Within and Lascas are explorations of a female loneliness. They try to create a direct connection between the audience and the characters, they protagonists, we antagonists. They, who shield their feelings of fear and guilt, which sometimes don't even seem to reveal themselves to you - and we who consume them, looking at them inside and out, necessarily judging them. The pressure that closes them in on themselves is not visible within the filmic space. The narratives remain opaque, they try to be neutral mediators, because their problems are complex - a woman who cannot overcome her own mental condition to support her young children, or another who finds the possibility of losing her career because of a late period terrifying. For them, no solution is offered, simply the character, difficult to empathize with, who acts better or worse, but always within a context.
The themes of gender and mental illness connect often to my work - being born a woman and living with anxiety make them inescapable. However, what fascinates me most about these themes is not so much the concrete, direct impact society has on women. Much more I am fascinated by how indirectly these impacts make them hostile to themselves, locked in an internal cycle of judgment, of difficulty in expressing themselves. The ideas for the stories always come out of something that happened to me, or that happened to someone and was told to me, and how these stories come surrounded by judgments. Told by women, to women, about things they all experience, but so often without empathy, even for themselves.
Within was my undergraduate film, a smaller project than Lascas, my master's film. Except for the beautiful narration by Australian Ruth Game, Within was a solo project. Animated frame by frame in 2D, it mixes a simple, thin line, the opaque white of the character, and patterned textures from collages. This style of collages is something I have experimented with over the years, taking images from magazines and repeating them until they become a more abstract blur. The grain of the prints and the pre-existing meanings in each image enrich the stories, bring about other associations - a bit like words do.
Lascas had a slightly larger crew, within the school, because it was a more ambitious project - a film of about ten minutes mixing stop- motion with 2D animation. The sets were built in a relatively large proportion, so that the camera could move freely within them, creating a sufficient degree of information to support a realistic look. At the time of the "shooting" there were small cardboard cut-outs of the characters to create the focus and composition of the shots. In a next phase I digitally added the characters in 2D over the photographed images, and we animated from there. This visual clash between the characters and the backgrounds represents their difficulty in fitting into the place where they are, in relating to it and to each other. The difficulty of a 2D image traversing a stop-motion set mirrors the difficulty of the characters traversing the space between them to interact in a direct way. The two-dimensional world, in this film more associated with a psychological panorama, lives in permanent tension with the physical, photographic world, more connected to the real world.
She was born in Braga in 1992 and spent the first part of her life between Braga, Vila do Conde and Porto. Natália studied Fine Arts, Painting, at Faculdade de Belas Artes da Universidade do Porto and Audiovisual Communication, Multimedia, at Escola Artística de Soares dos Reis; during this time she participated in several independent comic and illustration fanzines, as well as in some collective exhibitions. During the last years he lived in Budapest, where he could deepen his theoretical and technical knowledge of animation at Moholy- Nagy University of Art and Design. Her films have been shown in festivals around the world, including Animateka in Slovenia, Seoul International Cartoon and Animated Film Festival in South Korea and Womanimation in the USA, as well as CINANIMA, Monstra, Caminhos do Cinema Português and Curtas de Vila do Conde, all in Portugal. Nowadays, Natália lives in Porto, where she works as a freelancer in animation, writes and develops her next films.