Gairah Praskovia was born in the 1995, in Ferrol, Galicia, Spain. Passionate about art since she was a child, she studied Illustration and went to live to Japan and be nourished by its culture, something very appreciable in her work. She later returned to Spain to continue her career as an illustrator. Her work navigates between the erotic and the grotesque with a bit of sweetness. Since 2015 she began her first collective exhibitions until, finally, she was able to exhibit alone a few months later and so on until today, little by little she has been uniting her work as an illustrator with that of a 2D animator to give life to her works. In addition to being an Illustrator, she also works as a performer and plays the theremin, of whose musical pieces she makes her own video clips with 2D animations.
Your film is entered in our Best Indie Awards. What is your film about?
It is a short film that deals, as a central theme, mental health. Specifically the mental health of my country, which at the moment is being a silent pandemic and
is that of the eleven deaths per day due to suicide. Like many countries, we are going through an economic crisis that is leading to the ruin of many institutional
sectors. But politicians seem to only have eyes for those killed by Covid-19. In Spain it is the leading cause of unnatural death. At first I wanted to approach this topic from a personal point of view since I am one more patient with his mental disorders, but it seemed selfish to have a speaker such as being able to produce a short film and not talk about the other cases that are affected in the same way. that I suffer I, within the bad, I am "lucky" thanks to a suicide attempt because I am in a program for people at risk. But many others have to wait in long queues to be seen, and in the face of that, they end up committing suicide. Due to this, this year it was possible to set up a telephone line for people in crisis, but until this year it did not use any help from the State.

What are your ambitions with your project?
Being able to make it a long film, which is already being produced. We hope that at the latest in August it will be ready to be viewed but with some script changes. I
felt that the short film did not tell what it really wanted to tell, that yes, there is a very crude and harsh reality where people commit suicide. But there is also the
part of the recovery and the healing process, the relapses, the comings and goings towards the light and towards the darkness. That it is not an easy path, but that you can get out of it. Because if a person who woke up in the hospital when they almost left her for dead, like me, was able to rebuild her life, why can't others see themselves reflected and inspired by this story?

How was the shooting? What pleasantly surprised you?
The short film was made in stop motion, so many hours were spent drawing and drawing, discarding scenes and choosing others. The big problem was red,
because depending on the file extraction it could change its hue or not and that made me have to start over or try to find a red that when extracted would become
the red I was looking for. As the production is all digital, we work with computers and in the middle of filming I, who in addition to being a director am the animation and illustration producer, my computer broke. A little drama that I had to solve as best I could with a television (because what broke itself was the screen) and put a lot of effort into it to be able to finish the short film on time. I think that the fear I had after the computer crash made me rush too much in the animation of the short and it came out weeks earlier than expected.

For what target group is your film?
I think it's made for everyone, but after a screening at a festival, people with mental health problems approached me to thank me for giving visibility to something
that's happening in this country. So I would say that it is aimed at all those people stigmatized by the system, treated as second-class citizens for not having an
opportunity to pay for private health (here in Spain we have public health that is financed with the taxes of all Spaniards ). And being able to have access to decent
mental health is only for a few privileged people who can afford private therapies with very high costs and also private psychiatrists who, later, those papers do not
serve in Public Health. For all the people with loved ones who are suffering the consequences of disastrous healthcare, who have to see their loved ones tied to stretchers because there is no budget to take psychologists to the emergency room and it is easier to tie a person up, dehumanizing them (and I speak this because I lived it), forcing him to take pills that they don't tell you that they are giving you. For anyone who feels identified with what I'm telling because crazy (in the nonpejorative sense of the word) we are so many.

How would you specify your work? What characterizes your film?
Stop Motion animation, I really like being able to work frame by frame and create something from scratch with thousands of images. It is something that has
fascinated me since I was little. I know that there are much less complex methodologies when it comes to animating, but this one, in particular, makes my mind escape and I can work calmly, it could also qualify it as a kind of therapy for my psyche. The colors, I think that this is something very noticeable in the film since there are only three. Black and white represent light and darkness, extreme dichotomous thinking of good and evil, emotional catastrophe or euphoria. And red, in addition to representing the blood for which we are alive, is my fetish color. It is a color for which I feel a feeling that is difficult to describe, like loving a person, like an extension of my being that extends beyond my vision to shape other shapes. Later, the scenes fluctuate between calm scenes and more depressing scenes, some even where the monologue speaks to the viewer from the first person about the internal dialogues that inhabit the mind of a suicidal person.

