"Noche" - a short poem film written and created by Claire Kinnen and recited by the Spanish artist, Maria Flores Galindo. It was shot on Super 8 film in New York's North Country and is in Spanish with English subtitles.
Hi Claire thank you for talking to TNC, how are you holding up during these very strange times?
Hello and thank you for talking to me – it’s a pleasure. I’m doing as well as can be expected. I feel very grateful that I’m safe and my friends and family have stayed safe.
Has this time offered you any new creative inspiration?
I’m feeling very challenged creatively right now but more motivated to be active politically and to live my values. It’s not easy to know how to be effective but I think the attempt is worthwhile.
Noche is a very personal film that has been with you for quite some time, did you have any apprehensions about turning your poem and your experience in Spain into a film?
I didn’t feel apprehensive to make the film but I did feel shy about sharing it. I think of myself as a more comedic person so it’s funny that all of my micro films have been serious and poetic. It’s a little bit like showing someone your diary.
You have already had a good festival run with Noche, what do you think it is about this film that has connected with festival audiences?
Because the piece is so short, people have a moment with your work before they even begin to assess whether or not the genre is for them. That’s the advantage of a micro short. It’s a brief intimate moment. I also think the film’s narrator, Maria Flores Galindo, is so talented and reads it so beautifully. I love her voice.
What does it mean to be part of Barcelona Short Film Festival's amazing lineup of short films?
It’s an honour. It means a lot to me to have the film in a Spanish festival as it is directly connected to my personal experience in Spain. I'm really thrilled.
Can you tell me a little bit about Noche, what was the inspiration behind your unique poem film?
I wrote the poem when I was 22. I had just returned home to rural Northern New York after a year in Madrid, Spain. I remember feeling a bit lost. I wanted to be home but I also missed Spain. I didn’t know what I was doing with my life. It felt like I couldn’t get things moving but the lack of movement forced me to look inward. It’s cliché but so much in life does start with learning how to love oneself. That was a personal journey that really started in Spain so it makes sense that the poem came out in Spanish.
It’s been ten years since that year at home and my life is very different but the practice of loving myself remains necessary. I actually started dying my hair again a few years ago and quarantine prompted me to stop. Maybe I’ll dye it again but for now I’m enjoying being comfortable with my gray hair. Although, the hair isn’t really the point - it’s really just a symbol for self-acceptance.
"Use your phone, a camcorder, photos, whatever you have."
What made you want to film Noche on Super 8?
Actually, I originally thought I’d do some sort of stop motion animation but it didn’t click. I ended up shooting the footage of the river for my own memories and the images of myself are from testing cameras. When I got it developed, it occurred to me that might fit nicely with the audio I already had of Maria reading the poem. I really love how tactile Super 8 is. I enjoy the process of making a film “collage” that is slowly collected and layered over time to create a sort of visual diary.
Looking back, is there anything you would have done differently on this film?
No, I’m happy with it.
Where did this passion for filmmaking come from?
I think it comes from growing up in a rural remote area. Films were my window into the world and an escape for me. But I love storytelling in all its forms. That’s the core of my passion.
How much has your approach to your projects changed since your debut short?
I’m gaining more confidence and feeling more capable but I still want more experience. I’d love to start collaborating with others more and do less solo projects.
Should filmmakers continue to push the boundaries of the films and stories they want to tell?
Absolutely! I had a sociology professor who said that in life we need windows and mirrors. We need to be able to see ourselves but we also need to hear the stories of people who aren’t like us. I really believe that’s true and I think independent filmmakers have such an important role in helping do this for people.
Do you have any tips or advice you would offer someone wanting to make a micro-short?
Don’t be afraid to start and once you start, don’t be afraid to keep playing and layering. Use your phone, a camcorder, photos, whatever you have. It doesn’t have to be “perfect.” Be kind to yourself and patient if something short takes a lot longer than you think it will.
And finally, what do you hope people will take away from Noche?
I hope people remember to love themselves or at the very least it makes them want to take a walk.