Interview: Tiago Nery
Interview by Aindrila ChatterjeeWe talked to Tiago Nery, the director of Deep Waters about filmmaking, theater and what happens when you masterfully mix the two together.
AINDRILA: As I have studied, you have given direction to more than 20 theater plays. What inspired you to do film directing?
TIAGO: I was born – artistically speaking – in the live theater, which gave me a creative basis and incredible references. Knowing the classical texts of Sophocles, Shakespeare, Ionesco, Brecht and Augusto Boal certainly shaped my aesthetic. Doing theater plays is an incredible creative challenge. Producers, staff, actors, must all work together, all the time, focused, for, in a play, unlike in movies, we do not have a second take. This was one of the points that attracted me to filmmaking, the possibility of a second take, as well as the possibility of the immortality of the work. When I put together a play, every single time I want to tell that story, I have to put together a gigantic team of artists and professionals. With film, at some point in the process, the film only needs to be distributed, and with ease and a relative lower cost, I get to tell my stories throughout Latin America, in Los Angeles, South Africa, India, virtually anywhere. Okay, I must not forget to mention the masters who made me dream of the idea of one day being in the mirror of dreams, such as David Lynch and his plurality of narratives and dreams, Pedro Almodovar narrating humanity with vicariousness and poetry, Glauber Rocha and his power to create powerful images, Maya Deren e Brunuel and his instigating montages and metaphors.
AINDRILA: In the film “Deep Waters”, you showed a girl trapped in a labyrinth without memories. What was the initial inspiration for this movie? Maybe a dream?
Tiago: Yes, there is a fine line between dream and reality. The plot of the film was initially written by actress and screenwriter Roberta Rangel, who asked me to write the script with her and direct the project. Roberta’s desire was to write about love relationships, and we started from there. I began with her how to codify in images what a relationship can be. And we wanted the viewer of the film to be a unique part of the result, as each person fills in the gaps that our dream images propose.
AINDRILA: You direct both theater and cinema, what would you say is the main artistic difference between the two?
Tiago: For me, the biggest difference is in the form and in the vibration. That is, in cinema, we can guide the viewer’s eyes with detailed plans for the appreciation of the finest details, such as the transparency of tears. In a play, the vibration is the greatest asset. Artists in the theater are giving us each session with feelings that pierce the pores of human empathy and touch our deepest layers. Everything vibrates, alive.
AINDRILA: In “DeepWaters”, there are many appealing scenes, like the one where the lady dreams that she is running in the rain, yet she’s completely dry. How do you come up with these unusual concepts?
TIAGO: The images that I and Roberta use are images that provoke us, usually images that will derail us, moving away from confining guidelines. And in the search of this construction, we designed metaphors that expressed the antagonism between the reason and the emotion of the characters in a scene. It is a pleasurable process, as casting light in some parts in the immensity of our unconscious.
AINDRILA: Have you ever made or thought of making a movie that’s more realistic and down to earth? Or is the intriguing “dream-world” the one you prefer?
TIAGO: I love the dream universe, however my next two projects, a web series and a short film, have a realistic central structure, albeit with a few surrealistic metaphors and frames in the plot composition.
AINDRILA: What challenges did you face in making “DeepWaters”?
TIAGO: The biggest challenge for me was to believe that we would find a group of professionals who believed in the project even though it was very low budget. The team was formed by friends referred by friends. For photography, I managed to lock-in the award-winning photographer Alexandre Fortes, who fortunately is a good friend, the makeup artist, Thais Ferreira – who is also an actress, and I grew up together. My assistant director was a young talented photographer Priscilla K., whom I had previously taught at university. Most of the crew, João Got (lead actor) Thays Eline (producer), Sérgio Bites (photography assistant) and Similião Aurelio (actor coaching) were brought in by Roberta Rangel. The producer, in her turn, invited the sound team Matheus Barcelar and Robson Lucas and art director Fernanda Sisciliano. We had two days scheduled to complete the recording. Two twelve-hour days. It was very tiring, but on set the team played together and kept the energy up. I remember after we finished filming on the second day, we were all exhausted, but still spent two hours in conversations and enjoying each other’s company.
AINDRILA: Is it possible to transfer the same dream-like experience you achieve in a film to a theater play? Let’s say the running dry in the rain scene? Does it require more creativity since you have fewer tools at your disposal?
TIAGO: One of the things I love about art is making the unreal, real. My first contacts with art were while attending theater plays and theatrical shows as a child. As a kid, I could watch the same movie in the movie theaters three times in a row without going to the bathroom. If you did not leave the room, you did not have to pay again for the tickets. Right after watching a theater play, I recreated its scenes with my siblings. I have learned in my journey that all languages have their tools, but in the end, both on stage and in the cinema, everything moves around creating imagery with light and shadow.
AINDRILA: Let us know about your future plans.
TIAGO: Due to the wide acclaim of the film Deep Waters, we created apt7 Films production company. This year, I and the “DeepWaters” team will launch a six-episode Web Series on YouTube. The series talks about love relationships as well as the city of Brasilia, capital of Brazil. The series has already been recorded and is finalizing post-production. Also on our agenda, this year is the recording of the short film “Let Me Fall”, which focuses on gender diversity. As for the stage, I am looking forward to touring with my most recent project, an adaptation of Blood Weeding, by Federico Garcia Lorca, and later this year I will direct Eugene Ionesco’s The Bald Soprano.
“Glamour is not for us, it’s for others”. Hearing that Aindrila came into the world of media. Her struggle started from her college days. She loves to communicate with people. Adventure is her first love. Worked in many Bengali media houses like Aajkaal, SNews during and after her university days. She loves literature, drama, cinema, football, and cooking. She loves to learn new things daily. According to her, communication and books make a person more knowledgeable.