MERRA Marie is a Argentinian audio-visual artist and photographer who studies film at the National University of La Plata.
Close-up Culture caught up with the young filmmaker to learn more about her background and her impressive early work.
Q: As a university student, you must be surrounded by tons of creative people finding their voice like yourself. How are you enjoying this experience and how do you see your style developing?
A: WHEN I was eighteen and I did not know what university was like. I had a lot of prejudices about film university and that is why I did a year of graphic design.
I learned a lot, especially about editorial design and typographies, but I came to realise it was not really my thing. I never stopped taking photographs and making little videos – practicing and hoping to teach myself.
When I finally decided to study film I started with a lot of new weapons, things I learned at graphic design class. Being surrounded by people who share this interest with you is a very important thing. Of course, not everyone does but being able to work together and getting to know each other is such an awesome and unique experience that I enjoy. I am inspired by my peers and I hope I inspire them as well.
Q: Using The Empress as an example, can you talk us through your usual creative process?
A: IN my creative process I give a lot of space to spontaneity. Sometimes there are certain images I have in mind or a certain song that I want to work with.
So I prepare some things and then start shooting just how it feels. For example, in The Empress I had heard that song/poem and I knew I wanted to use it in one of my videos.
Also I knew I wanted to work with a mirror as “the other self” and the beach was actually an invitation to go but it worked out perfectly (initially I had in mind only a forest).
I also wanted softness in the movements with a light dress and some body movements. And I wanted some harsh, punctual stops like her suddenly falling.
Q: I know you have been working on a feature film script. How are you building up to that challenge?
A: THIS summer I started writing my first feature film written just by me – Iast year I wrote one with two other friends.
It is really personal. It covers two coming of age stories in a road movie and it is set in South America. I enjoy the process very much, but it is also true that I am kind of stuck.
Also, last year I wrote an adaptation of a short story and now I am writing something based on Suicide by Edouard Leve. I do not even have the rights to shoot it (ha!) but I wish I can make it so good someone will actually buy them and make it into a movie for me. Someday, who knows?
Q: Can you name one or two filmmakers or artists that you draw inspiration from?
A: I ADORE the work of Harley Weir, especially her videos. I am really inspired by the montage she does.
Also I always have in mind Agnes Varda, the famous pair Wissa and Jessicah Sarah Rinland who has done some really good experimental videos. I highly recommend watching Nulepsy on her Vimeo.
Q: What is the art scene for you locally in Argentina? Is there room and acceptance for the female filmmaker?
A: THERE is not enough space for women in any art in any part of the world and that, sadly, is a fact.
We are changing stuff though. We need to keep pushing and scream our ideas out loud – so loud we can hear each other and not be afraid of anything and make it happen. We need to converge in certain aspects and respect each other when needed. Always listen, respect and give room to the ones who barely have it.
I know I have to live my life as a filmmaker in a constant battle because I am a middle class student. But even still I have it better (as in representation) than other minorities (poor people, people of colour and trans). I know that and I also know we need to get together and once for all throw down the patriarchy. I know we will. We just gotta keep on pushing.
Q: What are your ambitions and what do you feel will be the biggest hurdles to those goals?
A: RIGHT at this moment of my life I dream of directing a video for Gucci. Is that too much to ask? But I would not invite models but common people. I want to give everyone a voice. I mean everyone should wear Gucci!
Besides that, I would love to work in movies and fashion films. So if anyone wants to give me a job this is the time. I am free and eager to do stuff.