“Dummies:” Behind the Scenes with a Manhattan International Film Festival Finalist from Spain

FOTOGRAMA 5On March 1st, the Manhattan International Film Festival, organized by the World Youth Alliance, will take place in New York. I, Daniel Alva, am a finalist with my short film, Dummies!

A year ago I was beginning my final thesis  project at the University of Navarre in Spain. I cannot believe I am now flying to New York City to meet other young filmmakers from around the globe to share our passion: film and storytelling.

Dummies began as a simple test of animation with a narrative structure.  I had no idea how to even produce it, since I did not study at animation school, but rather film, TV and digital media.  However,  the effort I put into the story has impressed several international film festivals. Our film is being screened with great animated masterpieces.

I do not want to spoil the story, but I want to share with you what the short film means to me. My short film speaks about long-distance relationships, which are quite common today.  At the time, I was in the middle of a long-distance relationship. Without consciously realizing it,  I was suffusing my personal experiences into the short film. I thought I was speaking about two dummies (or mannequins) who stood on different shopfronts and who seemed to face different destinies. After some time,  I began to understand that my own desires and experiences were reflected in the dummies.

We live in a world in which we appear to be more connected but simultaneously are more distant than ever, even when we are close physical proximity to another. My first short film, Caracola, also explored this alienating effect of technology: the decrease in verbal communications with others, and our choice to replace this communication with short messages transcribed through  email and social networks. Perhaps I am the one who is over-obsessed with these themes.  But maybe it is just the crude truth of our reality that we have to face and to improve so we do not lose our humanity in today’s technologically-controlled environment .

I am ecstatic about the success of Dummies. I am travelling around the world, with almost 20 official selections and one award in Spain! I am learning a lot and my dream to work in animation film-making seems nearer!

 As soon as the short film Dummies completes its itinerary of festivals, I will make it available online. If you want to know more about our project, just visit us on Facebook or Twitter and contact us!

 By Daniel P. Alava, a Manhattan International Film Festival finalist and film director from Spain

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