Perturbed And Questioning: Carlota Pereda On Her Short "Piggy"
Writer/director Carlota Pereda’s latest short, Cerdita (or Piggy), tackles topical issues like bullying and body shaming with brutal force. In many respects, the film is a cautionary tale about the devastating effects of bullying and how our focus on superficial details, such as someone’s appearance, can cause us to overlook more important — and potentially life-threatening — things.
Sara is an overweight teen that lives in the shadow of a clique of cool girls holidaying in her village. Not even her childhood friend, Claudia, defends her when she’s bullied at the local pool in front of an unknown man. Her clothes are stolen and Sara must get home wearing nothing but her bikini. The long walk home will mark the rest of her life.
The film has won more than 50 prestigious film awards, including the high profile Goya Award, and been selected for over 200 high profile film festivals. We had the opportunity to chat with Carlota about the film, its subject matter, horror, and much more.
First off, congratulations on the film! The reception has certainly been incredible; it was selected for over 200 festivals and has taken away over 60 awards, including the Goya award. How does it feel to have your film listed as an Oscar qualifier?
It is exciting! And a great way to get more people interested in our film and its message.
Where did the seeds of the project originate, and what was your creative process like?
I’d recently become a mother, with all the fear and anxieties that brings you. That summer, I saw this lonely teenage girl at the pool - the same pool the story is filmed at - and it got me thinking: why does she come here all alone? Why does she come when there’s no one else around? I wrote the short that same evening.
The short focuses on body shaming and the effects of bullying. What was it about these issues that resonate with you?
In this society, we have to deal with different degrees of body shaming every single day of our lives. Also, I’m a woman raising a young girl with another woman. Bullying terrifies me.
Given the delicate nature of the film’s subject matter and the dark places it goes, how did you work with the actors to create a safe space that allowed them to be vulnerable?
That was the most important part, really. Laura Galán is 31 years old, a terrific actress and very sure of herself, her worth and her beauty. We were all very open about what we very going to tell, how we were going to achieve it and what we were comfortable doing before we even started production.
The film has a horror movie feel that becomes amplified the further it moves along. Why was it important to you to incorporate the horror element within this story?
I love genre. I think it is a fantastic way to tackle any subject matter in a freer way. Also, genre movies appeal to all audiences. I didn’t want to make a short for the already convinced as most social cinema does. I wanted to catch people off guard.
Were there any films in particular that you drew inspiration or used as a roadmap from for this project?
Well, the cinema of Bong Joon-ho and the way he mixes genres seamlessly, always with a social undertone, being very local. Chicho Ibañez Serrador’s ¿Quién puede matar a un niño? (Who Can Kill a Child?) for the summer horror in plain light of day and L'Innconu du Lac (Stranger by the Lake) by Alain Guiraudie for the atmosphere.
What do you hope that audiences take away from the film?
I hope they leave the room perturbed and questioning.
What can you tell us about your upcoming projects?
I’ve just finished a new short There Will be Monsters and I’m working on my first feature for Morena Films, based on Piggy.
What do you think? Share your thoughts and feelings in the comments section below, and as always, remember to viddy well!