Carlota Pereda’s latest short film, Piggy (Cerdita), is a dark tale that drives home the devastating impact of bullying.
It tells the story of a young teen, Sarah (Laura Galán), who is subject to cruel bullying from a group of girls while trying to swim in her local pool. Ridiculed for her weight, Sarah has her clothes stolen and faces an humiliating journey home – one that she will never forget.
Carlota joins us on Close-up Culture for a quick chat about Piggy, working with Laura Galàn, and emerging Spanish filmmakers.
Q: I heard the idea for ‘Piggy’ came to you while you were spending time at the same pool that is featured in the film. Can you share that story with us?
A: I used to spend summers with my family in Villanueva de La Vera, Cáceres. With a young child at home, my only free time was nap time. I used it to go for a swim at the local natural pool.
I would be under the scorching sun in an almost empty pool, but for one local teenager. She was there every afternoon in the heat of the day, on her own. I realised she chose that time of day to avoid people seeing her in a bathing suit.
Q: The film shows the cruel nature of bullying and humiliation, but also how focusing on this young girl’s differences leads everyone to miss the real monster in the water. What interested you about this idea?
A: I’m interested in the circle of violence. How one small act can break it or perpetuate it.
Q: Laura Galán has to be incredibly vulnerable with her body in the film. How did you work with Laura to prepare for the role and gain her trust?
A: We bonded pretty much immediately. She’s a clever woman who understood what we wanted to say and how. We worked very well together, trusting each other from the get go.
Q: It must have also have been tough for Elisabet Casanovas to embody a character of cruelty and betrayal. What was Elisabet like to work with?
A: She’s great. Such a sweet young woman. Cruelty doesn’t come naturally to her at all. We approached her character as a victim of her own weakness, of peer pressure. Something very common when you’re a teen.
Q: I don’t want to spoil the ending for anyone, but we witness a bloody retribution. Why did you want to end on this note?
A: Revenge fantasies are common in lonely children. But mostly I wanted people to wonder why they felt so good about something so bad.
Q: I’ve recently been impressed by the work of Andrea Jaurrieta, Rodrigo Sorogoyen, Alice Waddington, yourself and others. How do you see the current landscape of Spanish cinema? Is there a bright future ahead?
A: I think the future is bright. There are fantastic new storytellers coming from the short film circuit and television and production companies are starting to trust their vision.
Q: What are your ambitions and plans for the future?
A: I’m working on my debut feature, based on my first short, The Blondes. It is a comedy-thriller.