Private Project

My Mum's Letters

On this surrealistic tale, we follow Alice, 13, bubbly, colorful and… a Daughter of Death! Every day she receives a letter with a name and does her duty unwillingly. But her views on her job are challenged when she starts developing a relationship with a suicidal teenager.

  • Antonio Sequeira
    No Limiar do Pensamento, Danke
  • Antonio Sequeira
    No Limiar do Pensamento, Danke
  • Antonio Sequeira
    No Limiar do Pensamento, Danke
  • Pedro Magano
  • Beatriz Frazão
    Key Cast
    Conta-me como Foi
  • Rodrigo Antunes
    Key Cast
    Mulheres, Jacinta
  • Project Title (Original Language):
    As Cartas da Minha Mãe
  • Project Type:
    Short, Student
  • Genres:
    Fantastical Realism, Coming-of-age, Romance
  • Runtime:
    15 minutes 59 seconds
  • Completion Date:
    July 12, 2020
  • Production Budget:
    11,000 EUR
  • Country of Origin:
  • Country of Filming:
  • Language:
  • Shooting Format:
  • Aspect Ratio:
  • Film Color:
  • First-time Filmmaker:
  • Student Project:
  • Camerimage International Film Festival
    November 15, 2020
    Polish Premiere
    Student Etudes
Director Biography - Antonio Sequeira

Antonio Sequeira is 25 and graduated from an MA at the London Film School, where he received a BFI/Creative Skillset scholarship to attend. While studying, Antonio won a funding prize to shoot a short film to promote positive mental health, entitled "A Son Like Others", which allowed him to work with renowned Portuguese actress Paula Lobo Antunes and take his skills to another level, winning with it the Grand Prix at “FEST-New Directors” and being selected by “Close-up Culture” as one of the best short films of 2019. The short is currently in negotiations to have a theatrical distribution in Portugal, having already been distributed for TV. As a writer, he sold a feature film script to Portuguese film studio, CINEMATE, which they intend to produce soon. He also started a Development Deal with Flynn Studios on a feature film project, entitled “Angel Boy” and his latest script has been selected to the final stage of the Sundance Development Lab. Before finishing his graduation film, "My Mum's Letters", he was offered the opportunity to direct a mini TV-series for the National Portuguese Channel “RTP”, now available on their streaming platform, which has received critical acclaim, currently eagerly awaiting renewal for season 2. Overall, his films have received multiple awards internationally, being selected to prestigious festivals like the “Camerimage International Film Festival”, the “BFI Future Film Festival, "Osnabruck Independent Filmfest” and “Macau International Short Film Festival”, the academy award qualifying “Short Shorts Film Festival”, in Japan, “Palm Springs Shortfest Film Market”, in the US, “Clermont-Ferrand International Short Film Market”, in France, “Bengaluru International Film Festival”, in India and the BAFTA qualifying “Carmarthen Bay Film Festival” and “Norwich Film Festival”.

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Director Statement

I have noticed that in Art, the personification of Death is usually represented as a hooded black figure, meaning something bad or scary.

In this film, I wanted to show Death in a different light, because I think we need to change the way we educate ourselves about the concept of death and start a different conversation when it comes to the finality of our lives, hence why I personify it here as a 13 year-old colorful bubbly girl...

So, for me the film is about acceptance of what you have no control over. But also about identity and the sense of belonging. I grew up in Portugal, a small country, and so I always felt like I didn’t belong and for a long time I didn’t want it to be part of my identity, doing whatever I could to escape it. But after studying abroad, I understood that actually being Portuguese IS part of my identity and of who I am. So, now I feel like I should embrace it, instead of running away from it, which is what I want to explore with the character of Alice. She goes from trying to escape who she is, to embracing her job by understanding that Death is an important part of Life.

So, the central conflict from the story stems from Alice coming to terms with who she is and what is her “role” in the world. Throughout the film, she tries to be someone she is not, but because of that, she has to suffer the consequences, as we start seeing more and more letters in her house and more and more beds piling up in the hallways of the hospital. She can’t be truly happy until she embraces who she is.

I’m very interested in creating a story world that is slightly different from our own, a more exaggerated reality but yet still coherent and which works within our society and our rules. This way I can talk about complex subjects like Life and Death in a light funny way, without “preaching” a message to the audience, but still making them think about it afterwards.