INTERVIEW WITH VICTOR-HUGO BORGES
If a great music is the half of the success for a rock band, then the music video must be
the other. Since the beginning of MTV in the early 1980's, the audience has been raised
to believe, that every released single must be accompanied by a video clip. Video killed
the radio star, remember? In the last two decades, millions of music videos have been
produced; some ridiculously expensive, some boring and some simply astonishingly...
bad. Luckily for our eyes, in the depths of the world wide web, we can find true
masterpieces. One of them is certainly the hauntingly beautiful animation to "Residual
presence" by an American band Ascension of the Watchers led by Burton C Bell (City
of Fire, Fear Factory). The video has been directed by Victor Borges. Born in 1979 in
Santos he is an acclaimed Brazilian artist, director and graphic designer. He started his
professional carrier in 1999 and since then his works have received more than 50
prestigious awards, have been shown on more than hundred festivals in 20 different
countries. Despite being a very busy man, Victor was kind enough to answer questions
from Arnaud Mittempergher, Ryan James Opsal, Sandra (Wormgir), Antonia Fraser,
David J Mazur, Rita and Malicia Dabrowicz.
Question 1: Your short movie "Icarus" has
been turned into a video for Ascension of
the Watchers. Can you tell us how the
collaboration between you and the band
Victor-Hugo Borges: Actually I don't
remember exactly how it began, hehe. My
theory is: I have some common friends
with Burton C. Bell. They have showed
him some stuff I made. Then Burton
recommended me to Angie Jourgensen, the
label manager. The rest is as you already know. Burton is a really sweet guy; we've talked a lot about
family, vacations and mundane stuff. I like to work for PEOPLE, you know. Not celebrities.
Question 2: Why did you decide to make the video to "Residual presence"? Have you heard this song
Victor-Hugo Borges: Burton showed me
the song before it was released. He gave
"Residual presence" and "Like Falling
Snow". It was easy for me to decide, as
"Residual presence" has a "theme" I
really like. You can also see it in some
of my early works as well.
Question 3: What was your inspiration
for the style of this video and how long
did the animation take to complete?
Victor-Hugo Borges: My own childhood was my inspiration. My father abandoned me and I had to
create my own stories to explain his absence. The animation took about a year to be completed. At
first it was a short movie. I showed it to Burton and said: "Hey, I have just finished an animation that
fits this song, if you like it, we can re-edit it
into a music video". Burton's answer was:
"Wow, let's do it!".
Question 4: What type of software was used
to make the video? Have you ever
considered using a style similar to Kinetic
Victor-Hugo Borges: I don't remember all
software used to make this animation but
certainly it included: Stop Motion Pro,
Combustion, Maya, Photoshop, 3D Studio
and several others. Kinetic Topography is
great. Maybe someday I will try to
experiment with it.
Question 5: Any other secrets on how the animation was made?
Victor-Hugo Borges: I can give you some interesting facts. All stop-motion sequences were recorded
in the animator's living room. She decided to do her job at home to give this movie her full attention.
We literally had to destroy her lounge to install all lighting and the green screens. We also installed a
huge generator in her kitchen, as the electric lines in the house were not powerful enough to
completely light the set. Most of the movie was shot against the green screen and the backgrounds
were constructed in CGI. Some backgrounds were also painted in a traditional manner. Sadly, the
original movie's narrator Gianfrancesco Guanieri, died a couple of weeks after the dialogues were
recorded. He was a really well known actor in Brazil.
Question 6: What other videos have you directed?
Victor-Hugo Borges: I've directed a lot of stuff in the last 11 years. Some of videos are available
online, some of them have teasers/trailers online. Most of them don't need translation to be
understood. My personal favorites are:
"Des Fantastik Sucric", made in the late 2001, is
a 2-minute take on a popular Brazilian tale. A boy wants to join
the circus and surprises all with his unique talent. It was
directed by Victor and animated by Claudio Nascimento. "Des
Fantastik Sucric", animation in cuts, was awarded a 2001 Mapa
Cultural Paulista and received an honorary mention at the
"El Chateau" has been praised by critics on the CurtaSantos
Festival and was named the Best Animation of 2002 by
Academia Brasileira de Cinema (Brazilian Film Academy).
This 6-minute long animation tells a dark story of a doomed
romance, red meat and a very unusual restaurant. You simply
do not wish to know what's on the menu!
