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O Magazine

Diary of Hunger
A documentary short by Mireia Pujol

Diary of Hunger
Director: Mireia Pujol
Production Company: Agosto
Productor Ejecutivo: Rafael Montilla
DOP: Borja López
Sound: Alejandro Gianni
Foquista: Sergio Da Eira
Editor: Lucas Nolla
Grade: Xavi Santolaya
Post-Producción: Metropolitana

It all started on the day when Héctor Ayuso, director of OFFF Let’s Feed the Future Festival, invited us to participate in 2014’s edition with a free film to reflect on a topic: the future.

I remember the conversations I had with Rafa Montilla, producer of the documentary, about how to approach the subject taking into account the festival’s nature. OFFF gathers artists around the world to reflect on the advance of visual arts linked to technological innovation and future trends.

In that moment–and still now, sadly–, news left us perplexed with images of shipwrecks, beatings and thousands of people jumping over a fence, risking their lives trying to flee their countries in search of a deserved better future.

Rafa called me and we talked about the disasters taking place in Melilla and the Italian coast. That’s when he asked me: and what happens with the no future, with all those people risking their lives to get one?” That’s when we decided to go down to the border and really talk about what was happening there.

Before that I’d been revising the work Maurizio Nannucci, who makes big installations with apparently simple, but in fact really forceful messages. I remembered one of his works having a special impact on me. It said: “And what about the truth”.

Upon re-reading it, I got the feeling that we had to stick to the truth, no matter what. I wanted to leave aside cinema’s traditional mechanics. I wanted to become an “eye”. We somehow wanted to make a purely observational film. I decided to work with a tripod, in a totally static position so as not to interfere with what was going on. We only took two lenses (a 16mm and a 24mm). If I wanted a closer shot, I’d have to get closer, take part in the action, overcome the fear I could have and take sides. There was no point in hiding behind a zoom. I wanted to fight against aestheticism (though it can’t be completely eliminated). I wanted to use the camera as a tool with a “function” more than for stylistic means. Even at editing time, I wanted to order everything in a chronological way to be faithful to what we’d lived.

The black and white format came up as a need to show the topic as timeless. Migration is as old a conflict as society itself. While there’s still hunger in the world, people will try to get away from it. We didn’t want to portray the problem as existing only in the present.

From the moment we got there, everything turned up into an adventure. Crossing the border over to Morocco with a hidden 16mm camera divided in three parts. Then, the Moroccan government wouldn’t allow you to enter any kind of gear into the country. Then climbing up mount Gurugú (the forest where people hide before they attempt to jump the fence) incognito. Suffering every second for fear there would be a raid. Seeing live the jumping attempts of people we’d met earlier at Gurugú. Hearing the call of that kid after having jumped to the other side. There were so many things… that it’s hard to go on.

This documentary is neither a project, nor a film. I feel it as an ineffaceable part of my life.