Private Project


Portugal, 2020. When you're unable to finish the film you envisioned and already started, you film yourself and make another one about that process. At least that's what I did. This is it, my self-portrait.

  • Rúben Sevivas
    Fôlego (breath); Direito à Memória (The Right to be Remembered))
  • Project Title (Original Language):
  • Project Type:
    Short, Student
  • Genres:
    Self-portrait, essay film
  • Runtime:
    20 minutes
  • Completion Date:
    May 31, 2021
  • Production Budget:
    400 USD
  • Country of Origin:
  • Country of Filming:
  • Language:
  • Shooting Format:
  • Aspect Ratio:
  • Film Color:
  • First-time Filmmaker:
  • Student Project:
    Yes - University of Beira Interior
Director Biography - Rúben Sevivas

Rúben Sevivas (Portugal, 1991) was born in Chaves. Rúben studied Cinema at the University of Beira Interior (BA and MA). At the same time, Rúben built a career as an actor and theater producer in his hometown. Since 2020, Rúben has been a selection jury of the Cine Eco - Serra da Estrela International Environmental Film Festival.

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Director Statement

In 2018, I wrote and idealized the film When Swallows Leave which was not finished due to theft during the 2019 shoot. At the end of May 2020, at the height of the pandemic caused by covid19 and some other ups and downs, the project fell apart. The desire to film remained, however, the reality was radically different: I was confined and alone in the city far away from the hills of my hometown - the location of all my previous films. On top of that, there was a requirement to finish my Master's at the University of Beira Interior and a sense of responsibility to all of those who had already contributed to the project. I felt guilty to some extent.

One day, I stopped feeling sorry for myself and began to see the events of my own life as my new project. Aware that creativity is stimulated by the limits and obstacles that are imposed on us, I realized that I had a film in front of me. No more excuses, reality would give me a film. With artifices or manipulations? Oh yeah, it's Cinema! However, it would allow me to create a dialogue between reality and fiction where I would directly convey that at that moment the spectator would be watching Rúben Sevivas, the director, the actor, and the person.

First of all, I understood this film as a personal catalyst. A film that helped me to face the uncertainty of the future, to express my feelings, thoughts, daydreams, anxieties, and frustrations; organizing my thoughts and emotions while structuring and organizing a film. Self-analysis and self-reflection in a cinematic way. More than a diary, a self-portrait. Where, at the same time, you could read that I'm here, that I'm still here making films as a statement of my own competence and resistance. And, for all of that, there is ABOVE. A self-portrait, a mirror of myself, a cinematic self-reflection.

Making films is always a challenge. Making films on my own was something I thought impossible even with a lot of help. I proved otherwise. I prefer not to do it again. Still, it was perhaps one of the most stimulated experienced I had as a director, as an actor, and as a person. I reach this final chapter with a mix of emotions that spread between insecurity and pride, although with a strong feeling of accomplishment and above all of overcoming.

If I were asked today if I'd have preferred to do When Swallows Leave or Above; I would answer Above without hesitation. First, because it's real: that's what happened, and resorting to imagination to project a future out of our reality never brings any good. Secondly, because I don't believe in going through such inhospitable situations again such as the theft or the pandemic we are still facing; in this way, I made a current film, but not a momentary one. And finally, because it represents the moment when I found myself growing each day, maturing while I felt the passage of time. As much as overcoming, it represents the culmination of a journey that I see finally ending. Finally, not in the sense of despair or saturation, but of the conclusion of yet another stage that will inevitably open others.

Thank you so much,
Rúben Sevivas