Dir. Fernanda Faya, 2017, USA, Brazil, 12 min., Portuguese w/ English subtitles
In December’s Online Short, filmmaker Fernanda Faya reflects on her grandma’s migration from Romania after moving from Brazil to New York in this lyrical, personal documentary. Watch the film and read a Q&A with director Fernanda Faya below:
JFI: What inspired you to make this film?
Faya: I was inspired by my personal experience of moving from Brazil to NYC. Less than a month later I lost my grandmother to whom I was very close. I just felt like expressing those feelings of isolation, and longing.
JFI: What was your greatest challenge during the filmmaking process?
Faya: My greatest challenge was to write the first-person voice over narration. I would get very emotional and self-conscious while writing it.
JFI: Any thoughts you’d like to share about screening this film in a Jewish context?
Faya: The Jewish experience is so colorful and diverse. That’s what makes it so interesting to me. I wasn’t raised in a traditional Jewish family and to be honest I never felt specially connected to my family’s history. Moving to NY really changed that as the experience challenged how I perceive my own identity. I feel grateful to be able to share my personal way of relating to Jewishness in such a welcoming context.
“The Jewish experience is so colorful and diverse. That’s what makes it so interesting to me.”
JFI: What film/media has inspired you lately?
Faya: I just saw Agnès Varda’s latest film, Faces Places, and was really touched by it. I’m such a fan and it’s just amazing to see someone of almost 90 years old making films like that. I get a lot of inspiration from Chantal Akerman’s work; I especially loved her No Home Movie, which I saw last year.
JFI: What do you do when you’re not filmmaking?
Faya: Filmmaking takes up a lot of space in my life, fortunately! When I’m not working on a film project I’m playing the nylon string guitar and singing. I also teach and work as a cinematographer.
JFI: Lastly, gefilte fish: delicious, or disgusting?
Faya: I love it!
Each month, the Jewish Film Institute presents a new free short film to watch online from emerging voices in Jewish documentary, narrative and experimental filmmaking, accompanied by an interview with the film’s director. To watch more JFI Online Shorts, visit the archive of free films here.