Vasco Alexandre
Vasco Alexandre
Director (Portugal)
Born in Lisbon in 1993, Vasco studied Science for two years before switching careers. He then spent three years studying Media before jumping into his first professional experience in the Portuguese film industry as a director's assistant on a ZOF Creative Film. This period was interrupted by a couple of years travelling around the world (mostly in Morroco, Germany and Mozambique) and getting professional experience out of the film industry.
He moved to London in 2017 and began his BA film degree at Middlesex University. He was offered a student exchange program in Madrid, in 2018/2019, where he has studied marketing applied to film. There, he won the CEU San Pablo University's talent competition with his 2nd year Media Project. Back in London in 2019/2020, he specialized in directing and wrote/directed the film 'Yard Kings.'
We asked Vasco to share his experience.

— Tell us a little about your experience? Was it only a film connected or you did/do something else?
I had studied media for three years in Lisbon before jumping into my first professional experience in the Portuguese film industry as a First Assistant Director at ZOF Creative Film. My passion for directing came about in those sets by observing experienced directors. Then, I set up a small freelance company with a couple of friends in 2013 and worked on several forms of content, such as music videos, corporate films, etc. This period was interrupted by a couple of years travelling around the world and getting professional experience out of the film industry: I was a Portuguese teacher in Mozambique, a receptionist of a surf camp in Morroco and a driver in Germany.
Then I moved to London and began my BA film degree at Middlesex University in 2017, where I met Billy. In the 2018/2019, I was part of a student exchange program in Madrid at which I studied business in film. At the time, I could not have a full-time job at any production, so I ended up working as a tour guide to pay for my living costs. Great times! Back in London in 2019/2020, I specialized in directing and worked on several assignments, such as the Kodak commercial competition. During this time, I wrote and directed the film 'Yard Kings', produced by Billy.

— What inspired you to make your short film? How did you come up with that idea?

— It is a personal topic for me, and it was challenging to portray it outside of my cultural zone. Children are big losers in domestic abuse cases, and we wanted to give them a voice. Today, with families in lockdown worldwide, hotlines are lighting up with abuse reports. The violence is more frequent, more severe and more dangerous. Since cases have increased by 20%, I cannot imagine a better time to tell this story.
— Tell us how it was to produce your film? What was the starting point, funding, script, shooting, casting, edit etc.
— After four months of writing (11 drafts), we finally got great feedback from both our tutors and peers, and we were good to go! Billy and I pitched the project at Middlesex University, who sponsored, mentored and provided us with equipment. That green light was the start of our funding strategy, which consisted of crowdfunding, partnerships' investment. Initially, we planned to shoot it for 6k, but in the end, we ended up spending about 10k. It was worth it, though! We had a campervan, set village, and the crew stayed at a hotel to recover from such a challenging location - the scrapyard and awful weather.
Regarding casting, we made several calls at our facilities and a casting day at a drama school. There we were introduced to little Dave and another girl who was supposed to play the leading character. Unfortunately, things didn't work out with her, and we had to find a new actress four days before the shoot. That's when we have met Elle through a Facebook post. Yes, she has the same name as the character! She saved the day.
—Funny or scary moments on the set?
— Little Dave was the star on set! One scary moment for us (not for him!) was when he had to stand over a truck cabin screaming. He had the energy the crew was lacking on the bad days. Yes, there were disgusting rainy days. We shot both in a scrapyard and a nearby car graveyard full of mud, so you can imagine how difficult it was to manage all the equipment and the camera/cast choreography. Every single day, we didn't know what weather was coming for us, and at points we really had to fight to get out there. I am glad we managed to film around the bad weather instead of cancelling the shot. It is a gritty result, just as we wanted!

— Do you have a dream?

— At this stage of our careers, the next step is to work full-time, either Billy as a producer and me as a Director. If we get there, obviously we fancy to one day have both the resources and creative freedom to give a voice to those whom everybody forgets. That is my career goal.
— What is your favorite film?

— That question is always a tricky one! I have got different films for different departments. The film that changed my life was 'Into the Wild' from Sean Penn. I saw it really young and started travelling the world because of it. Apart from that, in my top list is 'Irreversible' from Gaspar Noé, 'Fish Tank' from Andrea Arnold, 'Victoria' from Sebastian Schipper and 'Beasts of the Southern Wild' from Behn Zeitlin.
— Give advice for those who want to make a film, but don't know from where to start?
— I know there is a huge debate about film school. I personally think it is really helpful. I would not have done what I have done without it. The tutors and the feedback sessions are crucial for the development of any filmmaker. Also, both the crew and the gear are a plus when you are just starting out. At university, you can commit mistakes without being judged professionally. You can try different things out and see what you like.
Made on