Picturing My Mind is a whimsical animated journey through the doors of past memories. A visual poem that explores the profound relationship between the experiences that shape all of us — past and present — the story is told by a young immigrant woman, who gracefully dances through a series of romanticized scenes, with each door revealing the moments that have come to shape her. An autobiographical film, Picturing My Mind intimately illustrates director Vinicius Costa’s own coming of age, with an earnest vision of the next stage of his life as an immigrant of those distant times. It’s a surreal film that breaks traditional cinematic rules, leaving more space for unpredictability, just like our lives.
In contrast to all the rich details in the background, I wanted our character to stand out as simple. An orchestrated waltz accompanies the memories she narrates, as a surreal lamp structure akin to a giant Newton’s cradle swings to the beat.
Body language was important to this film, as I animated her with big motions — opposite to all the rigid stiffness of the structures nearby. This conceptual juxtaposition allows the character to appear relatively small in the frame while still capturing your attention. She doesn’t just walk around the scenes, she dances around her memories. The orchestrated music and beautiful choreography, together, are a tribute to my dad’s love of Broadway musicals and classic movies. Like in a theater, from a broad point-of-view, with minor cuts and zooms, we are the spectators, free to discover and explore intricate details everywhere.
I have always been fascinated by creating images with a complete story within. For example, I am a profound believer that a moving image is capable of making a connection with the same depth as painting in a museum. In my work, you'll always find a high level of detail, inviting the audience to discover the never-before-seen. I use vibrant colors to bring the optimistic touch we all need so much in life, and I use surrealism to break the literal side of things, giving you parts in exchange for you, the viewer, to form the whole.
I purposely broke away from traditional cinematic choices in telling this story. For example, Picturing My Mind is told from a broad point-of-view, placing you, the spectator, from afar, just like in a theater. This way, you are free to explore the scenes and choose where you want to look.
Everything is immediately exposed to you. I am not telling you, through cuts and close-ups, what visual element necessarily syncs up with the voiceover. You are free to choose what you want to see and engage with in the story however it appeals to you.
I first wrote the script thinking of writing a poem and illustrating it using surrealism and animation. I started with a rough draft, highlighting emotional events from my own memories, and then I asked a poet friend of mine to help me expand it further.
Ultimately, I wanted to convey a message of joy — how our past shapes us to the present, and how it will consequently shape the future. The poem opens with a moment in my life to which I hope you relate. I miss my grandparents, just like many of you likely do. I romanticize my time with them, and hope to bring you closer to it.
I then built upon more personal events like parenthood and becoming an immigrant in a new country – something I believe is relatable to so many others – and how being here is shaping me for the next stage in life, one that I am still not quite aware of; still, I know it will be a colorful future.
DIRECTOR & DESIGNER
3D TECH SUPPORT
HEAD OF PRODUCTION
ACTRESS & VOICE OVER
HOUDINI AND VFX
LIGHTING, RENDERING, MODELING, COMPOSITING
AUDIO & SFX