By BOB GILLEN | Published: JANUARY 26, 2015
Nuno Sá Pessoa, film director at Skookum Films, is a true global visual storyteller. Educated in Denmark, based in Portugal, and working extensively in Brazil and the United States, Sá Pessoa knows firsthand what it means to collaborate internationally.
“Cinema, as any other art,” says Sá Pessoa, “should have no boundaries. It’s a global language and the more you know of the world and its people, the easier it is for you as an artist to express what you want in a way that can reach each and every kind of person.”
Are there common visual storytelling elements that span various countries and cultures? “I was born in Portugal, studied in Denmark, and have lived and worked in Brazil and the USA. All four countries,” says Sá Pessoa, “are as different as their cinema, and all four have consciously or subconsciously influenced me in every aspect of who I am. But considering that the USA is the biggest melting pot of the world and the biggest ‘exporter’ of cinema, I would say in a very general way, that it’s the one I can relate to the most, because that’s my aim as a filmmaker, reaching the world.”
After beginning film school in Portugal, Sá Pessoa transitioned to Denmark’s The European Film College. “Art and culture are intrinsically connected,” says Sá Pessoa, “and at The European Film College they meet as in no other place. Teachers and students come from all four corners of the world, united by their passion for cinema and with an urge to create. It’s a highly practical course and I think that’s essential if you want to pursue a career as a filmmaker. Studying there definitely allowed me to both culturally and artistically broaden my horizons and it has set the stage for what I wanted for my future.”
Sá Pessoa’s most challenging film project? “Terra 2084 was my biggest challenge so far. It’s a sci-fi short in which I tried to express my thoughts and feelings on the situation the world and Portugal in specific are going through right now by combining it with sci-fi and fantasy. For that reason it was artistically challenging.
“At another level it was economically challenging,” says Sá Pessoa, “since I wrote, directed, produced and edited it on a virtually nonexistent budget. But, as in other projects, the striving to make it is greater than the economic boundaries, and the effort was taken ahead by the whole cast and crew in order for the film to be completed.”
“I can’t say I have a favorite film genre,” says Sá Pessoa. “It ranges from different genres which are in some way connected, such as horror, fantasy, thriller and sci-fi. Maybe the easiest way to sum it up is to say that one of my biggest influences is the original Twilight Zone series.”
“In a general way maybe I want my audiences to take away from my films what I took from The Twilight Zone: deep and relevant messages which are delivered to the audience in an unconventional way that makes us travel to a different dimension at one level and yet very similar to our own in its essence.”