15th BFI FUTURE FILM FESTIVAL 2022 
17-20 February 
Interview

Joao Gonzalez 
Nestor

Section: We Are Not Our Trauma 
instagram.com/Joao_gonzalez

Nestor, a man with several obsessive-compulsive behaviours lives in an unstable houseboat that never stops oscillating.

 

Hey João, it’s great to talk with you again, how have you been keeping during these very strange times?

Hello! I'm alright, thank you! I've been mainly distracted working on my next film, which helps!

Has this time offered you any new creative inspiration or opportunities?

 

Not really. Honestly it also didn't drastically change my working method, which already involved spending lots of time by myself making bunches of drawings that move.

What does it mean to you to be returning to the 15th BFI Future Film Festival with your animated short Nestor?

 

It's a particularly emotional return for me I got to say! The BFI FFF was the first ever international film festival I attended, back in 2018 with my first film "The Voyager". The event itself and the amazingly talented people I met all played a big role in my decision to apply to the Royal College of Art that very same year, where I would spend my next 2 years. Nestor is my 1st year film from RCA. So one can say that, indirectly , Nestor maybe wouldn't exist if it wasn't for the BFI FFF ahah. 

 

Also, I'm just about to finish my grad film that I've been working on for quite a long time but sadly I'm turning 26 in a few days, meaning that this will definitely be my last FFF as a filmmaker in the competition. But I do hope to go back some day!

 

Nestor is going to be in the We Are Not Our Trauma Section of the festival, will there be any nerves ahead of the festival?

 

Always! I always feel like I emulate Nestor's anxiety when I'm watching it on the big screen in a room full of people!


You have had an incredible festival run with Nestor collecting multiple awards for your short, did you imagine you would get this type of reaction to your film?

 

Thank you! And I did not! Also, it's always important to have in mind that, although they are a great motivation to keep working and I feel incredibly honoured, awards are always subjective and depend on the taste of the juries of a given festival in a certain year. With that being said, I find that the "ultimate" award is always to have a film finished from start to finish while maintaining most of your sanity.

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Can you tell me a little bit about how Nestor came about, what was the inspiration behind your screenplay and do you think you achieved the message you wanted to tell with this film?

 

Nestor is a personal film in the sense that it is inspired by my own experiences with obsessive compulsive behaviour. My intent was to make some kind of a physical film that would simulate Nestor's mental state using a variety of elements such as the music, editing or character's movements, that were all conceived respecting the "rhythm" that control's Nestor's life. I hope that the film succeeds in making people feel at least a bit of what it would be, to be in Nestor's skin.

 
When working on a short animation like this how close where you able to keep to your screenplay once you started filming, did you allow yourself much flexibility?

 

In this film, very few changes occurred once I finished the "final" storyboard! That doesn't happen every time I'm making a film though.


Since making Nestor what has been the most valuable lesson you have taken from making this film and will you continue to write/direct short films?

 

Nestor was a challenge since it was done in a quite short period of time (roughly 4 months of intensive work, spread around 7 months) and I was taking the roles of Director, Screenwriter, Animator, Music Composer and Editor, while also doing my dissertation. 

 

The most valuable lesson I took from making this film is to NEVER do anything like this ever again, because at some point I was very close to having a complete nervous meltdown and ended up in the hospital. However, I completely love doing what I do and I hope to keep drawing, writing and directing short films for as long as I can, just not in such stressful conditions! 

 

Where did your passion for animation come from?

 

From the "introduction to animation" classes I had in my Multimedia Arts BA in Portugal. 

You’re a graduate from ESMAD and are continuing your studies in Animation at the Royal College of Art in London, how much has your time on these courses helped to inform in influence your approach to your animation?

 

I actually already finished RCA (although I'm still working endlessly on my grad film ahah)! I felt that Portuguese Education was more focused on software and "problem solving", and British Education more on the concept. I feel very grateful that I had this path specifically in this order, because RCA was when I truly started to develop my artistic "voice", and I felt well prepared to technically develop and put into practice most of the ideas I was having at the time.

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"Oh and also don't overwork yourself while doing it and try to get enough sleep!"

Do you think filmmakers should continue to push the boundaries of the stories they want to tell?

 

No, I think they already went way too far and should stop immediately. But kidding aside, I think that that's what we are all trying to achieve and should keep striving for as filmmakers, of course.

 

For anyone out there thinking about directing their first animation do you have any tips or advice you would offer them? 

 

Don't, it will most likely ruin your life. But if you really REALLY love the craft, you should do it, and you have all the tools and info you may need on the internet! I learned how to animate (2D frame by Frame) on the internet, since my BA only taught me 3D and before that I was studying sciences. Animation courses are great to give you an extra push and surround you with amazing inspiring people. But in the end it all comes down to how bad you really want to learn. Oh and also don't overwork yourself while doing it and try to get enough sleep!
 

And finally, what do you hope people will take away from Nestor?

 

I just hope they enjoy the experience at least one tenth of what I enjoyed making it!