From left: Best International Short, viewers:1; Best Australian Short, Erased; Best Actor Graham Dickson, from The Operator; and, Best Actress Klaudia García-Guerrero from Golem
Erased (short 2021), Audience FEEDBACK REEL at Fantasy/SCI-FI Film Festival - Los Angeles / Toronto - Oct 2021
Matthew Toffolo Interviews film director Gabriela Loza about filmmaking and the making of her short film Erased (short 2021)
SIMON: What have been the science-fiction works - books, films, art of any kind - that have inspired your work and forged your love for the genre?
GABRIELA: I have always been fascinated with the skies above me. As a small child I thought the moon followed me around. I have always wondered about life on other planets and if we as humans would one day move off Earth and colonise another planet. My love for the Sci-Fi genre is influenced by many things, including comic books and endless Omni magazines. My film influences include Star Wars, Land of the Lost, Dune Movie, Star Trek, Blade Runner 2049 Alien and Brazil. There are so many artists, including HR Giger (Necronomicon), futurist/designer Syd Mead - Visual Futurist, Jean-Michel Jarre's compositions, Laurie Anderson's album Big Science. I listened to Rick Wakeman Music's Journey to the Center of the Earth as a kid. The album by Nicolas Jar - Space is Only Noise (which I played over and over) was a huge inspiration when I was writing Erased and inhabiting that world.
SIMON: How did the original concept for your film take shape? What aspects of your film's narrative and your protagonist's journey were most important to you?
GABRIELA: The idea for Erased came many years ago when I was musing on the idea of being able to erase painful memories from the brain. Going through a break-up at the time, imagined the ability to erase someone from my memories. That experience, married with my love for storytelling via filmmaking and the sci-fi genre, resulted in Erased. I think one of the main questions explored in Erased is around selfishness. How much would you sacrifice for someone you love? There are no villains in Erased, just two humans trying to do what is best.
SIMON: Does the 'science-fiction' genre have deep roots in the art and cultural history of your homeland?
GABRIELA: I am originally from the USA. Growing up in a suburb of Los Angeles, I was bombarded with the popular science-fiction genre in TV and films. Remember those kids in E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial on a bicycle? I saw myself as one of those kids. I grew up in a carbon copy of the neighbourhood they shot ET in. I think sci-fi is definitely part of the American cultural fabric.
SIMON: We're the resources, facilities and talent pool required to bring your film to life easily sourced?
GABRIELA: Erased began as my second major film school project. The principal photography was shot 10 years ago. When I finished Erased in film school, I knew it was not where I wanted it to be. Life happened and my film sat on a shelf. Then covid hit and we decided to finish the film.
SIMON: Describe for us the very best day you had in the life cycle of your film.
GABRIELA: One of the best things has been being able to see how the world has reacted so positively to Erased. One of the best days was when we screened at Australian Film Television and Radio School in Sydney, and I was finally able to watch Erased on a large screen with my partner and fellow producer Ruth Sligo. After so much time and so much hard work, it was a very good day to finally see the end result.
SIMON: Having guided your film from idea to completion, what lessons and advice would you offer a young science-fiction filmmaker about to embark on a similar journey?
GABRIELA: I see filmmaking as an archaeology of the human heart, no matter what genre you're working in. So, attack it with passion. Do your research. Pre-plan and prepare. Surround yourself with great people and be open to new ideas. There is never only one name when the end credits roll. Filmmaking is a collaborative artform.
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