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In Thais Fernandes’ film, we learn of a teenage boy’s discovery of an old film SLR and with it the responsibility he faces of taking the last picture on its still-loaded roll of film. A reconnection with his grandfather forms the backbone to a very delicate film. Click on the window above to view the trailer and read on below to discover the inside story of the film…
Thais Fernandes is primarily a documentary filmmaker but her poetic view of the world is showcased in ‘The Last Picture’, which she directed. She explains the concept: “Today‘s rushed and connected life has taken from us the time to think. It seems that we live in constant competition to have the best face, car, friends, and happiness… the best life. While we try so hard to ‘seem’, we sometimes forget to actually try to ‘be’. Technology, no doubt, changed our lives for better, but they keep being tools. In the end, our struggle will always be the same: try to see the poetry.”
The judges appreciated the film’s proposed poetic quality and admired the way in which Thais had suggested to weave emotion and identity into the film, thus potentially allowing the viewer to make strong connections with the subjects – a teenage boy and his grandfather. The judges also noted the clear juxtaposition in the storyline between the instant images that are posted in today’s social media-dominated world and the perhaps more studied approach of taking the time to shoot a picture on a film camera.
Thais Fernandes was born in Brazil and, after gaining a degree in journalism, she chose to make a career in cinema where she has gained experience in editing, directing, research and designing in both film and theatre environments. From 2007 to 2009 she was the Finishing Coordinator for the publication ‘Núcleo de Especiais’, published by RBS TV in Brazil, and in 2009 went on to become Assistant Editor at Casa de Cinemade in Porto Alegre, Brazill. In 2011 she won one of the four scholarships awarded by IBERMEDIA to participate in the IV Diplomado en Documental de Creación in Cali, Colombia. She was later selected to join the 8th Talent Campus Buenos Aires in 2013 and Berlinale Talents in 2014.
Why did you decide to enter the Canon Short Film competition?
“I saw it as an opportunity to show my work. Besides, I’m really interested in short film narratives… so it was also a chance to exercise that.”
How did you get the idea for your film?
“Besides being an editor and director in cinema, I also work directing theatre. By the time the [Short Film] contest was announced to the [Berlinale] Talents I was writing a play that explores how new technologies and social media affect human relationships. The reflection about the value of images in the digital age was already a theme I was researching, so that was the first step to the story I proposed for the Canon Short Film competition.”
Please explain what the film is about?
“‘The Last Picture’ proposes two kind of reflections. Firstly, it’s a glimpse of our addiction to shareable images and how fast they lose interest for us. Secondly, it’s an attempt to think about the evolution of tools regarding image capture. The digital age must keep an eye in the past, both to show respect and also to learn from those who have created the path that we are on today.”
Can you tell us more about the characters and narrative in the film?
“The main character is the image itself, and how we relate with it. The boy, Eduardo, works more as an allegory of how we live with technology and how it affects the way we see and experience the world today. That’s why I tried to use as little dialogue as possible, so the main message would be on the visual narrative.”
What were the challenges or surprises you faced when making the film and how did you overcome them?
“Making movies is always a challenge. With a low budget, even more! In my opinion the hardest task is finding the ideal crew for the project, and that I had. More than professionals, my team was made of friends. Having a team like that is already 50% of the task done, since it’s easier to understand each other’s points of view to work on the best choices for the movie.”
Had you shot any previous projects with Canon cameras?
“Most of my projects were done with Canon cameras. I own a Canon EOS 60D, with which I made my first two shorts – ‘Window’ and ‘Love Contract’. I also shot a video clip with it. Some other projects I have edited were done with the Canon EOS 5D [Mark II] and EOS 7D.”
How long did the film take to shoot and what crew did you work with?
“We shot it in two days. My crew consisted of myself (writer, director and film editor), with a team including Eduardo Cardoso Lacerda, Girley Paes, Orly Speck and Anelise Vargas (actors), Bruno Polidoro and Lívia Pasqual (directors of photography), Fabiano Florez (producer and executive producer), Ana Júlia Fortes (art director), Carina Levitan (soundtrack), Luini Nerva (assistant director), Gabriela Bervian (sound recordist), Kiko Ferraz and Chrístian Vaisz (sound editors).”
How did working with the Canon camera and lenses help you to shoot the film?
“We had a very good experience with the cinema lenses – they are very luminous and we shot using lots of natural light. The C500 is wonderful; small and practical and with a very good dynamic range.”
How did you set up the Canon camera for the shoot?
“We used Canon Log Gamma [to shoot everything].”
What was the performance of the Canon camera like in terms of the quality of footage produced?
“It had a wonderful quality, because of the dynamic range and Log Gamma. Our images are very clear and smooth, with pleasant colours and tones.”
Which Canon lenses did you choose to use and how did these perform optically?
“We didn’t get all the equipment we requested, but what we got worked perfectly for the project’s needs. This meant we could use a lot of natural light [in the shots], which allowed us to spend more time composing them. The lenses we used were the EF70-200mm f/2.8L IS II USM, the EF16-35mm f/2.8L II USM, the EF100mm f/2.8L Macro IS USM, the EF24-70mm f/2.8L II USM, the CN-E85mm T1.3L F, the CN-E50mm T1.3L F and the CN-E24mm T1.5L F.”
How was the footage ingested and was this straightforward? How did the Canon camera fit into the overall workflow – input and output - of the film?
“The workflow was set as we normally work. To edit I converted the material to a proxy codec, and worked with Final Cut Pro 7. The post-production was made with DaVinci Resolve, in which the material was treated in its original codec and resolution (XML).”
How did you record sound for the film?
“The audio was made with an external microphone, and most of the sounds – the city and background sound – was made in post by a Foley artist.”
What is your overall impression of working with the Canon equipment and would you use Canon cameras for future film projects?
“As I said, I already use Canon cameras for most of my projects. My plan is to acquire more lenses, and also buy a new camera; probably a Canon EOS 6D.”
What are your plans for future film projects?
“Right now I’m working on two short film projects: ‘Queen’, a fictional work which is still in the script phase that explores the new gender roles on our love life, and ‘My Mothers’, a documentary about a personal family story. I’m also interested in exploring new narrative possibilities for movies beyond the screen, provoking the viewer in other ways.”