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NFB Hothouse 10: ‘Sweet Talk’ (Esteban Azuela)

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esteban-azuela_croppedHailing from Mexico City, Esteban Azuela ventured into Traditional Animation at the Vancouver Film School, having previous studied photography at the Academia de Artes Visuales. His enthusiasm for the visual arts has proved vital in the variety of projects he has taken on, ranging from video installations, live projections set to music and animation itself. His contribution to the tenth edition of the National Film Board of Canada’s Hothouse scheme is Sweet Talk, a hand-drawn satirical take on government and media.

 

 I remain concerned about the power of media and the cynicism with which the news around the globe is presented—especially in my hometown in Mexico, where we live in the midst of a passive/active war, and the violence has reached limits nobody could have imagined years ago. We read every day that local and federal governments, corporations, banks and narco-cartels are colluding, creating a wide net of organized crime. But what is keeping us passive when all this information is right in front of us? The way data is presented makes it lose its power—as when a headline about secret mass graves follows a review of a soap opera, or a story is reported as if it were a fictional screenplay.

All the compositions and elements of my short film Sweet Talk were based on real events covered by the media and related to the oil and mining industry, Mexican drug cartels and government tycoons. The challenge was to recreate local elements but give the film an overall feeling that audiences everywhere could relate to.

I wanted to create a fast-paced film saturated with various elements, over which are superimposed the tender voices of children talking in a park, while the crude images of the mass media leave the audience with a certain feeling of loathing. This is the way I perceive the news—as if it were an Ouroboros, in which the violence, the facts and the fiction devour themselves through a never-ending loop, with everything sinking into a swamp of lies.

-Esteban Azuela

Keep your eyes on Skwigly over the coming days to hear more from the Hothouse 10 participants. To learn more about the work of Esteban Azuela visit estebanazuela.com

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