Daniela Wayllace is a Belgian director and animator raised in Bolivia, she is the director of the dance animation MEMENTO MORI that is currently up on EuroIFC.
When did you start your career as an animator?
It all started back in 2008 when I began my studies in animation at ENSAV – La Cambre, an art school based in Brussels.
How would you describe your life as an animator?
It’s a hard life because every animation project needs investment. At the same time, it’s a very rewarding being able to see your projects come alive and also, it’s fun to work with people that are not necessarily animators.
According to your artistic point, who or what is the main inspiration for creating the concept of your stories?
I was born in Belgium but raised in Bolivia, as both my parents are Bolivian. So, I was able to be in contact with both worlds, both realities. I think one of my sources of inspiration comes from there. When I studied arts, back in Bolivia, I used to love Art History classes. I love the medieval art and themes that are in some way recurrent in my work. This is mixed with the European romanticism and expressionist. My other source of inspiration, will always be music. I think music is a wonderful way to express emotions and in the filmmaking process is a very important element – image and music together make the film what it is.
Tell us a bit about your film MEMENTO MORI. Is there a background story for picking up the name MEMENTO MORI (Latin ‘remember that you will die’)?
As I mentioned, I’m a huge fan of medieval art, religious art, romanticism and expressionism. I guess “Memento Mori” is not only La Cambre graduation film, but also the product from a long path, which I began in 1997 when I first began the University in Bolivia. I was raised in a Protestant-Catholic environment and the subject is very much inspired in the beliefs and faith of Christian world. Death and life beyond death, the promise of the eternal light, the Eternal Peace after a hard struggling life in Earth. As a woman, I believe that raping is harsh and painful matter, a crime that destroys one’s life. It is like an anguishing path that the victim goes through alone, with the feeling that no one is there to help. But I also trust that somehow there must be a light at the end of such a dark tunnel, that there exists some peace for the victim after all his struggling. That’s why I chose a MEMENTO MORI to tell this story. The human life is so fragile and in many ways, so defendless to all the danger is that the only certainty is that we all are going to die. What happens next is a personal belief. In my case, I choose to believe in a hope after death.
How long did the creating of the film take?
It took me almost 2 years to finish this project. It was a long way from the plot writing and conception until the last product, which is the film as you’ve seen it. It wasn’t easy to deal with such difficult subject and transpose it to an animation language.
Is MEMENTO MORI inspired by some true events from your life?
While I was working at a dance company, I had a conversation with my dance director. She is a sociologist who works with cultural and gender issues in the Altiplano of Bolivia. One of the most serious problems is the women’s and children’s human rights. Most of these crimes never hit the light because the victims are ashamed or afraid to go the police. So they have to endure the aggressors their whole life. I guess this was at the beginning for working in a human rights film with this not very usual subject in animation. I wanted to create some kind of awareness about what is happening now with children and women, not only in Bolivia but in many countries. We are living violent times in a violent world. It is important to shed light on to this huge problem and try to find solutions. Society must act.
What relationship do you have with the folklore traditions that are used in your film? Can you tell us something more about these traditions?
I take Bolivian traditions as well as Christian traditions. In Bolivia exists a strong cult to the Death. When the Catholicism got in the New World, natives mixed their beliefs with the Christian faith. That’s how they preserved themselves for more than 500 years. Today we can see how Catholicism and paganism co exist in Bolivia. After all, I brought up surrounded by these traditions. I don’t think “folklore” is a good term to explain my film’s nature. Because the theme is much closer to the romantic tradition mixed with the rituals existing in autochthonous cultures than a “folklore geographic- centered tradition”.
What’s next? Are there any other projects that you are currently working on?
Currently I’m working with a musician for a musical show. And I’m preparing my next film, which is the story of two lovers.
Screening films online – what are your thoughts about that? What do you think is the future of web and films?
I think it is a wonderful way to show our work to the world. It is great that art is not captive in galleries anymore. Art evolves with the society, and the film distribution media as well. The web gives an opportunity for films to be seen by people all over the world. Definitively, screening film in the web lets your work live longer than the two-year life in the festival circuit.
And finally, what do you think about EuroIFC?
EuroIFC is a wonderful project! I think it is a very fine proposition. I mean, I never thought that my film would be in the EuroIFC! It is a great opportunity and honor to be broadcasted in this channel. And I also learned about the “mobile cinema” concept! It’s great to see how technology and film channels evolve everyday. Thinking about broadcasting films in a gadget 40 or 50 years ago wouldn’t be possible, but now you can! And on the other hand, thanks to the internet, independent films and you get the opportunity to touch someone in the other part of this planet, whom you’ll never meet.I just have to say that’s just brilliant!
You can watch MEMENTO MORI here.