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"I had a screenplay but more than all I did a storyboard that was a collage of images that showed exactly the image that I wanted to have on the screen."

27th Vilnius International Film Festival Kino Pavasaris 
24 March - 3 April, 2022 

Janaina Wagner
Curupira e a Máquina do Destino  
March 31 - April 3 - #STANDWITHUKRAINE

Curupira e a máquina do destino is the encounter between the entity Curupira, a queer devil who protects the forests of Brazil, and the incarnated ghost of Iracema, a 14-year-old prostitute. 

Hi Janaina thank you for talking to The New Current, how have you been holding up during these very strange times?

Well, I come from São Paulo Brazil, and there the times have been “strange” since a while a go. But during the hardest part of the pandemic I was exactly developing and filming Curupira and the machine of the destiny, so fortunately I had a world were to put a lot of my energy into. During the time that I stayed in São Paulo I was involved with a collective group of art and politics that organized many demonstrations and actions to lighten up the state genocide that was happening here, it’s called Grupo de Ação .  

Have you been able to remain positive and explore new creative endeavours?

Not always, and not easily, but yes, I have. Through my work as an artist and researcher I try to open scape routs and propositions, to imagine new futures and possibilities. It was a little bit of this that I tried to do through my film. 

For most of the audience only get to enjoy short films during a film festival what more can be done to make Short Films more accessible to wider audiences?

I would say that streaming platforms could be more popularized and more short film festivals could exist! 

Congratulations on being nominated in the Shorts Competition at Vilnius Film Festival 2022, what does it mean to you to be able to part of such an amazing line up of films?

For me to be part of Kino Pavasaris in Vilnius has a special meaning because of the history and stories of the Partisans resistance that were in the forests during World War II. The forest is a very important part of my film and of my work and practise in general, and being here in Vilnius were it played a great role is very special. 

Can you tell me a little bit about Curupira and the machine of the destiny and what was the message you wanted to convey with this film?

Filmed in Amazonas, Brazil, on the roads Estrada Fantasma (Phantom Road) BR-319, Transamazônica BR-230 and in the real village of Realidade (Reality), “Curupira and the machine of the destiny” is the encounter in the present time between the creature curupira, protectress of the forests of Brazil, and the incarnated ghost of Iracema, a 14-year-old prostitute, fictional character in the film “Iracema - uma transa amazônica” (1974, Jorge Bodanzky and Orlando Senna. Iracema’s ghost sets out on his quest at the crossroads of the straight roads of Amazonas to find curupira and avenge the future. Curupira e a máquina do destino films the reality of 2021 Brazil and the ravage of Amazonia forest, shaped in the form of cattle, wood and soya. It is a portrait of the cyclical history and story of Brazil in favour of a so called progress. The Phantom Road is a scar that cuts through the earth, opened like a wound during the civic-military dictatorship that ensnared Brazil in the cries of order and progress. The asphalt rebar BR-319 that sticks the country was built, destroyed and is now drowning in a process of reconstruction. Warm ruin of an addicted future.


What was the biggest challenge you faced bringing your film to life?

Definitely the challenge of filming in Amazonas, with a 4 people team, a low budget and covid all around. I was driving a car 3 hours by day and also directing the film – among other many production things. When the team toasted the end of the shooting I literally passed out on the ground. It was a miracle that we (Carine Wallauer, Marcela Santos, Carolina Gesser and Christyann Ritse – with me 4 girls and 1 men) manage to shoot it and finished it. And of course the big challenge of the conceptual part of it, dealing with the history of Brazilian cinema as a subject, with violence and exploitation. The challenge of making something that was entirely ethical with all of the contractions around us. 

How important is it for you to be flexible with your screenplay once you start production, do you prefer to keep to the text how it’s been written?

My background is in Visual Arts and in Journalism, I’ve studied these graduations in University in Brazil. My way of working with cinema is very experimental. I had a screenplay but more then all I did a storyboard that was a collage of images that showed exactly the image that I wanted to have on the screen. So it was flexible, in terms of adapting, and making plans to change the plans, due to the context of shooting in a place were nature dictates de rules. But finally it was exactly the film that I wanted it to be.  

Looking back is there anything you would have done differently on this film?

I think that within the circumstances this was the film to be made. 

What has been the most valuable lessons you have taken from making this film?

That - not everything - but many things, are possible. 

Where did your passion for filmmaking come from? 

I think it is the passion of imagining and telling stories and concretizing those stories in creating images, changing images, working the limits of images realness and realities. 

Has your approach to the way you make your films changed much since you started and do you have any tips or advice for a fellow filmmakers?

I always work in a very experiment way and I like to take risks, so I fell my approach will always be changing. My advice would be to dive in things – and to run, this helps me having a lot of the energy and the inside tranquillity that I need. 

And finally, what do you want your audiences to take away from Curupira and the machine of the destiny?

That Reality really exists, and it is a place where ghosts are as concrete as live people. 

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