Anima came to be this past summer (2016). After deeply commiting to the production of a short, which had essentially led me to a consecutive number of personal and creative dissapointments, I came to a conclusion, which was that I should write about what I know. I should write and direct something that meant something to me. Maybe by doing this I could engage the audience; the short could be transcendental for someone out there; and maybe, and most importantly, it would make sense at a cognitive and metaphorical level. This premise, however, was undoubtably broad and I didn't know where to start. I thus decided to dig into my past. I brainstormed: what has made me who I am today? Evidently a lot of answers came to mind. However, there was one over all of them that seemed to reverberate in my brain: bullying.
Throughout most of my childhood, bullying was my defyning trait, and by 'bullying' I mean being bullied. I was mainly scrutinized, on the surface for being slightly overweight, but under the surface, for what I believe was me being different. A small group of bullies haunted both my days and dreams. They alone were able to make every boy and girl in class despise me, and forced me to change. They seemed to be engaged in a personal vendetta against all kids; to make every child become an adult. They humiliated me for liking the things I was supposed to enjoy and forced me into liking what I wasn't supposed to. They made me feel ashamed of being who I was-at the age of eleven.
And they succeeded. They changed me. It was only when I finished school, 6 years later, that I realized that I had become what I hated most - an empty pastiche lacking empathy and personality. My own insecurities doomed me.
So, why not make a film depicting what I had lived? Why not make a film for my eleven-year-old self, a film to show those who are being bullied that they can make it through? Then again, that would just be more of the same. So, I decided to target a different audience: the parents.
Anima is my answer to all of these questions. It is the short that I would've liked my bullies' parents to see when we were children, and I believe that it is a short that can help raise awareness on a still very much omnipresent issue in our society. Anima is a tragic coming-of-age story, where I show how a psychotic bully is able to exterminate a kid's ability to believe. It is tragic because the main character stops being a kid; and terrifying, because the hero ultimately becomes the villain. Or does he?
Ashton Quiroz as ... Oliver
Paul Maragni as ... Luke
Mariano Schoendorff Ares as ... Wallace
Carolina Riesgo as ... Oliver's Mom
Written and Directed by ... Mariano Schoendorff Ares
Produced by ... Pablo Riesgo, Olivia Cottenden & Mariano Schoendorff Ares
Cinematography by ... Manuel von E. Dixen
Edited by ... Mariano Schoendorff Ares
Music Composed by ... Luis D. Agulló