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New Whip: An Interview with Bruno Trivelli

Tell us about yourself. How did you become an artist?

My name is Bruno Trivelli, I am a Brazilian filmmaker and video editor located in Vancouver, Canada. I work with music videos and narrative films, focusing heavily on eclectic visual tones and themes that usually are surrealistic and dream-like in nature.

I was born in São Paulo, Brasil and moved to Canada at the age of 18 to pursue filmmaking. After going to film school and working on multiple film sets developing my skills I moved my focus to video editing, which is my full time job. I’m currently working with a company that is contracted by major studios and TV companies where I handle day to day editing and post-production coordination for TV shows and movies.

On the side I’m also a freelance filmmaker and video editor for Narrative Films and Music Videos. In 2018 I created my production company Death XIII which is a centralized space where I can culminate all my independent film work as well as my collaboration projects as a video editor.

What was your first job in the art field?

My first job in the field was actually as a 1st Assistant Director. I thought I was good at it when I got out of film school, but I never really enjoyed doing it, it was mostly just an excuse to be involved in other peoples’ film sets. Shortly after I pivoted back to my original interest of video editing and stuck with that ever since as my main job in the industry aside from being a director/writer in my own projects.

What makes you want to tell stories? In other words, what are the themes/issues you want to incorporate into your work?

I think my storytelling strongly follows tones and feelings first and foremost. I tend to figure out topics and themes as I start creating what type of emotions and energy I want my story to have. I’m never seeking a certain topic because for me, honestly, the carnal emotion that I take from watching something is always more important to me. People can take whatever ideas they want from my films. For New Whip, Aversions and I talked a lot about the feeling of isolation and paranoia for the song and how that could correlate with the story. Only later, as we were deeper into the story-building of the project, did we settle on the motifs of war, extremism, radicalization etc

So with that said I think a lot of my films tend to follow themes related to the human condition and the struggle of existing and the questions that are brought up in regards to how we exist, socialize, work, etc.

Please tell us about your vision and your method of approaching a new project?

As mentioned earlierI I always start with visuals and what emotional response I have to them. For my stories I think those are the most important things to tackle first. Once I have that dialed and those ideas set and how I’d want to see the project then I start creating characters, locations, settings etc. But for me, in the visual medium, everything is made in favor of the tone and energy of the image.

I make a lot of visual boards, lots of shot lists and breakdowns of the shot sequences and always try to convey my visual language first before worrying about dialogue, character motivation and what not. This is probably very unorthodox but it’s the only way my brain wraps around a project.

Who are your filmmaking influencers? What are the films that were influential for you?

I think I’m constantly being influenced by filmmakers and films so it’s always changing. For example right now I am obsessed with the work that Kyle Edward Ball did with his feature film debut “Skinamarink” (2022) and the works of Apichatpong Weerasethakul like his film “Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives” (2010) are some that I will always have visual connections to. Yorgos Lanthimos’ “Dogtooth” (2009) was such a strong influential film for me when I was in film school. And I have to make note of the master Nobuhiko Obayashi and his most famous, experimental dream horror, “Hausu” (1977) that I watch almost yearly to remind myself of how fun filming should be. And finally, one film that I have constantly strong feelings towards is “Stalker” (1979) by Andrei Tarkovsky. I think all of these films heavily influence my visual language.

How do you think the industry is changing? How has COVID affected independent filmmaking/creation?

I mean, the elephant in the room right now is the debate between vertical videos and content creation versus film productions, and don't even get me started on AI. In general, though, our attention span seems to be getting shorter and shorter. While I believe that film and television will always exist in some form, I do think that the current system is broken and unsustainable. Major studios are now struggling to create content that is more engaging than the one-minute videos on Tik Tok. This could lead us to a point where we realize that we don't need millions of dollars and infinite amounts of VFX and CGI to make something interesting and captivating.

Despite the challenges, I am optimistic that with the rise of content creation and short-form content, we will reach a point where film and TV can shine with unique ideas, small budgets, and much more sustainable production methods. This will provide a unique opportunity for anyone to become a filmmaker and create something remarkable with just their phones. While I haven't talked much about COVID, I believe that it is closely related to these changes. Without the pandemic forcing us to spend months at home, we wouldn't have reached this point so quickly. Despite the turbulence, I believe that indie filmmakers will ultimately benefit greatly from these changes in the long run.

What advice would you give to aspiring artists? What are some of the things they must follow/avoid?

I don’t know if I have great advice since I’m also floating through this world trying to evolve and become better but what I can say is, if you are interested in being your own director and writer, I suggest finding a day job or something that can support you financially while you work on your craft that isn’t “film work”. It's easy to fall into the trap of trying to work in the film industry as a PA, Grip, or Lamp Op just to be around it. Although these jobs pay well and provide great connections, the long hours and strenuous work left me feeling burnt out and uninspired, and made me really hate being on set. Therefore, I made a rule for myself to only be on set when it was something I’d be creatively invested in.

Also, consider dipping your toes into freelancing instead of diving in headfirst. I know many people who became full-time freelancers in their craft, such as sound designers, editors, and artists and they have to survive, pay rent, and buy groceries solely based on their earnings from working on what they love. This can blur the lines between what you love and what you have to do to survive in society, which ends up leading me and those I know into burning out much more often.

So yeah, have a healthy mindset about being an artist. Work hard on your craft but don't lose the joy that drew you to it in the first place.

Do you think films/stories can bring about a change in the world?

I think overall art has a positive impact on society. But it's up to you as the viewer to take positive lessons from it that can better your view on life and the lives of those around you.

So, it depends. Anything can be good for people, it's up to YOU to make that a positive learning experience.

What do you think people like to watch these days? Has the pandemic changed people's taste?

Oh boy, going back to that last question of how the industry is changing, I think most people, especially young people like myself, are not really watching TV or Films for the most part. I think the majority of content being absorbed by people nowadays are vertical, short form content. I think the pandemic has a lot to do with it, so does the economic and political crisis we’ve been dealing with in the early 2020s. It’s been rough, and people want quick dopamine hits from short videos to feel good. I think it's a natural evolution of our culture and as mentioned earlier I think there’s potential for it to be super beneficial for independent filmmakers and small creators, and I think it will have a big shift on how studios perceive big budget movies and how, really, unsustainable they are.

Please tell us about your upcoming projects.

Aversions, the band from the music video “New Whip”, has an album dropping this year called “You Wanted the Bike” and it is fantastic. We are working on creating another film before the album release for another one of their singles, so keep an eye out for that! I am currently in post production, editing a surreal comedy TV Pilot with some of the best comedians in the scene in Vancouver and I am pitching to one of Canada’s biggest genre film festivals (Fantasia) a horror feature film about a young Brazilian immigrant who is stranded in a cold Canadian winter storm and runs into something that may or may not be his father. The project is called “Crocodile” and I think it's a culmination of all my powers of storytelling and visual tone jam-packed into one terrifying story. I can’t wait to be able to tell it!


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