"Historietas Assombradas (para criancas malcriadas)"
or "The Haunted stories for misbehaving children"
is probably Victor's most accomplished work. It was awarded
more than15 times at different film festivals (Festival de
Tiradentes, Anima Mundi, Cine PE and others). This 15-minute
long movie is divided into three stories told before the bedtime
to "bad" children by their 100 years old grandmother. It has
been narrated by acclaimed actress Myriam Muniz. You can see
the trailer here: http://vimeo.com/8722860
"O Menino que Plantava Invernos" ("The boy who sowed
the winters") is a short 15-minute movie made between 2007 and 2008. It
premiered at the 20th Festival Internacional De Curtas-Metragens in Sao
Paulo in 2009. The animation tells the story of a young boy who lost his
parents right after his birth. Believing the tragedy was caused by an evil
dragon, the boy seeks revenge by conjuring up the coldest winter ever in an
attempt to freeze the horrific monster. You can see the trailer here:
Directed in 2008 and released a year later, "Tristesse Robot" tells the story
of a robot awakened two hundred years after the suicide of his creator. He
automatically tries to search for answers and finds a world full of spiders,
a zombified girl and two ghosts in his way. The short movie debuted at the
13th Luso-Brazilian Film Festival in Santa Maria da Feira, Portugal. Victor
received an Incentive Award from the Ministry of Culture in 2007 that made
the filming of this movie possible. The teaser can be seen here:
"O Bau de Lu" is the newest project of Victor and the first one
created especially for pre-school kids. Luke, the main character
of the series, is a boy who loves creating things and always
carries a huge chest on wheels with him. He keeps all toys and
tools inside the chest, but the magical box also serves as a home
for two of his friends: Mini-mini, a huge monster-pet and Zorba,
a robot with encyclopedia in his head. With their help and his
imagination, Luke can create a whole universe around him. The
trailer can be seen here: http://vimeo.com/9385801
A short 7-minute animation entitled "O Ladrao de Nomes" ("The
Name thief") was created in 2009 especially for the exhibition
"As Palavras e o Mundo" ("The Words and the World")
organized by Brazilian organization SESC.
You can see the full video here:
Question 7: The interpretation of this video could be that
the two-face robot symbolizes the wish to attain
happiness. The man with the hat (we guess he's the
father of the child and died in an airplane accident) is
switching the robot from sad to happy and giving him a
gift because as father, he wants his child to be happy.
But the child rejects the "residual presence" of his father
(he turns the robot back to sad), the gift gets broken and
he scares the people (the pilots of the plane toy) away.
This would mean that he has not accepted the fact that
he's dead; he rejects the thought of his father because it causes him too much pain. But eventually time
passes by and the robot gets happy all by itself, meaning the boy has accepted the death of his father
and got over it ("nothing ever lasts forever", meaning his mourning). So the question would be: is that
interpretation correct? And as an artist, did you have freedom to interpret the lyrics of the song freely
or were you given "instructions" from the band?
Victor-Hugo Borges: I think there isn't a "correct" interpretation. That interpretation is beautiful, so,
that's fine with me. I've seen a lot of different interpretations for this video, some of them are really
inspiring. So, why should I "limit" the potential of the viewers telling them an "official" explanation?
This is why art is so important, to give people some wings.
Question 8: Can you explain, what is the relationship between the child and the toy?
Victor-Hugo Borges: The two-faced toy robot could represent one of the biggest problems we face:
how should we look at things happening in our lives? Even in the darkest hours, I think, we should be
able to CHOOSE if we want to see things in
a positive or negative way. We can't blame
life as it is, everything is a choice.
Question 9: Tell us more about yourself.
What are you working on at the moment?
Victor-Hugo Borges: I'm 32 years old. I live
in Sao Paulo, Brazil's biggest city. I have a
12 years old son, a wife and a dog. I'm
currently working in 2 shows for children
and on a feature film, due in 2013.
Thank you once again for your time and answers.
Victor-Hugo Borges: Thank you all, feel free to add me on Facebook, you are my friends already.
Keep on dreaming!
Interview by Rita and Malicia Dabrowicz,
Official Ascension of the Watchers group: www.facebook.com/#!/groups/21526817840/
Victor-Hugo Borges personal sites:
Deviant art gallery: www.maliboo-stacy.deviantart.com/