Marta Maia Camera Obscura Interview

Marta Maia Camera Obscura Interview

Marta Maia Camera Obscura Interview

Camera Obscura will screen at the opening night (March 6th) of the World of Women: WOW Film Festival 2012 - a short film festival that promotes and awards the talents of women across the Australian film industry and internationally.

Sydney Film School (SFS), renowned as one of the top private film schools globally, adds 'Camera Obscura' to its slate of 77 films which have screened in 106 prestigious film festivals locally and abroad, winning 34 first prizes.

'Camera Obscura' will travel with the festival to 16 national locations and overseas. The film will screen in the 2012 festival competition within the 'Best Australian Animation' category.

Last year, Sydney Film School graduate Anthea Hewett (writer/director/editor) was awarded the WOW Audience Choice Award for her SFS short 'Clean Up On Aisle 9', in 2009 Amelie Sandstrom's SFS thesis film 'My Little Musical' won the Best Australian Student Film Award, and in 2007 Teagan McCarthy (director) was awarded WOW Official Selection for her documentary short 'My Dad Susan'

WOW has also launched successful film careers for Australian filmmakers, Elissa Down (The Black Balloon) and Cate Shortland (Somersault, 'The Slap').

Writer/Director/Animator/Editor Marta Maia moved from Portugal to Australia in 2010. In one year of studying at the Sydney Film School she edited 3 short films and directed her own short animation 'Camera Obscura' drawing on her interest in painting and sculpting (all the puppets in the Camera Obscura were hand made by Marta and her team). To this date the film has screened at 10 film festivals locally and internationally, including Cineanima, the largest animation festival in Portugal and one of the largest in the world.

"Our aim at Sydney Film School is to develop well-rounded people, courageous in their endeavours, curious and open to life's marvels and compassionate in their dealings with one another and the greater world. 'Camera Obscura' reflects on these values and we are very excited to have it screening at WOW," said Ben Ferris, Director of Sydney Film School.

A short animation, 'Camera Obscura' is about the constructions people create, the way they influence our lives and how we interact with the world.

"Camera Obscura represents the many devices that everyone uses to deal with the world. On the one hand camera obscura represents mind itself, a particular state of mind we all live inside because of our past experiences and our future aims which make each of us relate, and see, the world in a different way. On a bigger scale it represents devices created by society. That is what the growing, moving, tremulous and bleeding city in my film questions and represents. Are we using the endless possibilities that are offered to us properly?" says Marta Maia.

Open to the public, WOW offers a diverse festival program of entertaining films. 2012 represents the 18th year for WOW, presented by Women in Film and Television NSW (WIFT NSW).

"WIFT is committed to improving the status of women, both on and off the screen, by supporting and advancing women working in the film, television and related screen industries. The festival aims to provide a thematic perspective of seeing the world through the eyes of women," said Michelle Bleicher WOW Festival Director.

Camera Obscura
Date: 6th of March, 2012
Time: 7pm
Venue: Dendy Opera Quays
Tickets: 02 9357 1490 or visit

For full World of Women: WOW Film Festival 2012 program information, please visit

Interview with Marta Maia

Question: What is Camera Obscura about?

Marta Maia: I shot Camera Obscura as part of my project for the Sydney Film School in the second semester. As part of the project I was allocated a small budget and I wrote the script for Camera Obscura and then produced the film.

Question: Where did the idea for Camera Obscura, come from?

Marta Maia: I came up with the crazy idea of doing a motion film in only two months; but I put myself to the project and I am very happy with the short film. I had the idea previously because before I came to Sydney Film School I was studying in a High School in Portugal and I was introduced to Camera Obscura there. The concept of Camera Obscura was fascinating for me especially as a metaphor for the way we deal with the world; I started to develop a character that would be stuck inside Camera Obscura and would deal with the outside world through that mechanism and that is how the film came about.

Question: How does it feel to have Camera Obscura screen at World of Women: WOW Film Festival 2012?

Marta Maia: It is great to have Camera Obscura screening at the WOW Film Festival; I was very surprised when they presented the opportunity especially because they will be screening the film on the opening night. It is wonderful and I am looking forward to seeing Camera Obsucra on the screen, at the festival and to see how the audience reacts to it. It is very exciting.

Question: How did you go about creating Camera Obscura?

Marta Maia: It took around one month to do pre-production including developing all the characters, create the scenarios and totally finish the script. Then, shooting took one month and a half where I was shooting 9 or 10 hours a day, non-stop while I was trying to do work on other films because I needed to edit other films that were a part of the Sydney Film School curriculum. I had the footage ready, four days before the Sydney Film School Festival and I had to finish post-production very quickly, without sleeping but it all went well. I had great help from friends and other students at the Sydney Film School - it wouldn't have happened without them, it was great.

Question: How has Camera Obsura been received by audiences?

Marta Maia: I haven't been able to attend most of the Camera Obscura screenings but I believe it has been received positively because otherwise it wouldn't be screening in all those places. I like to think that people connect with the film and really enjoy it.

Question: What inspired you to study at the Sydney Film School?

Marta Maia: When I was in Portugal I was searching for International Film Schools to be able to develop my film skills and broaden my knowledge about film and cinema and Sydney Film School offered a program which was very appealing to me as well as Sydney Australia being appealing because I wanted a chance to know the other side of the world. It was mainly the program of Sydney Film School and the way everything worked together with a hands-on project.

Question: Could you also tell us about your other short film, 5th Stage?

Marta Maia: 5th Stage is a short film of Karolina Malinowska who was a student at Sydney Film School in the semester previous to mine and I got to edit one film that Karolina Malinowska wrote in my first semester and Karolina Malinowska was working on 5th Stage which she wrote and directed and because she had liked my previous work, on the other film, she asked me to help her with the editing of 5th Stage. It was a really great collaboration as Karolina and I got along really well and our ideas were similar, as we see the world in the same way, which helps a lot in collaborative film work especially with the relationship between the editor and director. The editor and director of a film have to think the same way to be able to develop a good film.

Question: What are you working on at the moment?

Marta Maia: I have one other idea and I have begun developing the script for another motion of mine, this may take a little while. At the moment I am in mid-stage of production of another animation film that I am working with Filippo Grando who was the cinematographer and animator of Camera Obscura; the film will use a different animation technique to Camera Obscura as we want to explore a mix of drawings, watercolour and then computer.

Interview by Brooke Hunter