Episode 6 – Tiago P. de Carvalho: A joker, self-taught film director

Episode 6 – Tiago P. de Carvalho: A joker, self-taught film director

“Cinema, like theater, has to do with drama. You can’t film feelings but you can dramatize them.”


Yes… One of the “personas” I’ve always wanted to talk to is a film director. Cinema is the Seventh Art which opens us the door to a real or imaginary world that makes our heart beat faster. As far as storytelling is concerned, is there a better way to understand how to engage an audience than talking to a film director?

In the words of the Spanish philosopher José Ortega y Gasset, “I am plus my circumstances.” Beyond an insightful thought, this sentence perfectly describes the way I met Tiago P. de Carvalho. I was working at the office of my previous job when, all of a sudden, a jaunty guy comes in together with an elegant white dog (rocky balboa, his name). Fortunately, I was able to read between the lines that he was a film director preparing a documentary film about one of our clients.

As soon as their meeting came to an end, I turned to my co-worker and asked her: “Hey! Is that guy really a film director?” Her smile dictated a positive answer which resulted in a phone number added to my contact list.


Tomás VP Storyteller | Episode 6: Tiago P. de Carvalho Film Director

Following several attempts, we finally managed to meet each other in EPI (Lisbon’s Profissional Image School) where Tiago teaches. Since the first moment, I realized how chill and informal this episode would be. In fact, the first scene I saw Tiago performing was he telling his students “you’ll all fail!” Just for fun, of course.

With Mariana, a talented photographer by our side, the conversation began with Tiago’s childhood memories in regard to the cinema and filmmaking world. “I was capable of recording VHS players just with 4 years old!” Tiago was a child living in his own world, surrounded by fictional stories he and his friends came up with until late night hours.

In reality, “the moment I go to high school I already knew what it takes to make a movie because I started to do that every week since I was 11…”  Tiago’s journey as a film director is characterized by irreverence, courage, and confidence in his filmmaking capacities. He put an end to all the theoretical stuff thought at school and decided to get his hands dirty: videoclips and a short film were Tiago’s first baby steps of a future remarkable career.



Tomás VP Storyteller | Episode 6: Tiago P. de Carvalho Film Director

I was talking to a guy whose first short film was premiered in New York Film Festival, with a guy who did commercials for Coca-Cola, a guy who is a member of the Portuguese Fim Academy… But do you know what? It seemed like a conversation between really good friends. Curiously, the inspiration behind his stories regards friendship ties and to which extent are they unbreakable or not.

One of the things I loved hearing from Tiago was “I like simple stories more and more… Simple problems from normal people. Those stories end up being the most interesting of all.” That’s exactly what I believe in and put in practice, every time I do a podcast or write a blog article!

Over this one-hour conversation, Tiago allows to get in the backstage of an amazing world by sharing:

A) What does a story need to have to be loved by the viewer?

B) Fiction vs Non-fiction: how to assess these different film categories?

C) How’s the day of a film director like? What is his relationship with the actors and the other filmmaking staff?

D) What are the challenges faced by the Portuguese movie industry?

E) What can filmmaking teach us about the world we live in?




“Honestly I wouldn’t change anything. If I had superpowers, I would end hunger, poverty, war, corruption, fear … Since I don’t have them, I try to contribute to make things better day by day. If we choose what we do, we must do our best and help each other in the way we can, starting with those who are closest to us: neighbors from our building, street, neighborhood, and so on and so forth … If everyone does it, the world will be a better place to live…”

Check the trailer of Tiago’s first feature film called “Nirvana”: a Portuguese gangster comedy film.

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