Brazilian filmmaker Wildes Sampaio returns to the film industry after a decade sabbatical in Fernando de Noronha. Known for his productions of short films and animations, which have accumulated more than one hundred participations in festivals, Sampaio announces his long-awaited return with the start of recording his first feature film, entitled “Pescadores”.
Wrapped in enthusiasm, Sampaio highlights the privilege of producing films in the place he chose to live, an archipelago that is one of the most desired destinations for Brazilians. Since childhood, the filmmaker’s talent for the audiovisual was notorious, directing his first project at the age of 12 and profiting from directing films in the Sertão of Pernambuco at the age of 13. Now, with vast experience and recognition in his curriculum, he promises to delight the public again by showing the cultural and natural wealth of Fernando de Noronha as a backdrop to the exciting life stories of the island’s fishermen.
For Sampaio, returning to film directing in his refuge in Noronha represents an enriching moment in his career and an opportunity to share the real and special stories of the people who make the place so unique. With “Pescadores”, the filmmaker intends to once again mark his name in the Brazilian cinematographic scene, showing the passion and dedication that permeate his productions.
Tell us a little about yourself… Your story, as well as how did your passion for the world of cinema begin?
I was raised in Salgueiro, in the Central Sertão of Pernambuco. When I was about 6 years old, I went on vacation to Recife and there I got into cinema for the first time. I didn’t know I was walking into a movie theater. The movie had already started and I got a big scare when I saw a tyrannosaurus rex coming towards me. It was the premiere of Jurassic Park. Intense fright gave way to enchantment when the scene cut and I realized that “it was just a movie”. A few days later, I watched an interview with Steven Spielberg on Fantástico telling how he made Parque dos Dinossauros. There I was already sure of what I wanted to do when I grew up. I just didn’t know that I wouldn’t have to wait a long time to grow up to bring my own worlds to life and at the age of 12 I started writing and directing films while still in high school. At 13 I created a studio with four sets in the garage at home. At 14, the whole city was only talking about the premiere of my first film, which brought together 40 actors and at 15, I was already directing my own festival with the support of the local TV Globo, city halls and large companies in the region. At that time, queues stretching around the block for the premiere of my shorts sold 2,000 tickets a night to see my work and that audience tripled. In the following years there were 4 to 6 thousand people per night. Soon, the emergence of a child filmmaker, a child prodigy, in the heart of the central hinterland made the news. At that time, queues stretching around the block for the premiere of my shorts sold 2,000 tickets a night to see my work and that audience tripled. In the following years there were 4 to 6 thousand people per night. Soon, the emergence of a child filmmaker, a child prodigy, in the heart of the central hinterland made the news. At that time, queues stretching around the block for the premiere of my shorts sold 2,000 tickets a night to see my work and that audience tripled. In the following years there were 4 to 6 thousand people per night. Soon, the emergence of a child filmmaker, a child prodigy, in the heart of the central hinterland made the news.
Throughout your career, you have distinguished yourself in the production of short films and animations, participating in several festivals. How do you think this previous experience influences your work on the feature film “Fishermen”?
All creative work is the result of previous experiments. Our mind expands as we exercise and assimilate new ideas, so each new work is the result of the accumulation of previous experiences, studies and experiences. Having made many short films since I was very young, I feel more secure in telling a story in which the plot is tied together like a fishing net that connects several stories around the central theme.
What are the stories and special characters that you plan to portray in the film “Pescadores” and that they reflect the cultural and natural richness of Fernando de Noronha?
The life of an island people 500km from its coast holds truly heroic stories, examples of life, given the geopolitical limitations that the island has. During the pandemic, dozens of fishermen came together to guarantee free fish for all residents of the island. They faced the storms of the sea day and night. Many were children and grandchildren of one of the greatest fishermen the island has ever had, Seu Salviano, who crossed the entire Brazilian coast on a raft to collect the rights of fishermen owned by Juscelino Kubitscheck, in Rio de Janeiro. There is also the story of Julio Grande, who dived in his chest up to 60 meters deep wielding his trident to scare off sharks that wanted to catch him. Fishermen are great sea sages, they understand the laws of nature, its management and the importance of preservation.
How did this sabbatical period and new discoveries in Fernando de Noronha influence your creativity and perspective as a filmmaker?
After ten years of a deep dive into what it’s like to live in Fernando de Noronha, it’s impossible not to be touched in a very intense way by the force of nature that exists here. Nature is a great school. This awareness, I believe, influences the perspective that a lot of attention, sensitivity and care must be given to the stories that I intend to bring to life in cinema.
How was the process of choosing the archipelago of Fernando de Noronha as the special place to resume your career?
There could be nothing more natural than choosing Noronha to resume my career. This is the place in the world where I feel most at home. Combining what I most like to do without having to leave home is to live a paradise in paradise.
What does the archipelago represent to you as a filmmaker and how did it influence the narrative of the feature that portrays the story of fishermen?
Noronha for me represents what the island of Jurassic Park represented for Spielberg. It’s where the magic happens. Since I came to live here, I sometimes feel like I’m inside a movie, a live picture. Here nature comes to us. The historical and cultural richness that Noronha has needs to be revealed and I put myself at your disposal and telling the story of the Fishermen of Noronha will reveal one of the greatest treasures that makes Noronha so loved by everyone who sets foot here; the human factor.
What were the challenges and opportunities you encountered when recording the feature in such a unique place as Fernando de Noronha?
I think the main challenge of making cinema in our country is the budget itself, even more so when it comes to one of the most expensive destinations in Brazil. That’s why we started recording with our own resources. The partnership with Amora Filmes, co-producer of the film, has also been fundamental for the work to be carried out. We recently had a very positive meeting with the Administration of the Island, the Government of Pernambuco, which offered a partnership to make the project’s logistics viable and together with Eduardo Loyo, President of Empetur, where the project is already under analysis. I believe that challenges will always exist and opportunities we create. When we unite people, partners and professionals for a common good, things happen in the best possible way. It was like this in all the audiovisual projects that I pioneered on the island since 2005.
How would you describe the reception from the local community while filming the feature?
Noronhense can no longer bear to receive tourists who want to know where Neymar’s hole is, Bruna Marquezine’s swimming pool or Bruno Gagliasso’s inn. Noronhense has so many beautiful things to show the world. So much life, so many values, so much example of humanity and inspiration. I feel truly embraced when I talk to people about the film and what I see are enthusiastic looks.
What do you hope to convey to the public through this story of the fishermen portrayed in the feature film?
Love, empathy, union, sense of community, charm, respect for nature, adventure, bravery, dangers, faith, celebration and a lot of emotion, all this in a background that extracts the purest beauty of the island seen by land, by sea, by the sky and underwater.
Do you have plans to explore more special locations or different regions in your future film productions?
For now I am completely immersed in the present that is being sewn together in this beautiful story here on the island and I believe that Fernando de Noronha still has much to enchant us. It’s still early to know where the wind will blow my future and I hope it’s not too far from here!
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