Interview with Cristina Ortiz


Today we share with you part 7 in the ‘ interviews’ series. Constant Hoogenbosch interviews Cristina Ortiz.

If you are a filmmaker and want to participate in an interview for also, please contact We like to hear from you!


What is it that appeals to you about the short film?

My training and work is photographic, using both, analog and digital. In 2003 I started in creation photo animations in Virgin II project ( . It was a photo-video installation using new technologies applied to the image, making an interdisciplinary new reading of Women- Virgin symbology. That’s when I started to use editing tools to create video sequences with photographs. Later I continued with another project called Soulless ( ). It was a photo-animation about the soul and human nature based on real images of men and women of different features that undergo a transformation to become static beings, as statues with an eternal movement.

One of the issues that have most interested me for more than 20 years is the cemeteries and their details as meeting places between life and death. In 2015 I decided to make a change narrating storytelling of several cemeteries series that I have from Spain and France. Therefore I made the short film Once upon a time, ( in collaboration with musicians Ferrie differentieel and Luis Rojas and the poet Consuelo Arredondo. This is a story about cemeteries as places of silence that explain the story of Nanu’s life which is a character that I use frequently in other photographic series as a representation of human beings.
Making short film change the way of displaying the narrative of a photographic series, and the way for reading the image. As it has a time structure, it allow different interactions between the image language and sound.

What qualities do you believe make a good short film?

A short film has to grab the attention of people immediately since the content has to be displayed in a short time. Therefore its narrative must be clear with a beginning, middle and end well specify to get the message across and at the end.

To what extent is making short films a stepping stone to making feature films?

Right now, I do not plan to make feature films. As I said before performing short films allows me to show the photographic concept cinematically, using poetry and music as multidisplinary elements that increase the content of photographic narrative.

What is the most challenging aspect of making short films?

In any creative process you not only have to get the idea. You have to master well the tools to do it. Therefore, having a good knowledge of the editing process, in case you perform it, is important.

Do you have a preference to a certain genre? And why?

I am interested in creative expressions with images, and therefore visual poetry and experimental short film.

What do you like most when making a short film – writing the script – directing – camera?

In my case, the way to get the images and make a good storytelling with them is very important. The process can be reversed, in case of devising a storytelling on a particular subject and take images according with it.

Do you work with a script – where do you get the inspiration from?

It depends on the project. In the case of Once upon a time the script I realized later, after the soundtrack was finished.
The soundtrack served as an editing framework which shapes the transitions between the sequences of the story and determined images order as the mood of music.

Do you leave room for improvisation?

Sometimes improvisation is necessary because unpredictable problems may arise in the implementation of the short film. It is important to respond quickly and with the best possible solution to the problems.

Did you receive funding for your project?

None of my projects were funded.

How did you go about assembling a film crew and actors?

I proposed to Ferrie differentieel his collaboration in the process of creating music for the series of images that I initially had determined for storytelling. The editing process was made with his advice. Finally, once we finished the film, I suggested to a good poet I know if she could watch it and make a poetic interpretation.

What did you use to edit the film?

To edit the film I used Adobe Premiere Pro, and Adobe Photoshop , and Lightroom for photo editing .

What camera did you shoot on?

I use analog and digital cameras. I usually work with analog film as Ilford or Kodak in Nikon F4 with various optical Nikkor. As digital camera I use Nikon D7000.

Could you name one or two filmmakers that you consider great influences?

The first photo-based animation with still images I had seen was Chris Marker’s film “La Jetee” (1962) or George Lucas film of 1965 “Look at life”. On the other hand there are very good examples of short films made with time lapse process as Gioacchino Petronicce.

What are you working on next? Do you already have a new project in mind?

I’m finishing a new short film on abstract architectural details in buildings especially Romanesque. It will be a out of context approach to transforming them into timeless details.

What advice would you give to other short filmmakers?

As I said storytelling is so important. And especially if you work with photography. So, according with it, there are some image aspects you have to be careful:
– the image mood: getting it when you take images or when you are editing them. You have to think about the meaning of colors, blurring, using textures… to express the concept you want in each sequence.
– a good storytelling connect with emotions, and your image narration have to make involved inside it, as a journey, your audience.

If you are a filmmaker and want to participate in an interview for also, please contact We like to hear from you!


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