Gabriel Da Silva is an independent filmmaker and scriptwriter from Switzerland, who studied at drama acting school and screenwriting school, he started as an actor but he is more focused on filmmaking and scriptwriting as a whole.
First of all congratulations on the success of your short film Milas Tagebuch, And how was your experience with the Sweden Film Awards?
Thank you very much, I was really happy about the Award and it is an honor to have a piece of «Sweden» with me. I’ve always wanted to come to Sweden, but unfortunately, this didn’t work out because of the Corona pandemic.
I think your film festival is very likable, good and professional. I’m looking forward to furthering film projects which I will send in.
Would you like to share your profile details with our readers? such as your educational background, birth city, and country, etc?
I was born in 1988 in Zurich, Switzerland, and grew up bilingual with Brazilian Portuguese and Swiss German. At times I lived in Brazil and got to know two completely different cultures. My parents also had a lot of international visitors, which made me very open to different cultures and I liked to travel. I attended an International Swiss school in Brazil. Then I went to a four-year drama acting school between 2009 until 2013 and worked as an actor for the first six years, mainly in film and some commercials. However, I quickly felt that the director’s chair and the scriptwriting were a magical attraction for me and that I would feel comfortable with. So I started to visit a Screenwriting School and learned the skills to become a professional Screenwriter.
Tell us about your inspiration as a filmmaker?
I am inspired to let the written words of a script “come to life”. To look into other worlds, situations, and other people’s souls and empathize with them. When I write I immerse into this fictional world and it’s like you’re walking invisible in that story with those characters. When you shoot, then you are kind of an observer but visible and you can form the story and the arc of those characters. So you give birth to a new cinematic creation. Real-life and the real people out there give so much inspiration to create characters and stories for films. So for me, the best director and scriptwriter in the universe it’s still God.
What helps a lot is all the acting skills I learned in my drama school. I can understand the actors better through this and approach them with my directing in a very different way, so it is easier for them to understand what I want.
When and how did you begin your filmmaking career?
I started as a filmmaker in 2016 when I was making my first short film New Love (In German Neue Liebe) and my first script for a drama feature film The silent scream (in German Der lautlose Schrei). There it deals with the subject of bullying in schools and its fatal consequences for Teenagers. Those were the first projects that I implemented. It might be a bit strange, that have I just started with a feature film of over two hours instead of several short films. But every filmmaker starts differently.
How many films have you made, and which one is your own favorite?
You love all your projects, of course. But I admit Mila’s Diary (In German Milas Tagebuch) was a little gold mine for me because I didn’t expect this success with so many awards worldwide. I was overwhelmed. So I have a deeper connection to this movie. It was also my first project with a child actress, which was a challenge in the beginning but the little girl did a very great job as did the Teacher. Both of the main roles show a picture of strong and courageous women who also show a vulnerable side. It was important to me to show the topic of bullying in schools as well as a little courageous girl who stands up for a weaker classmate.
My other favorite movie is called I Hate Castings (In German Ich hasse Castings), a comedy about Castings and Auditions from the point of view of the actors and the film crew. Because most of them don’t like auditions but everyone needs it. You are happy when you get the role, but always reapplying is exhausting and annoying. That’s why this topic inspired me as a film project. And I thought it could be turned into a funny comedy very well.
Tell us something about your experience with your 1st ever film project, isn’t it a very special thing to remember forever?
Yes, it is. But above all, because you realize afterward how many mistakes you made that you would probably avoid today. But what was really special about my first film was that I was shooting with an animal. It was an alpaca and these animals are known for their stubbornness. So it was really not easy to shoot a new scene with the alpaca. If it just didn’t want to move anymore, then it stayed stubborn and that was it. In addition, we shot that scene in a restaurant, which makes it also special. With my first feature film, The Silent Scream (Der lautlose Schrei), I reached my physical limits. A project that has more than 120 pages and more than 30 actors is a huge challenge and you need a reliable team, actors, and crew so that something like this is even possible. You run into problems that you later avoid because you learn from them.
How would you describe work as an independent filmmaker, isn’t it more challenging?
Yes, it is not easy in terms of the financial situation. The budget is usually smaller and you just have to think a lot more about what can be realistically made and what cannot. Sometimes there is even no money at all. So a tight Budget can slow you down a bit. It’s also a question if you can hire an actress or actor or if it’s too expensive. But I also know actresses and actors who are ready to be a part of it, even if the Budget is small because they liked the script or the character.
But you have to be more creative about it. You have to improvise more and sometimes that’s even better. This is how spontaneous and good ideas come about. So it has both sides if you are on a tight budget. The advantage is also that you are independent and can influence the projects yourself. Otherwise too many people can talk into one or more productions into the film, which can also be a kind of poison for the film. But yes it is more challenging, on the positive and negative side. I hope to one day have a bigger Budget for my movies.
What’s the most exciting thing for you in filmmaking?
To create stories and characters and meet new people on the film set. You can be the “creator” of an imaginary world, which can sometimes also give hope and comfort to the people. We can make people thoughtful or make them laugh or cry. Pictures have an incredible effect on people and can sometimes touch the soul of the viewer even more than words ever could. In addition, characters and stories can stimulate and inspire people to change or learn something in their lives themselves. Every viewer finds himself in some character and feels very close to the film or the character. I love stimulating people and leaving them thoughtful after the movie. That’s why I mainly make projects with socially critical issues and problems in our society. I am the kind of filmmaker that wants to look at and solve a social problem and not ignore it. We Filmmakers have this unique chance to show issues in pictures to the people through the movies, which opens the eyes of the viewer’s that we have to confront and change things that we don’t like and not look away from. So a movie can be a kind of a mirror to our society and to ourselves. Now and then I also shoot a Comedy, but the Genre Drama suits me better. But it’s always important to me, to give at the end of a movie a positive feeling that there is hope for better in life.
What Projects are you currently working on? And what are your future plans in the industry?
I’ve just finished a short film about Influencers and Cyberbullying. Our digital World brings with it a lot of good, but also great dangers. I am also writing a Treatment for a TV series and a new short film. My first feature film, The Silent Scream, will also be finished soon.
Where can our readers follow and see your film work?
Currently on my Vimeo channel and on the website of our production Difference Pictures (www.difference-pictures.ch).
My own website is still under construction, but still here: www.gabrieldasilva.ch
You can find me in Social Media on Instagram and Facebook: