2016 Official Selection: Mute Webseries (BRA)

MUTE web series takes inspiration from the silent film era, and aims to tell stories with no dialogue, relying instead on the power of strong visuals and audio. The result is a mixture of unusual sensations and emotions in the audience.

The Brazilian series covers a range of inspiring stories, with director Alexsandro Palermo describing it as a moving picture, “that can be interpreted by each in its own way, as a work of art displayed in a gallery, in this case the Internet.” Because of its nature, it is a series that can be enjoyed by anyone, with no language barriers.

The concept behind the project is that each season of MUTE is an ‘online exhibition’, with each episode serving as a frame. Together, audiences piece together the swirling range of stories and emotions presented, taking away their own understanding of the series.

A bit of both. The original idea came about because we thought it would facilitate production if we had no dialogues, we realized in fact that the challenge is much greater, because we have to convey emotions without spoken words, only with the actions and expressions of the cast and the scenery, costumes, sound…We love it.

Which emotions were the most interesting to portray through body language and music?
All of them! We believe that the emotions flow differently in each person when watching the episodes. So for us the important thing is to use body language and sound to portray the essence of each episode, but we know that the interpretations depend on each person.

Please tell us a quirky and/or interesting fact about yourself or team that’s unrelated to your web series?
An interesting thing that happened to us was precisely the reason for the project’s creation. My wife Alexia Garcia and I were looking for a new idea, where we could make art without spending too much money. A few days later after much thought, when we were almost giving up, I was sitting on the couch with the television control in hand. She came toward me, I turned around and inadvertently let the remote control fall onto the floor. When I picked up the remote, I looked straight at the “MUTE” button, and I had a great idea!

How long have you been making web series for?
We have been doing web series since 2010, but it always feels like a new challenge.

Describe the ultimate fan of your series?
Our public is very select. They are people who love art, art exhibitions, theater as well as cinema lovers who enjoy surrealism and suspense. Throughout the project we noticed that more and more people were enjoying the series and becoming MUTE fans. But our main goal is to reach the artistic class and people who love art in all its aspects.

How many people worked on this project?
We currently have sixteen professionals in our team. But we regularly bring in guests to write and direct episodes. The cast also varies widely.

Have you achieved the goals you set for this series?
I believe so. Our main goal was to make a difference in the midst of so many works posted on YouTube every day, and I think we did that right from the first episode. So I feel fulfilled.

What was the most difficult challenge you had to overcome in production, and how did you go about it?
Our greatest difficulty was always financial. But we managed to gather a team of wonderful professionals who are in love with the project and have donated their talent to it. In addition, we have the local support of several entrepreneurs in each episode. They support with location for recording, food, costumes, makeup …

Is your series an ongoing project? If so can you give us some clues about what comes next?
Yes it is. We will have a second season at the beginning of next year. There are only two episodes to debut in this actual season. One is called “Betrayal”, and talks about the masks that humans use daily. The other is called “Atrapada” and tells the story of a girl who is the only survivor of the virtual world. The second season will be called “Five Senses”.

MUTE on the web:
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Dominique McCusker

Author Dominique McCusker

Dominique is a communications intern at Melbourne WebFest and a third year Bachelor of Media and Communications student at La Trobe University, majoring in Journalism. Originally from Hong Kong, she has developed an insatiable curiousness about societies and cultures from her experiences travelling and the inherent multicultural nature of growing up in Hong Kong as a third culture kid. She is interested in a wide range of issues, from internet culture and social media, to women's cricket, to gender equality and LGBTQIA+ issues. After graduating she is hoping to pursue a career in online or print media either in Melbourne or abroad.

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