Brazil’s Poverty Featured in Fauston da Silva’s ‘My Friend Nietzsche': TheWrap’s ShortList Quickie

Brazilian director says short was inspired by his wife teaching in a “very poor city”

Fáuston da Silva didn’t need an expansive set budget to create the poor town he featured in his inspirational short film, “My Friend Nietzsche,” he only needed to look outside his window and shoot what was already there.

The fifteen minute short follows a poor, young boy with lackluster reading skills, but an insatiable thirst for knowledge. When he literally stumbles across a copy of philosopher Frederick Nietzsche’s iconic novel “Thus Spoke Zarathustra” while Richard Strauss’ classic (and identically titled) 1896 composition blasts in the background. The boy’s curiosity is piqued.

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The child wanders around his destitute town, book in hand, teaching friends, family and neighbors about the dense themes contained within. Not only does he quickly develop expert reading skills, but he also gains an enlightened perspective on the world around him.

Da Silva, whose short is cleverly edited and charmingly sweet,  spoke with TheWrap about how the inspiration for “My Friend Nietzsche” and about how the poor community he portrayed is in fact a very real one.

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TheWrap: Congratulations, how does it feel to be among the twelve finalist in TheWrap’s ShortList Film Fest?
Fáuston da Silva: I feel very happy. It was a big surprise.

How did you come up with the concept for your short?
My wife is a teacher in a very poor city and she often faces this kind of problem, so she gave me the idea to do a movie with this concept. It was a gift to me.

How was your film made and where was it created?
It was made with money from a cultural program. It was created in a poor Brazilian city. The city I showed in the movie really exists.

Who else worked with you on making the film?
I contracted some people and also asked for some help from my friends. The boys that appear in the movie really live in that city.

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Do you plan to expand the short?
Not yet. In Brazil it is too hard produce a movie and I don’t have the money to do this kind of project now.

How much did it cost to make the film and how was it funded?
$40,000. I won a prize in Brazil with the idea, which made it possible to produce this film.

What will you do with your $5,000, should you win either our industry or audience prize?
I could make more short movies.

If you win the industry prize, what will you offer at your pitch meeting with a studio?
I have a lot of projects that I would like to show.