NOWHERE BUT HERE is an exploration of the concept of identity and binationality through movement. The struggle to fit in, be accepted and understood.
A dialogue between cultures and identities that goes from opposition, adaptation and, finally, surrender to being oneself.
Carolina Romillo Marín is a writer and film director. Originally from Havana, Cuba, she moved to Barcelona at the age of five where she later decided to study Film and TV at Blanquerna Comunicació (Universitat Ramon Llull). After a short time in the production field, she quickly became interested in directing creative documentaries. Later on, she decided to write and direct her first short film on dramedy genre, „A different afternnon“, with which she won the award for Best Forreign New Director at Winchester Film Festival. She's currently living between Berlin, Havana and Barcelona, exploring analog film and focusing on experimental and contemporary dance films. Among her recent credits are “Inside/Outside“ (2020), Best film at MITS Barcelona 2020 and selected at many international film festivals; “Nowhere but here“ (2021); “Loving too much, too less“ (2021); and “The Power Upon Us“ (2021). Due to her multitasking nature, it is quite common to find her editing, shooting and producing her own films. She stands for strong narratives, emotional content and captivating visuals.
Interview questions from Lindsay Zasada
In your short film, several questions are presented. (Where do you come from?,
What do you leave behind? Where do you belong? What are you made of? How do you
adapt? Where do you feel at home?) Are you asking these questions of the viewer, or of
yourself? How would you answer them for yourself?
These questions are presented as an interaction between the performers as well as with the viewer and myself. Questions that I have always asked myself and have been uncomfortable trying to find an answer to them since I have always had a lot of confusion when it comes to my identity.
I was born in Cuba but moved to Barcelona at the age of five. I struggled a lot for being accepted in Spain as I was used to another behavior and environment. I have even being bullied for acting different.
Every summer I went back to Cuba to visit and spend time with my paternal family.
Alongside and over the years, I began to hear not only judicious and separatist comments from Spain but also from Cuba. My accent began to adapt as well as my behavior so I started to be something of a weirdo for both cultures.
Over the years I have come to the conclusion that I am a citizen of the world in constant movement and my identity is formed by the experiences lived in all the places that I have been able to visit. By the different cultures, ways of feeling and understanding the world of people who inspire me. I am fascinated for multiculturalism and that is why I decided to live in a place like Berlin, where so many cultures coexist and we can find a high level of freedom and respect.
When I ask these questions through my short film, I am looking for the discomfort that I feel when receiving them or trying to answer them. Questions that, although define us, it also limit us and are often unnecessary for the increasingly globalized world in which we live.
The setting is beautiful and gives the film a very ethereal vibe. Where was the location of the film, and does it hold significance for you?
The location is called "Cova del Llop Marí" and it is in Tarragona, Spain.
„NOWHERE BUT HERE" is an exploration of the concept of identity and binationality. This is why it features a cuban (Jennifer Tejeda) and a spanish (Alícia Pírez) dancer and I wanted the location to be in one of the two countries; specially in the one where I felt more confussion and discomfort regarding my identity, and that`s why I finally decided to shoot it in Catalunya.
Then I started looking for locations near the sea since this is the element that separates the two countries and at first I thought of making two pieces (one in each location) and merge them by the sea. Later I disgarded the idea of the two merged pieces and decided to look for caves until I found the "Cova del Llop Marí". A cave to represent the identity, the deepest and most sincere part of us, what makes us unique regardless of nationality.
And last but not least, the sea has always been an special place for me. A place where I feel totally safe and at home. The sea and the moon.
The film’s theme seems to include the notion of the ocean inside of us (the waves introducing the film, a rush of a heartbeat, a pregnant mother, the waves carrying the dancers away). How is this theme interpreted through the character’s dance?
As I said before, the ocean is a key element in the film and I wanted it to, little by little and as the film progresses, to gain strength.
The creation of the movement was a process that I carried out together with the two performers, working from keywords and images I gave them as well as separating the piece into three parts: opposition, adaptation and, finally, surrender to being oneself. Water is the component that frees us from prejudices and mental limitations. Depth of feelings and adaptation... It adapts to different forms and it allows you to built your own and unique shape.
I find it interesting that the contemporary dance is performed not by two people, but actually by three. How has the decision to include a dancer who is with child impacted the performance and the overall meaning or significance of this piece?
When I started to develop the concept of the piece, I didn't think about featuring a pregnant woman. The initial idea was to show a Cuban and a Spanish dancer. I quickly found out that Jenifer Tejeda was currently living in Barcelona and I did not hesitate to call her as she strikes me as an extremely talented dancer who I had previously worked with in my documentary „Danza Contemporánea de Cuba on tour" (2019). The big surprise was to find out that she was pregnant. I immediately realized that her condition would not be an impediment but contribute to the piece and the theme we were going to work with. When you are pregnant, you are somehow creating an identity and she was going to do it in a new environment for her regarding her Cuban roots. On the other hand, I believe that dance is possible and is beautiful in all its forms. At any age, in any condition and any way.
What are you working on currently and what can we look forward to from you in the future?
Right now I am fully working on the post production of my two most recent films.
"Loving too much, too less" is a short film born from an original poem and the need to portray it through camera and body movement. The piece features a dancer who just got out of a failed relationship. During the duel, he remembers and idealizes his past, trying to understand and manage his emotions, seeking some kind of satisfaction that could fill a great internal void but nothing seems to satisfy.
An ode to love, excesses and desperation to find something real; a right way to love.
"The power upon us" is an experimental video art together with ten performes who represent the planets of the solar system and the moon as the main character.
Individually, each performer personifies the energy and attributes of each planet and expresses it through movement and sound, using their body as an instrument.
Together and through the interaction between the moon with each of them, they deal with the concept of power; the capacity that each of them has to influence the behavior of the other and that they have on us.
On the other hand, I am developing a new piece called "Estampida" with the dancer and choreographer Julio César Iglesias Ungo.
“Estampida” emerges from the idea of the future, in how to recover the capacity to envision other possible worlds.To deal with the feeling of exhaustion and discouragement that seems to overwhelm bodies today. We propose reviving the capacity to build a hopeful future. Against the multiple dystopian examples that surround us, this research focuses on developing our view of the future.We trust that the power of what is possible can only be boosted if we are able to imagine it, and this is an opportunity to do so.
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