Filmmaker Leonardo Pirondi on creating art during a pandemic

Being a filmmaker is never an easy job. One chooses to go into the field because they love it, because they cannot picture themselves doing anything else; it is not because it is the easy route. However, 2020 has presented challenges to the industry that have made even some of the most dedicated filmmakers question their future. 

Nevertheless, Brazil’s celebrated filmmaker Leonardo Pirondi (known for his work on (un)MUTE, ESMAECER, An Earthquake Opera in Two Acts, The Illusionists Cube, and This is Mine, This is Yours) has spent the year doing what a true artist does best: creating, although it was not easy. 

The three films that Pirondi had begun working on and partially shot during the era before COVID had to be put on hold. From March until September he had sleepless nights thinking about his projects and how they would be finished. 

“As much as I am a very independent artist that fills a lot of roles in the production of my films, it was impossible to get my two films done during this time. Luckily all of this changed, and I was able to film the remaining shots. I’m currently on the post production stage of my next projects and I am very grateful that I am still able to make work under the circumstances,” he said.

However, Pirondi’s latest film, Earth had Issues Loading was mixed and finalized in early March, just one mere week before the industry shut down for months. This allowed him to work on distribution during a time when many filmmakers were at a loss.

Earth had Issues loading… takes a look at human’s relationship with climate change. It provides commentary on technology, industrial development, and the significance of the world, and dives into the abusive relationship between humans and nature. It is a project close to Pirondi’s heart because of what it means in his career as well as the ideas it communicates.

“This was my transition film from digital to 16mm, which speaks about the feelings and thoughts I have on climate change and the destruction of the planet in real life while creating a simulated Earth in the digital realm where everything is controllable and designed to be perfect. I think it is important for people to watch this and think about how we are behaving in our daily lives, how much we are interacting with the real world versus a simulated one, and how much hope is left for the future of our miniscule blue planet flying through space,” he said.

When it came to distribution, COVID created some problems initially for Pirondi and his team. He and Sound Mixer Andrew Kim had finished a surround sound mix of the film that sounded truly spectacular in a theater situation, but unfortunately all the festivals became online, and that experience has not yet arrived to audiences. Despite this, the film has still had a tremendous run, screening at the Festival ECRÃ in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, the Milwaukee Underground Film Festival, Moviate Underground Film Festival, San Diego Underground Film Festival, and more recently at the CalArts thurs.night gallery.
It is always great to make a film that is well received by an audience, although this year there were no live Q&A’s as there would typically be in person and in a theatre. Regardless of the exhibition method, I’m happy that my voice has been heard. I think that a film about the environment is more important than ever, we live in the end of times even before COVID. All over the planet governments and the people need to start changing our behavior towards our home. I hope my film made people consider their interaction with the world around them,” Pirondi concluded.

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