Why did you decide to become a filmmaker?
I think that was the next step I needed to take. I used to only work as an illustrator and I saw the images too static, I needed to give them life in some way. And this is a bit curious as well as funny. This is my third job, my second job, Seven Flavors, has been awarded numerous times and that makes me proud of it. But in the past, I was in animation school because I really wanted to be trained as an animator academically. But let's say that I have a somewhat difficult character to work in a team (there are only two of us in the team, the sound technician and composer and I, who play the role of director, producer, animator and illustrator). So after having some kind of misunderstanding with the school management team they decided to expel me from the school. And they told me a phrase that every time I
receive an award I remember it "you will never be able to dedicate yourself to the world of animation." And because my passion was so great to learn, I started my
self-taught career in animation. In order to be able to fully dedicate myself to it and that was what I got. Maybe the road was harder, but the end is the same. I did not have the support of any academy or school when it came to doing my projects and that is why they have also rejected me in some festivals, but I will always keep my head held high to be able to say that I have come this far alone and without anyone's help, more than the effort that my soul had to be able to produce animations.

Who is your greatest role model?
It's going to sound like a cliché, but my maternal grandmother. She was a single mother in times when Spain was under a dictatorship and she raised six children
working without a husband, when most women could not work. She was a nurse at the military hospital and she was a woman who never, never saw her cry. She
always faced problems without fear, she was the head of the family and she made it known. Unfortunately she died a few years ago but I still talk to her every time I
go to the cemetery and I tell her everything about her. I am a person who is not Catholic, I am not even baptized, but with my grandmother I do feel that she is
watching me from somewhere else. She taught me that you have to be brave in this life, fight for what you want and do everything possible to get it. And enjoy life,
enjoy it a lot. Because we don't realize the value she has until you look close to losing her. That's why you have to enjoy every second doing what makes you
happy and that's why I became a filmmaker.

Which movies are your favorites? Why?
Satoshi Kon. I love how he works on mental health at Perfect Blue. I also really like his work Paprika and the anime Paranoia Agent. Tekkonkinkreet (both the manga and the movie), the movie is by Michael Arias. I have a kanji tattoo on my face for this film, so you can imagine how this film influences my life. Apart from animation works, I really like the films of Haneke and Carlos Vermut, especially his work, which was one of the few works that managed to move me inside with his magnificent Manticore. It's very difficult for a movie to stir my feelings, I think they hadn't been able to for years and with this one, Manticore, I literally cried in despair. A true masterpiece.

Where do you look for inspiration for your films?
Of the experiences lived and the darkness that one day I lived. Especially for this last project, but I always tend to look for inspiration inside my head. Sometimes
when I'm stressed, very stressed, there comes a level where I have hallucinations and I got used to them so many things I do are part of hallucinations that I had or
more developed. Reading also helps me find inspiration, watching a lot of movies (I try to watch a movie every day before going to sleep) and above all trying to
support independent filmmakers, which I think is where we often miss out on audiovisual gems because we can't see them online. platforms like HBO or Netflix.

How would you rate current filmmaking?
It is changing, feminism is gradually being introduced into the cinema and it is something that we can appreciate in many movies or series where the protagonists
are no longer just men. Also the inclusion of racialized people, people belonging to the LGTBQ collective. As a person who also belongs to the LGTBQ collective, I am glad to be able to see movies where the protagonist is gay, thus normalizing other types of affective relationships on the big screen. But I would make an aside and bet more on streaming platforms for independent cinema and not so much for high-value productions. I think there is a gap that continues to divide the second-rate filmmakers because they don't have enough money for better marketing and the first-rate ones who even have subsidies from the state.

What are your next projects?
Finishing the Sound of the Shadow long film, which would make the short then it would be kind of a teaser. The project is to take it to a duration of about 80
minutes to finally be able to present to the public my first film produced solely by two people. It's been a pretty fun and unfinished adventure. Because the short is in
English, but the film will be in Galician, which is a language that is only spoken in a region in the north of Spain, where I was born and grew up. One of my mother
languages along with Spanish. During the Francisco Franco dictatorship (1939-1975) this language was prohibited and there are still people who have this language and the use of it very stigmatized, that's why I want to do it in my native language. Because I think we need more audiovisual culture, even if I later subtitle it into English or other languages. I want my mother language to reach other countries and take an interest in it, that they know that we have a culture other
than Spanish, that Galicia was mistreated for years by the dictatorship but like a flower it blooms again even after years has withered.

Sound of the Shadow

The animated short talks about the real pandemic experienced in Spain since 2020. The whole world is suffering from an economic crisis, but also a health crisis in the field of mental health. Sound Of Th Shadow is the reflection of pain, anger, frustration, the blood of thousands of people who suffer mentally and many commit suicide and people who suffer from mental disorders.