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  • Writer's picturepedroborbamendes

The Loneliness of Creation (or How I Understood Why I Make Films)

Ever since the primordial myths, the act of creation seem to span from the feeling of loneliness. Even gods feel lonely, and that’s the feeling that propels them to create. Not long ago, I realized that is also true to mortal men and experimental filmmakers.

As I was working on the script of one of my upcoming short films, Metamorphosis (not the Kafka adaptation one would hope, unfortunately) I was struggling one line in particular, where I stated the reason why I made that film.

As it was the case for every other film I’ve made before, the process of writing carried over and became one with the editing process, and this particular line remained untouched for a while.

Discovering and exploring the reason behind my desire to preserve (and now revisit) a failed short film I had made had become the very justification for revisiting the material - yet, I was still having trouble to articulate that.

With that in mind and hoping to appease to any available muse at the time, I decided to leave the line incomplete as I prepared to record the film’s voice-over narration. My intention was to record the entire narration in a single take, hoping that flow of ideas would spark the improvisation an earnest and usable line.

As I watched the images unfolding in front of me and recorded each line, I could feel a sense of anticipation building in my guts, and when the time came, I said:

“I made this film to feel less alone”

As soon as I said the line, I knew that was it - and while it’s true that the context behind this line is specific to the autofiction narrative I was creating in Metamorphosis, it could be applied to any of my projects.

Of course, the idea of making films to feel less alone by sharing their ideas and feelings with an audience is not exclusive to me. Arguably, it’s the thing that moves every filmmaker to make their films.

However, I realized I found myself in an specifically contradictory position of making films to feel less alone… Completely by myself.

For the past year, I’ve been working on several experimental short films entirely by myself that is, at least until the post-production stage - and my creative process has never felt more appropriate and rewarding.

After years of somewhat uncomfortable experiences working on film sets with big and small crews, I began to wonder if I was the problem, and more importantly - if I was unfit do to the thing I loved the most.

Yet, freedom came in the form of experimental cinema. More specifically, in films I could make entirely by myself. These films allowed me to find out that, in order to tune into the feelings I want to share with others, I need loneliness to create.

If anything, the eureka moment that allowed the line “I made this film to feel less alone” to come out of my mouth is the definitive proof that the lonesome endeavor of my artistic process is indeed my path to creativity.

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