Interview: Bruno Gascon Talks “Carga” and Human Trafficking

Human trafficking is of the most painful realities that could happen to any human being. Due to the nature of my job, I have to watch lots of documentaries or even movies that are either based on true stories or inspired by real events, that again, revolve around human trafficking. To tell what one human being can do to another, to a child for instance, is something no mind can comprehend.

Bruno Gascon as a filmmaker dives deep into the same concept, takes the story from a real life, and adapts it into a film called “Carga”. What happens in his film, I hope you will get a chance to find out by watching it OnDemand, however, there are no words which can deliver what horror one man can easily bring into the life of another with such ease that at times is terrifying to process.

During the interview with director of “Carga”, Bruno Gascon, I knew how interesting it was going to be for you, my most valuable reader. But be prepared, it’s not an easy read to go through.

MOVIEMOVESME: What inspired you to write and direct “Carga”?

Bruno Gascon: When I returned from Amsterdam I started working for national tv in Portugal mainly at documentaries focused on social issues and, of course, migrations. Since the beginning and listening to all those stores I feel like I have the responsibility to make people understand how cruel and inhuman are the situations that most of those people live and how far could a human being go. Of course, since I am working for a tv channel I was not always allowed to show the real dark side of stories… When I decided to write and direct my first feature film, I knew since the beginning that this was the subject and the story that I wanted to tell. I believe that cinema is an incredible and powerful tool to raising awareness and make people understand that this happens in all world and it needs to be stopped.

MOVIEMOVESME: How much did you know about human trafficking before writing the screenplay?

Bruno Gascon: While I was working in documentaries, I’ve known several people whose stories leave a huge impact on me, they’re people that only leave their countries searching for a better life and instead they only find pain and suffering. When I started writing my screenplay, I got access to much more stories because we had a partnership with a Portuguese ONG that works with rescued people from human trafficking networks. By talking with them it makes me understand one thing: the fiction is tough, but I have no words to describe the real life of those people because when the film ends everyone goes home, but for them it’s something that remains with them every day.

MOVIEMOVESME: How were the characters brought to life in your mind? How difficult was it giving them life as you were writing them?

Bruno Gascon: Having known so many real stories it has been easier for me to create the characters, of course, they become more real the more layers I give to their personality. I want them to be real, this means that I want them to have grey areas. Probably that was the difficult task while writing: make sure that they are real and make justice to all the victims.

MOVIEMOVESME: Antonio is a very complex character who seems to have his doubts with what he is doing, however, he never does anything to stop it. He cares about his family but does not care about others. Was that your goal to show him as a struggling, broken man that even with all the doubts he had in his mind, continues doing the wrong things?

Bruno Gascon: António is that kind of man that has made a wrong choice thinking that he will get easy money to provide food and a good life for his family. Like in many countries we had in an huge economical crisis in Portugal and António is representative of some people that get involved with crime and, in this case, trade because it’s something they didn’t know really well, they believe it will be just a job and then it will be easy to leave it, but it’s not so easy and once involved in something like this you can’t get out. The character suffers with his choices, but he knows he can’t stop doing that. Human beings are selfish by nature and António has a strong instinct of self-preservation and he prefers to save his family and himself than people that he doesn’t know. Despite that he struggles with his conscience.

MOVIEMOVESME: The cast of “Carga” was excellent. Whether it is Michalina Olszanska as Viktoria/ Alanna, Vitor Norte as Antonio, Rita Blanco, Sara Sampaio, Dmitry Bogomolov and Ana Cristina de Oliveira – all of them brought so much depth to their characters. They were a perfect fit. Can you talk about the casting process?

Bruno Gascon: It’s funny that you talk about that because when I write I always imagine the actor that will play the character. That could be problematic if they say not but for my first feature film I got really lucky since all of them accepted to be part of “Carga” because of the subject and the work that we have done together in the characters’ development. Working with them was really easy, I’ve learned a lot with my cast and they have turned each character more real and human.

MOVIEMOVESME: As you were making the film about such an important subject matter such as human trafficking, what was your takeaway from it? How much you learnt about the dark and bright side of human beings throughout this process?

Bruno Gascon: You’re right. I will never be the same after this movie. You grow up thinking that things like freedom, choices, and dreams are something that’s available for everyone but then you realize it’s not true. And the darkest thing is that you find out that the “monster” can be people like us. Then you start thinking what can you do to help, in my case it was this movie because I think people should see how it is, and how cruel and unfair it could be. That’s why I try to put the audience in the characters’ shoes, it’s like a window to that world. This is a worldwide problem but you have no idea how many times I listened to people asking me why do I want to tell this story since this is supposedly a third world problem, but it’s not; it can happen to your family, to your friends, to your neighbours, in your city, everywhere. But of course, there’s also brightness and people that do something to stop it. It’s in our hands to be part of the change, you just need to choose what side you will be on. Courage, strength, and hope are some things that also are part of our world and in my next film which I’m already preparing that’s what I’m going to show.

MOVIEMOVESME: As the writer and director of “Carga”, what would you like to tell someone who’s a victim?

Bruno Gascon: There’s nothing that I can tell you that will erase what you have gone through; it’s not fair, it’s not right and it should have never happened. I’m sorry for everything that they have done to you. I know that you will never be the same and that it is difficult right now to believe in other people, but please be strong and believe that you will survive this and that your story matters and by sharing it, by asking for help, and helping to destroy this networks you’re doing something that could help and protect not only you but so many other people.

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