Jun 5, 2024 | Featured, Interviews

Paraíso (Paradise) is flourishing for another year: an event for Fine Arts students that welcomes them from the University of Vigo in Pontevedra and the University of Salamanca to gather with their films created for the occasion. Let us read here the opinions of three of the students who have been at this paradise found headed by Xisela Franco and Laura Gómez Vaquero: Tamara Goberna and Claudia Pineda from the Galician university, and Mirian Opazo from the faculty in Salamanca.

What did you discover or learn during the process of creating the film that you brought to A Coruña?

Tamara Goberna: ¡Eh, tú! Hey you! MALA PÉCORA (Hey, you! BAD BITCH) is the first film I showed at the festival in 2021, and I underwent a process of self-learning and self-discovery through it. Thanks to the opportunity to make a very personal experimental video essay at the University of Vigo with Xisela Franco, I was able to express how I felt at that time with the tools I had at my disposal, and to become increasingly interested in this medium. Public exhibitions can be tough, but at all times I felt my work was being valued in a welcoming environment.

Miriam Opazo: Probably discovering in cinema a way of narrating to others and to myself is one of the greatest and, without a doubt, most beautiful learning experiences I have been involved in throughout my university years. Finding such a powerful means of expression, and feeling that through it you are capable of conveying your own body’s thoughts and sensations to another’s is like finding one of those people with whom you fit perfectly like the pieces of a puzzle made with just the right dimensions for each other. I think the processes for the piece we saw two years ago in Paraíso, Portraits of Silence (2022), managed to open up that door in my head. It was a door opening onto a new language; a language that I felt was mine.

Claudia Pineda: When I was taking part in (S8), I had the chance to present three different films. In 2021 I presented The journey 1988 in Paraíso. The creation process was quite intense, but I think it was the freshest and most innocent of all, since I wasn’t too afraid of making mistakes. I learned a lot in a short time, both technically and conceptually, while experimenting with tools I hadn’t tried out before, such as found footage, non-linear narrative and voice-overs. While creating this piece, I found new ways to express my ideas and emotions, discovering that experimental creation is the way I want to work on my artwork, be it plastic or audiovisual.

Is there any any experience that stands out for you from your time in Paraíso in (S8)? What part of the programme impacted or inspired you the most?

Tamara Goberna: This section is one of my favourites. I think it’s a very good idea to provide a space for visibility and communication for young artists who are taking their first steps outside the academic world. I also think that the encounter with artists from other regions is an interesting point; leaving the sphere surrounding us and taking in other ways of doing, seeing and expressing. I really enjoyed the whole experience, especially being able to share it with my classmates, but I remember the outdoor performance by the students from the University of Cuenca had a big impact on me. It was an immersive live display of lights and motion that I wasn’t used to. The following year I presented the video Los apellidos (The surnames) again, but this time in the Sinais (Signs) section. Every time I go, I come away with a lot of keenness and ideas to continue creating, and I am very grateful to have been a part of that synergy. 

Mirian Opazo: I remember the days we spent that June in A Coruña as a kind of wonderful trance, standing out as a whole. It was the first time that any of us had set foot in a space like this, which is so necessary to share and open up creative paths, and also so essential to understand that there are as many different and beautiful ways of viewing and narrating, as the films ran through the projectors. We spent the entire day rushing from one screening to the next, wanting to be everywhere at the same time and blinking just enough so as not to miss a single second of what the big screen had to reveal to us. 

If someone committed the naive cruelty of forcing me to choose a single part of the programme, I’m sure that I would be heavily influenced by the sensations I got from the Desbordamientos (Overflows) section every night at the Luis Seoane venue, the magical space from which I would always come out (and I still come out) absolutely hypnotized, with my head a hive of discoveries and ideas. But, I repeat, I could only choose if I was forced to, as if it were between life and death, since all the programme is interesting and enriching from beginning to end, in addition to the excellent work done. As we say in Galicia: medre o (S8)! (onward (s8)!).

Claudia Pineda: My first experience at Paraíso in (S8) changed the course of my career. During the screening of the short film, an ICAA scout saw it and proposed it for the Short Film Corner at the Cannes Film Festival. After weeks of waiting and several shortlists, I was one of five film students in Spain selected to attend the incredible festival in France. But beyond this great professional opportunity, my time at (S8) has been truly transformative. It’s an incredible space for exchange, for learning about and discovering magical cinema, and it’s a festival that I feel very proud to have taken part in. I’m eternally grateful for all the love and support received in recent years from the (S8) team.

Each of the three (S8)s that I attended were truly special, but I particularly enjoyed the immersive sections in the courtyard of the Seoane Foundation, and I would highlight the chance to see Val del Omar’s triptych together with great experts in his work. I was also able to participate in programmes with inspiring filmmakers such as Amy Halpern, Dianna Barrie and Richard Tuohy, and it was an incredible experience to chat with these artists at the end of the sessions. I always return from (S8) with a notebook full of recommendations and new ideas that inspire me to continue creating and wanting to come back next year.