story, the first challenge I encountered was knowing how to get the audience’s attention. I decided that, in order to make it memorable, the film had to be visually attractive, and it had to have a plot twist at the ending. So I started out from there.

How did you find the making of your Depict film?

It was very fun. I had a fantastic crew, and we filmed it in about 5 hours. I was very nervous, as I hadn’t worked with children before, but I found out that by talking to them as a friend, and not as a director, it was easier to work with them.

What was your level of experience before submitting to Depict?

The film was my graduation film. I had no professional experience, but some practise, and a couple of shorts I did for different classes.

What have you been up to since your Depict success? Where did the competition take you?

I’ve been working on a couple of films in the art department, which is one of my passions, and I’ve been writing another short, which I hope I can film next year. I have recently received emails from a couple of film festivals who are interested Vudú, which is fantastic, as it means it’s being watched and it’s getting attention.

Can you sum up why Depict is important to emerging filmmakers?

Depict is a wonderful way to get your work seen. It’s a great opportunity for new filmmakers to get their films seen by people who work in the industry, and in some cases, like mine, by people from another country. As a Mexican, it was amazing to realise that my film was not only understood, but also appreciated in the UK. The jury is also one of the reasons I loved being in Depict, as the special guest was the cinematographer Seamus McGarvey, who shot one of my favourite scenes, the tracking shot in Atonement, which was also one of the main reasons I decided to study filmmaking, so it was great and exciting to know that he was part of the jury.

What would be your top three tips for this year’s Depict entrants?

1) Think of a simple story; you only have 90 seconds to tell it, so it has to be straightforward.

2) Be creative. It’s not what you tell, but how you tell it, what will make your film different.

3) Finding a great crew is important. Filmmaking is teamwork and having people who like each other is crucial for a good workflow.

Check out Alejandra’s winning Depict film here….

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Depict ’18 is open for entries until Mon 2 July 2017. We accept films from people at any level in their career or education, from anywhere around the world, and in any genre. Our only rule is that it has to be 90 seconds long or less. There’s up to £2,500 in prize money to be won plus loads of development opportunities, including mentoring from industry professionals and invaluable exposure at Encounters Short Film and Animation Festival. Good luck!

Posted on 25 Jun 2018 at 10:41 am.

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