Anyone who’s found themselves sweating over the intimidating void of the blank page will know that inspiration can sometimes be an elusive mistress but when the ideas do flow unbidden, how do we identify the source of this bountiful creative wellspring? Inspired by a recent turmoil in artist Carolina Murayama’s life and its impact on her creative output, Murayama from São Paulo-based sibling filmmakers Irmãos Meirelles (Marilia & Fabio) explores the hidden complexity inside mundane and seemingly irrelevant moments which lead us to new ideas. Watch it below, after which Fabio reveals how his 10 year strong working relationship with Marilia enabled the pair to capture “what’s not immediately visible” for this bootstrapped project.
As creatives yourselves where do you personally find inspiration?
We find inspiration in day to day life, we try to interpret what happens in our lives through a storytelling/cinematic lens. Of course other creative work, constantly looking at references, travelling…all of that helps.
How did you first become aware of Carolina Murayama’s work and what motivated this approach for capturing her artistic practice?
As far as becoming aware of Carol and her work, I knew her personally. I didn’t have a deep knowledge of her work and habits, but she dated my best friend from childhood for a few years. They broke up earlier this year and she moved to a new place and decided to paint a mural to sort of mark the transition. She spoke to me informally about it, about maybe doing a video of it. I got more interested in the process behind it, how she got there, Marilia joined, and the film was born.
Our initial approach was to make a film about the creative process and not actually show the artist doing the work. We were interested in what’s not immediately visible, so met with Carol before shooting and realised that for her, mundane things such as doing the dishes are as much part of the creation process as praying in a Buddhist temple. That became the concept.
Could you take us through the production process of Murayama?
We only had one day to shoot, so we wanted to start with the blank wall in her studio and then move to the outside. The idea was to begin with a more rational approach to art and then have her feelings become part of the visualisation in the exterior shots. We don’t know where inspiration comes from or when it strikes, but with Murayama we wanted to show that it could be from anywhere.
We shot on Alexa Mini with Cooke Special Flare Anamorphics and lit with 2 S60 skypanels. The whole package was lent as a favor by the rental company following an advertisement shoot. That’s why we only had one day to shoot, but we think constraint can be a motivation.
The post production was a bit tricky because we had to figure out how the artwork would be present in the scenes. Having it digitalised made it possible for the team at Smart Diseños to try different things, in a very collaborative way. Ultimately, it made the film more aesthetically pleasing while also making the concept stronger, since we only show the art when she has her back to the camera, looking at the world for inspiration.
We don’t know where inspiration comes from or when it strikes, but with Murayama we wanted to show that it could be from anywhere.
Given that the two of you wear multiple production hats, how do you decide which roles you’ll each fulfil on a project such as this?
As far as the roles we play, it’s pretty organic…we’ve been working together for 10 years now and also we pretty much know what the other one’s thinking being brother and sister. In the advertising world, we usually take on different things on the projects. I’m more involved in the photography, the technical side (some films I’m the DP myself) and Marilia oversees production design, wardrobe, casting…both of us edit our films. We think pretty alike, so it’s often that we’ll just manage different parts of the crews and share the same vision. For this project, it wasn’t different.
Do you have any new films in the works that we should be on the lookout for?
We have a few ads we’re in pre-production and, as always, writing treatments for the ones still in the budget phase. As for our own work, we have a feature length doc in the final steps of post production, it should do the festival circuit next year. It’s about the culinary world and the cultural influences big chefs have on it.
Murayama is one of the many great projects shared with the Directors Notes Programmers through our submissions process. If you’d like to join them submit your film.