Small Town Big Hell: A Conversation with PIGGY Writer and Director Carlota Pereda

by Carlota Pereda porcine Where Cerdita in Spanish, had its world premiere this week at the Sundance Film Festival. This is Pereda’s first feature film. Pereda, the writer and director, was named as one of Variety’s 10 Spanish female directors and producers to follow. His short films Las Rubias, There will be monstersand Cerdita has received more than 200 international awards, including the Goya, the prestigious Spanish national film award. The film stars the incredibly talented and fearless Laura Galán as Sara, who suddenly witnesses the kidnapping of the girls tormenting her by a mysterious and dangerous man. The film also stars Richard Holmes, Carmen Machi, Irene Ferreiro and Camille Aguilar. In porcineviewers will find a distinctive and chilling take on human nature from a director who adores the horror genre and challenges audiences to empathize with people they may not like or understand.

Pereda sat down to talk with FANGORIA ahead of the premiere.

How did you decide to make a film on this particular subject?

I always wanted to make a film about bullying, maybe one about homophobia. But I had the idea for the short film while watching this girl alone in a swimming pool. It was siesta time, when it’s so hot there’s no one outside. It was just me and this girl, and I started to wonder why she was there. The short film was born from this idea. The film comes from the fact that I fell in love with the character, and I also fell in love with his conflict, because from a moral point of view, it was so strong that he just wouldn’t let go of me.

It sounds like a coming-of-age story, but the conflict is, at least for me, centered around how she was becoming her own person. She had a clear choice, the choice to be like the people who hurt her or not.

Yes, you know, sometimes what we don’t do defines us as much as what we do.

I’ve noticed there’s a very strong element to this type of Spanish humor that isn’t as likable as some people might like. How did you find the actress?

It took me two years to find the actress for the short film. When I made the short film afterwards, we got along so well. We understood each other so well that there was never the idea of ​​changing the actress for the film. For me, it was great because I made the movie for her. I knew everything in the movie, she could do it and do it perfectly well. So it was fantastic. It was so easy. And what you say about humor. We deal with violence in everyday life in Spain. We deal with our violence with humor, and sometimes that humor is very dark.

One thing you’ve really managed to do with the film is that the viewer really puts themselves in the main character’s shoes.

It was my main goal. I wanted people to walk in her shoes and understand what it’s like to be her, for 24 hours of her life. For the entire duration of the film, you walk in her shoes and feel for her. Your idea of ​​her changes with the film, your conception of her as a person will change when you finish watching the film.

We tend to make a lot of judgments about people based on superficial and external characteristics.

For me, it’s a theme that really haunts me. My first short film, which is a comedy, a thriller-comedy, is about that too. It’s about how your whole life can be defined just by your race or how you look. It’s just crazy.

I think a lot of people expect movies to have very clearly defined reasons and characters to act immediately. As if you were supposed to make up your mind immediately and start shooting a gun.

For me, it was all about ambiguity. When you’re a teenager, you’re confused. You don’t know what you’re doing, and you step into the world. You don’t even understand your body. You may not even like your body. I think it’s part of being human. This is part of what we have to address and accept. I think one of the things the pandemic has shown us is that we all have dark things inside of us. We have seen it around us. It’s right there. There’s no reason to act like it’s not.

I think it’s really essential to accept that darkness or anger or resentment or any of those things inside of ourselves because it gets worse if you don’t deal with it.

Exactly. For me, that’s pretty much it. You have to learn it and embrace it, and it’s quite a journey.

I think it’s something people need to see. I don’t know if it’s like that in Spain, but here people really judge others.

In Spain, families and other people are in your company all the time. It’s like Latino families, I think it’s the same. They will tell you to dress better or tell you if you would dress more like a woman, if you did your hair that way, if you ate less. They are always on your case. It has to stop.

Are there certain directors you draw inspiration from? Do you go to the movies or do you go to books for inspiration?

For inspiration, I try to go to reality. But, of course, I watch movies and read books because I like them. I will say that afterwards, I realized that a big inspiration for the film was The Texas Chainsaw Massacre and a Spanish film called who can kill a child. As well, lake of eden and problems every day by Claire Denis.

The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, I think it’s wonderful. For me, it’s an art film.

For me, it’s an absolute masterpiece. The composition and all that relates to it. Just amazing. It’s very realistic, and it’s also the first film that really scared me. Yeah, well that and night of the living dead. Corn The Texas Chainsaw Massacre is one of those movies that scared me before I even saw it. It was one of the main references in my film and also one of the few films that I put a tribute in the film, but I cut it. He didn’t make it to the final cut.

Why did you choose the small town as the setting rather than one of the big cities?

For starters, because there’s the idea that you have this very idyllic town and something really bad is going on there. In addition, I know the region very well because I spend my summers there. My family comes from this part of the country. Because it’s very stuck in time and it’s one of the poorest regions in Spain. There is also this saying which is true, small town, big hell. When I spoke to the children who had been bullied in the village, they said that you go to school, the same children who bully you in school are the same children who bully you in the street. There are only three streets. Then you go home and you have the internet, and there too they bully you. There is no escape. The more claustrophobic it is, the better it works for the film.

What’s really weird is that the internet has made the reach of bullies much longer.

Yes, there is no more private space.

What are you looking to achieve in filmmaking in the future?

I want to make films that move me in one way or another. Where I feel some kind of connection, and I want to make genre films. Because I feel more comfortable with the genre and because I also want to entertain. I want to make films that are like open doors for us to come in and take sides – a film where you experience the story the same way the characters do. I just want to make films that are entertaining, but also meaningful, at least for me.

Do you have any projects you are working on next?

I’m working on a longer version of my first short, which is a true-story, comedy-thriller. I am currently seeking funding for my next film, a fantasy horror film.

Interestingly, there are people who despise the genre and don’t think about how some of the masters of mainstream cinema, like Francis Ford Coppola and Martin Scorsese, got started in exploitation or the genre. of horror.

Spielberg has made two of the best horror films.

I think people forget that. Some directors like to challenge their audience, some directors like to try to involve their audience. What goal do you find most crucial in your work?

I prefer to challenge them. Yes, I want them to leave the cinema and if they like it, they keep thinking about it. And if they hated him, let them hate him passionately.

I think that’s a great way to think about it, because even if someone hates your work, they react very strongly to it.

Yes, because you had a point of view that they so strongly opposed. If you are bland, there will be no reaction.

Horror movie lovers have the opportunity to watch porcine at the Sundance Film Festival Online during its on-demand public screening window beginning Wednesday, January 26 at 10:00 a.m. EST, 8:00 a.m. Mountain Standard Time, or 7:00 a.m. Pacific normal. Tickets can be purchased here. porcine is part of a new wave of female-led, female-centric horror films that are breaking new ground in the genre for all horror movie fans to enjoy.