«The landscape of La Vera is purely cinematographic»

Carlota Pereda, director of ‘Cerdita’, is the La Vera Retiro Imperial Award 2023

Carlota Pereda, film director, has been recognised with the La Vera Retiro Imperial 2023 Award. Before the award ceremony, she had this interview with the Red de Rutas del Emperador Carlos V.

What does it mean to receive a recognition such as the La Vera Retiro Imperial Award?
What it means is a surprise. I never expected it for a work done out of love, from something small and very personal. It is true that we have done it hand in hand with La Vera and its people. That’s why it’s something that has never been in my mind and it’s an honour, without a doubt.

How much satisfaction is this film giving you?
There are so many,» she laughs, «that I don’t know where to start. I owe it my career, the possibility of choosing my job. It’s impossible to calculate the amount of love we are receiving all over the world, and I’m not exaggerating. As of today, ‘Piggy’ has been released all over the world, and it’s unthinkable for a director’s first film. This is something that doesn’t usually happen with Spanish films. To see all the love that this film receives, that people connect with it, with what happens in a village in La Vera, from Korea to Gambia, passing through Latin America or cities like New York, is very crazy.

What is the germ of ‘Cerdita’?
For a long time I spent my summers in La Vera, and I think I remember it was one day in August, at siesta time, with a horrible heat, and we were in La Vera and he was just there, well one day one summer, I think it was August, I can’t remember exactly right now, but it was a horrible heat and it was just at siesta time, just when my daughter was sleeping, and I escaped to the Gualtaminos gorge. Let me clarify: I didn’t leave the child alone,» she says laughing, «but in someone else’s care. As I was saying, I arrived at the gorge and found myself alone there in the sole company of a girl. Then I started to wonder why she was there alone at that hour. From that came the idea that no one could possibly even be with her; which, in turn, I linked to a series of my own fears, some personal experiences and the fact that I had been a mother. That same afternoon, on returning to the house where I was staying, I wrote the script.

What significance does La Vera have in this film?
On the one hand, bulliying is more claustrophobic, you have no escape. The same people you go to school or high school with are the ones you meet in the streets. On the other hand, the landscape of La Vera is beautiful, fortunately it’s not very exploited for better or worse,» she smiles. It has something of a western feel to it. In a way, I always say that Extremadura is the Texas of the United States, with its dry, almost desert part, and then the green part. It has many things. For me, the landscape of La Vera is purely cinematographic.

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