Ramos’s “8.1 Degrees of Guilt” reveals guilt and painful trauma

Imagine being born from a “sterile” woman and being treated as a miracle baby. Imagine experiencing the most devastating earthquake in Mexican history and being cursed as a kid by a collective trauma that turned every single opportunity in life into a deep sense of guilt.

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8.1 Degrees of Guilt refers to the seismic intensity that shook Mexico City in 1985, leaving over 40,000 victims, causing extreme devastation and yet changing my life forever.

Gibran Ramos is a Mexican-Canadian filmmaker based in London. He currently studies an MA degree in Documentary filmmaking at Goldsmiths University but has collaborated with award winning director Nick Knight (Show Studio) and multidisciplinary artist Tupac Matir.

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Q/A with Gibran Ramos 

1. What first drew you to pursue making this specific film project?

I’m currently studying a MA degree in documentary filmmaking at Goldsmiths university In London.  As my background is in fashion and visual design, my first idea was to make a film about Orlan (a radical French artist who used to do body modifications back In the 90’s). But my tutor and colleagues pushed me to make something more personal, genuine and that’s how I decided to talk about the guilt I’ve been carrying with me for over 30 years. The process has been enlightening and cathartic. Facing my own demons and finding the courage to talk about them face to face with my parents was a wonderful experience for everyone involved.

2. What is your favorite part of the filmmaking process and why? Any examples of this from your project screening at the MWFF?

I truly love the filmmaking process because I see it as a video game based in trust and human sensibilities. The first stage is meeting your contributors for the very first time. For me the interview is the vertebral column of my story and when I conduct it all my senses are awaken and focusing on every single body language, gesture, reaction, breathing, silence and word expressed by my contributor since everything has a meaning and I need to decipher the clues that they’re giving me to dig deeper into the story and trigger the right emotions. Although having the key to a certain story doesn’t mean the contributor will let you access that path easily. In my case trust is the ultimate master key. My contributors need to see a reflection of them in me to let me access their stories.

My second favourite process is the editing. During this stage I shape the story, I enhance the contributor’s purposes and find the right way to share their feelings and life. As a documentary filmmaker we have a lot of ethical and moral responsibilities, the editing process makes us understand the human dynamics and teach us how to deal with them. Although this process can be extremely painful. During the post-production of my film every emotional moment felt like a stabbing in my heart and the price to pay to tell my story was to become immune to my parent’s loving words (since I listened to them over and over again). Although when I touch someone in the audience that’s the best gratification and suddenly everything seems to be worth it.

3. What were some influences for you on this project and/or as a filmmaker in general?

I’m a very instinctive filmmaker. Sometimes I’m not sure if my style is a strength or a weakness (a defined voice or the only way I know how to edit). I tent not to overthink these things. Some people have told me I have a similar style to Adam Curtis and even if it’s a huge compliment, I’m not interested in political filmmaking, I prefer to be more inspirational. My aspiration is perhaps to be a hybrid between Roberto Minervini (“The other Side”), Eduardo Williams (“The Human Surge”) and myself (with a touch of Curtis’ editing skills).

4. What is your favorite film?

The film that changed my life and made me realise I wanted to become a documentary filmmaking is “Tarnation” by Jonathan Caouette.
And recently, I felt in love with a charming film called “Almost Heaven” by Carol Salter that made me realise that there are so many wonderful stories and compelling characters (real people) out there that I need to work harder to find them.

“8.1 Degrees of Guilt” is the fifth short film in the Short Film Session #4 on Saturday, August 26 at 2pm.


Fest tickets can be purchased online below or at mosaicfilmfest.com/attend for $10.

These are all screening/all weekend VIP tickets. They will also be available on Friday, August 25th at the Nordlof Center box office during the event. Single day tickets will be available at the box office on both Saturday the 26th and Sunday the 27th. They cost $5. Those tickets are only available on August 26th and 27th and are good for a full day of screenings on the day purchased.

For more information about the 2017 Mosaic World Film Festival as well as a list of all the films being featured visit mosaicfilmfest.com.

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