Last Wednesday night, nightlife impresario and graffiti artist AndrÃ© Saraiva made his cinematic debut with The Shoe. The short film, sponsored by the classic French shoemaker J.M Weston, is a humorous homage to the lengths people will go for a pair of shoes. It follows two protagonists -- a pair of brown crocodile loafers and actor Leo Fitzpatrick -- through the streets of Paris, as he seduces Annabelle Dexter-Jones, Saraiva's real-life girlfriend. We caught up with the filmmaker over the weekend to discuss the story and his new movie further.
AndrÃ© Saraiva Talks Filmmaking, Shoes, Future Projects and Why He Doesn't Want to Be a Policeman
So The Shoe premiered last Wednesday. How do you feel now that you've shown it to the public?
I feel great. The screening went well. Nice people came, they liked it, and so it was really good.
How did you go about casting on this film?
I really wanted to work with people that I liked. I wanted all the girls to be blonde, pretty, beautiful. So I worked with people that I have worked with before, or people that I knew as friends. I wanted people with a little bit of attitude, not only being pretty, but provocative. And for the main characters -- like the girl -- I chose Annabelle [Dexter-Jones] because she is my muse. And she inspired me a lot to tell the story.
Does the movie recreate a typical day for you in Paris?
It would be a typical dream day.
Do you think this scenario of a beautiful woman going home with someone she just casually met happen that often in America?
The French in general seem more open with their sexuality than Americans. Yes, that's why it takes place in Paris. Without sounding clichÃ©, it's not only that they're more open with sexuality; they're more open with the idea of pleasure and taking the time and making things a bit more special and poetic. There are other good things in America, but in Paris they take the time to live life in different ways.
There's very little dialogue in the movie. How come?
I really wanted to make it seem like this dream, and also to keep it international and for the music to come through. We worked a lot with the music. The idea was to really have upcoming bands, young bands like the Virgins -- some of the music isn't even out yet.
Did you apply your street art background to filmmaking at all?
Yes, the attitude and the image look the same. In the film I also introduce graffiti in the credits. And there's a little moment when Leo passes by a wall and you see some graffiti.
The sex scene between Annabelle and Leo is quite realistic and Annabelle's mother was in the audience when you screened the film. Because of this we heard you showed a more PG version on Wednesday night?
Yeah, we made the first, early screening a little more subtle. But [her mother] did see the sex scene in the end. It was okay, but Annabelle was a bit timid.
Was the scene where Leo takes revenge by using a skateboard a direct reference to his first movie Kids?
Yes. And also because all the skaters you see use their decks as a weapon. So it was a direct reference to that.
What's the most you've ever done to get a pair of shoes?
Everything! I've stolen some; I've stolen money to buy some. I think for me, for men -- you can be dressed however, but you can judge the style and the elegance of a man through his shoes.
Do you have a favorite pair of shoes?
At the moment every shoe has its purpose. I have shoes for the evening and the day... but the shoes I've been wearing a lot lately are Weston loafers. They gave me lots of pairs, which were a great offering, and I wear them with no socks.
You said that you are currently working on a feature film?
I'm working on two stories at the same time. One is finished and the other I'm still working on the script. And I'm working on the dialogue -- this one has dialogue. And this one takes place in America. Actually the first part takes place in Paris and the second part in New York.
Will your girlfriend also be in it?
You're quite the "Jack of all trades" -- you've done filmmaking, nightclubs, hotels, and graffiti. Is there anything you won't try your hand at?
Many things. I'd rather not to be a policeman. Nor a politician, or a banker. I wouldn't want to work in an office and have a boss above me.
Photos by Billy Farrell Agency