Carla Melo Gampert is a visual artist who graduated from the Universidad Javeriana in Bogotá as well as the Film program at the Universidad Torcuato di Tella in Buenos Aires. Her graduate thesis, the animated short film, “Por ahora un cuento,” had its international premiere at the Annecy International Film Festival before travelling to Dok Leipzig, FicValdivia, Curta Kinoforum and São Paulo, among others. In addition to her work as a director, she curates audiovisual exhibitions with Porosa Animación (Moebius).
Tara Karajica talks to Carla Melo Gampert about “La Perra,” her last animated short that was selected in the Official Selection of the 2023 Cannes Film Festival and has also screened at the 2024 Clermont-Ferrand International Short Film Festival.
How did you get into filmmaking and what inspires you?
Carlo Melo Gampert: I studied Art and I also did a lot of Contemporary Dance. For my university thesis, I had to do something, and I had always drawn a lot and I was missing the movement of drawing, so I decided to mix it with dance. And, I discovered that that was animation. I also do fiction, but I think there is something I need from movement – I danced a lot and then I quit. What inspires me, I think, are personal stories. I think I cannot talk about things I don’t I know. So, for La Perra, there was this pressure and I needed to say something and I was like: “I don’t know anything but my own story.”
Can you talk about your short film La perra?
C.M.G.: It was during the pandemic and fiction film producers called me. They had never done animation before. My dog died a year before that. The grief was still very strong, especially during the pandemic because you felt the lack of love in the house. So, I started to think about how my dog marked my life. She arrived to my home when I was eleven and she died when I was twenty-five or twenty-six. So, I think it was like seeing all of my childhood, teenage years and my adulthood and when she died, it was like she took all those parts of my life. It was that and also to see how I couldn’t speak with my mom at this time and she was the bridge between us.
How do you see the short form today?
C.M.: I think it’s another format. I think short films are another language. It’s very, very difficult to make a story and to empathize it with characters. It’s like a little poem or a little tale. It’s different and you have to be smarter. You have to find a way to figure out a story.
What is your opinion on women in film today?
C.M.: I can speak for Colombia. I think what happened with La perra is that it made me realize that there are a lot of women filmmakers, but it’s hard to see them because the industry wants to always see men. So, with La perra in Cannes, it was a way to see what has been happening before in animation in Colombia and I think it has made it stronger. But in Colombia, there are a lot of women making amazing films. It is very important, and we have to change the narrative.
Who is your favorite female filmmaker and what is your favorite film by a female filmmaker?
C.M.: Marta Pajak. She’s an animator who can mix animation and the story very well. She’s very clever. And, there is also Florence Miailhe from France. She does lovely animations. She can tell the everyday life of women in animation and you can go deep into it. It’s like going under the skin and you can understand and feel what the characters are feeling.
What are your next projects?
C.M.: I am doing another animation that I want to mix with live action. I’m not sure yet. But it’s in the Colombian Pacific Coast and I want to do something with a girl and her father who has stopped talking to her.
Photo credits: Courtesy of the Clermont-Ferrand International Short Film Festival.
This interview was conducted at the 2024 Clermont-Ferrand International Short Film Festival.