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SxSW 2016 Interview: THE SPACE IN BETWEEN: MARINA ABRAMOVIC & BRAZIL director Marco Del Fiol

by Jason Whyte

"THE SPACE IN BETWEEN: MARINA ABRAMOVIC & BRAZIL is much more an experience than the usual documentary about an artist. I was told that if a person doesn't react to this movie he or she must be brain-dead. It is a very intense journey of one of the most important artists of our times, seeking for inner healing and new ideas for her work in a country where everything is possible." Director Marco Del Fio on THE SPACE IN BETWEEN which screens at the 2016 edition of South By Southwest Film.

Congratulations on the film showing at SxSW! Are you planning to attend your screenings?

No way I would miss those screenings! It's our premiere and we're very curious to see how people will react and what kind of questions they will have.

Talk to me a bit about how you got your start in the industry and your previous work.

I didn't enjoy being a kid, I wanted to be a grown up as soon as possible. In fact, I dreamed of having gray hair. So everything that was connected with the adult life interested me. When I was five, I asked to get an umbrella as a Christmas gift, because I thought it would make me look older. At that time, my father used to film my three brothers and I with a Super 8 camera. I almost don't appear in the movies because I was always behind him, I didn't want to appear in the movie, I wanted to shoot it. Ten years later I got a VHS camera and never stopped filming.

So how did this documentary come together from your perspective?

When I was in my early twenties I saw a TV show called ART MEETS SCIENCE AND SPIRITUALITY IN A CHANGING ECONOMY. For each of these fields there was a person representing each subject and Marina Abramovic was there to talk about art. I had never heard about her and after hearing her ideas and watching some of her works, I said to myself that this is the kind of person I want to work with. Twenty years later, it just happened.

What keeps you going while making a movie? What drives you?

While I'm shooting, in order to be really sharp, I try to get the best sleep as possible, and while I'm editing I try to do morning walks to refresh the eyes and get new ideas. The only poison I use is incense.

What was your biggest challenge with making this movie, and the moment that was the most rewarding to you?

The biggest challenge to make a movie about a visual artist is to decide how you will engage the language of the arts with the language of the movie. I had this idea that some scenes of the film could work like tarot cards, in a way that their imagery force relied in being synthetic, profound and fulfilled with a dreamy aspect. Marina already had this power in the images she creates, so I just had to jump in her visual concepts. In that sense, the cave scene is one of the shots I am most proud of. The power of seeing her vanishing in the darkness of this huge cave was overwhelming. It reminded me of Plato's cave, of ouroboros (the snake that bite its tail), and the constant journey we must make to face our fears and the unknown. Just after we had done it, I was sure that we had a beginning for the film.

Another aspect that I am proud of is the ritual sequences that Marina takes part. The performative scenes were staged to the camera, but the rituals were totally unpredictable and had such a tension. I have watched the eye surgery and the egg ritual scenes almost a thousand times and they still keep me on the edge of the seat.

I wish about to get technical; tell me about the visual design of the movie and how it was photographed.

Since we knew we would travel almost 4000 miles in 40 days following Marina's journey in deep Brazil, we decided to take a multitask crew that could fit in a car loaded with equipment. We had one Sony FS700 as our main camera, a FS100 as a second unit camera and a Canon 5D for emergencies. Thus, we would be prepared to shoot as quickly as possible and to go into the ritual spots without bothering the process.

So what are you looking forward to the most about showing your movie here in Austin?

This film has a lot of my country on it, not only landscapes but also our peculiar way of dealing with multi aspects of spirituality. This will be an amazing opportunity to see how an American audience will react to it.

After the film screens at SxSW, where is the film going to show next?

We have been receiving a lot of invitations from other festivals, but what is certain right now is that we will have a premiere in Brazil in May!

If you could show your movie in any theater outside of Austin, where would you screen it and why?

In New York City, because it's where Marina lives.

What would you say to someone who was talking or texting through a movie?

Although I think it is stupid, I respect free will.

What is the ONE THING you would say to someone who is wanting to get into the filmmaking business as a piece of advice?

The first thing I would ask them is, "Are you absolutely sure?"

And finally, what is the greatest movie you have ever seen?

When I was in my teens, we used to have Saturday morning screenings at the school. There I had the opportunity of seeing amazing movies, but the one that caused me the biggest impact was BLUE VELVET by David Lynch.

Be sure to follow the progress of the film by visiting!

We hope you enjoyed this SxSW filmmaker interview as part of our coverage of SxSW 2016. To see the entire series click on the Live Report sidebar on your right. We will have interviews posted all throughout the festival so be sure to visit us often for more coverage!

This is one of the many films screening at the 2016 SXSW in Austin, Texas taking place March 11-19. For more information on this film screening times, point your browser to or use the SxSW GO App for Android and iOS.

Jason Whyte,
Twitter: @jasonwhyte / Facebook: jasonwhyte / Instagram: jason.whyte

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originally posted: 03/10/16 19:16:23
last updated: 03/10/16 19:20:21
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