TAEM interview with Director Pedro Cunha

Photo by José Pedro GomesTAEM- European films have always been developed differently from those made in America. They tend to blend art with music and filmmaking. Films like The American are good examples of these differences. The Arts and Entertainment Magazine was informed of a noted filmmaker from Portugal by a close friend as someone that we should take interest with. He is Director Pedro Cunha,  not to be confused by and actor from that country by the same name. Pedro, please tell our readers about your early interest in films and the education that you undertook to achieve success.

PC- My early interest in films started in 1997 when I started to write the way I felt a film should be written. This early exercises were simple, I watched a film and then I tried to write it on paper. The education that I had was in graphic design in the high school and then I chose film and TV to college education.

TAEM- Who was your greatest influence in the work that you produce?

PC- My greatest influence was Tony Scott.

TAEM- What style of filmmaking do you follow, and why is it important to you ?

PC- I use several techniques to make a film and cinematography is one of the most important to me. I also like to mix handheld camera, tripod support, dolly, steadicam, spider support and sometimes cranes but all depends in each project and respective screenplay (thriller/drama/romance/action).

TAEM- You have made over seventy films so far in your career. These include documentaries, short film and music videos. This is quite a diverse field. Have you blended some of your work, and if not how were you able to separate the differences ?

PC- Well, in college I had to blend between film and TV and that offered me knowledge to blend because we had to do all kind of content like short films, documentaries, video clips and other stuff.

TAEM- In 2006 you wrote and directed the film Ilusion. What was it about and how did you develop the story behind it?

PC- The film was about the cigarette issue and I wanted to give a thought about prevention and reflection to smokers and nonsmokers.

Isccizo-Poster-1000pxTAEM- One of your notable films was Jirinoveskye (2007). Please describe this work and the influence behind the making of it.

PC- When I started the screenplay I wanted to mix European and American military culture. To do that I inspired myself in two characters, Thomas Beckett and  Vassili Zaitsev but all made like a parallel reality of a dream and real life adapted to Iberian peninsula.

TAEM- Tell our readers about the awards and recognitions that it received.

PC- In fact Jirinoveskye was the short film with more recognition in several film festivals specially in one here in Portugal, “Festival Caminhos do Cinema Português”, one of the most important Portuguese film festivals. My film Jirinoveskye had the honour to be part of the opening day program.

TAEM- The following year you wrote and directed the production Isccizo. Please describe this project and tell us about the actors behind it.

PC- Isccizo was about the lack of work to young adults that wanted to start a life together. At the time the critics to the film were not that good because it was in a very early stage of economic crises that we are facing today and they felt that in 2008 did not make much sense but now… about the leading roles, one was performed by Vânia Mendes, a very talented actress that now is doing national theater and the actor was my brother Ricardo that want to return to filmmaking soon.

TAEM- You also wrote Finding Nature. What was the basis for this film , and what recognitions did it receive ?

PC- The basis for this film was to show a bit of the charming nature we have in Portugal. My aim was to try to bring more tourist to my country. Finding Nature was my first film in a international festival and it was also broadcasted in The Netherlands and China and had distribution on a DVD.

TAEM- One of your newest productions is Vataca. Tell us something about this work and what was your influence in writing it.

PC- In Vataça I was invited by the director/writer to be camera operator and it was a great project.

TAEM- We also learned that you have been involved with a number of notable television events. Please tell us about these and the work you did with them.

PC- Yes, it was a very nice experience to direct on TV too. Specially I enjoyed the Live Music events with many of the best musicians from Portugal and also several foreigners musicians. It was without any doubt a great experience that helped me to develop some new skills that for sure will be a plus in my next film project.

TAEM- Pedro, I want to thank you for the time that you spent on this interview and helping us to uncover some of the great work coming out of Europe. I am sure that our readers will enjoy learning all about you and will seek information about all your future projects.


PC- I also want to thank TAEM for this wonderful opportunity, as well as to extend my best wishes to our readers, and continued success to TAEM for their excellence in content quality.

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