Hollywood NIFF

Water Circles Under Cotton Clouds

Water Circles Under Cotton Clouds
In a dystopian future, with a social context influenced by various pandemics and with a political upheaval triggering reactionary governments, various young people hide on the outskirts of a city after looting a batch of vaccines. While the leaders of the group seek to sell them on the black market, the subjugated try to get their distribution among the marginal population who, like them, are deprived of vaccination. Tensions and discrimination based on sexuality or ethnicity soon arise in the group, reminiscent of past times, and that are the reflection of a society that has regressed. Desire and melancholy will mark characters stunned by a reality that is as fickle as unpredictable. ------- It is a choral short film, with characters only outlined to show their essence and with a complex intra-story. The plot focuses on the relationships between the characters: their traumas, hidden desires and dreams to fulfill, love and heartbreak, within that struggle for survival. A story with great emotional intensity that in some aspects, such as living under repression or having to hide one's social orientation, may seem from another era, but as society is evolving, it may be something that is becoming more and more present, as can be seen by the increase in attacks on the LGTBIQ+ collective today.
Director Biography - Roberto F. Canuto, Xiaoxi Xu
Roberto F. Canuto Film director and screenwriter from Asturias (Spain). He has worked in China for nearly a decade. He graduated in Information Sciences from the Complutense University of Madrid, after obtaining a degree in the specialty of Audiovisual Communication. He moved to London dedicating himself to professions far from the world of cinema until he resumed his passion in Los Angeles (USA) by studying a master's degree in film directing at the New York Film Academy, at Universal Studios (Hollywood). As of 2008 he directs several short films. Those years began his collaboration with Xu Xiaoxi. His two student and graduation projects premiered at festivals. After that, he directed various fiction films and commercials in China and Spain. In 2019 he was the director of the 1st Spanish Film Festival of Chengdu, organized by the Embassy of Spain in China, Ermei Studio 1958 and his production company, Almost Red Prod. Xiaoxi Xu Film director and screenwriter from Chengdu, China. He graduated in Fine Arts from the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University in Port Elizabeth (South Africa) in 2006, specializing in Video-art, with his experimental short film The Fluxus of ID. In 2009 he completed a Master of Film Directing (MFA) at the New York Film Academy, at its headquarters in Universal Studios (Hollywood). He directed several short films in celluloid and digital format and collaborates on many others as director of photography (most notably Toto Forever, being nominated by his academy for the Kodak Cinematography Scholarship Awards). He graduated with his work Desire Street, co-directed with Roberto F. Canuto, with whom he will collaborate ever since. All of his films are shown on the film festival circuit and he worked in various fiction films and commercials in China and Spain. He currently resides in Spain, establishing there a subsidiary of his production company Almost Red Prod., founded in China almost a decade ago. Directors Filmography Authors with multiple awards at international festivals, especially with their latest production, Sunken Plum (Chen Li, 2017). That film premiered in more than 50 countries and has official selections at prestigious festivals such as Raindance in London, Seminci in Valladolid, FICX, Malaga Film Festival or Outfest in Los Angeles. In addition, it won almost 30 awards and nominations such as the Silver Caravel at the Cartagena Film Festival, the three awards at the Punto di Vista Festival in Sardinia or the two obtained at the Cortada Festival in Vitoria, and with more than 200 international screenings. Roberto F. Canuto & Xu Xiaoxi previously directed the other two parts of their Chengdu Invisible trilogy: Floating Melon (Fu Guo) and Ni Jing, Thou Shall Not Steal (Ni Jing), works that also received numerous awards. In their filmography we find a Spanish-Chinese short film titled Advent (Ad-vientu). Previously his works were filmed in Los Angeles, with titles like Toto Forever or Desire Street. 2022 Water Circles Under Cotton Clouds (Círculos sobre agua, bajo nubes de algodón) 2017 Sunken Plum (Chen Li) 2016 Advent (Ad-vientu) 2015 Floating Melon (Fu Guo) 2013 Ni Jing: Thou Shalt Not Steal (Ni Jing) 2011 Desire Street 2010 Toto Forever (dir. Roberto F. Canuto) 2010 Mei Mei (dir. Xu Xiaoxi) 2008 The Fluxus of ID (dir. Xu Xiaoxi) Director Statement "Our main mission is to provide emotion and feeling to the story and characters, so that the viewers later transform that feeling into reflection." The germ of the story: “The initial idea arose after observing how one of the consequences of the pandemic was the polarization of society, an aspect that is favoring retrograde political parties to come to power or achieve important advances, something that will negatively affect the most vulnerable groups, such as the LGBTIQ+ community or the immigrants population. Wars, and the need for agreements to maintain power, result in these political groups being legitimized and their discriminatory, homophobic, sexist and xenophobic ideas being validated, as we see today with the policies of various European governments and are also beginning to be perceived in Spain. In this context, we imagine a social situation with those political parties consolidated in power, which will lead to social discrimination against groups, such as the LGBTIQ+, once again being something endorsed by the institutions. It seems important to us to show today's youth that we are not so far from returning to the denigrating situation of vulnerable groups experienced by previous generations”. The narration: “It is a choral short film, with characters only outlined to show their essence and with a complex intra-story. We develop only two opposing plot axes, which focus on one hand on the complexity of relationships due to hidden desires due to social pressure, and on the other on love in its purest essence, with a touch of nostalgia. The story aspires to expand into a longer project to fully develop its narrative potential. In general, the plot focuses on the relationships between the characters: their traumas, hidden desires and dreams to fulfill, love and heartbreak, within that struggle for survival. A story with great emotional intensity that in some aspects, such as living under repression or having to hide one's social orientation, may seem from another era, but as society is evolving, it may be something that is becoming more and more present, as can be seen by the increase in attacks on the LGTBIQ+ collective today.