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Q&A with Nuria Ibáñez, Director of 'The Naked Room'

By KJ Relth

As part of The Art of Documentary series, the IDA screened the award-winning film The Naked Room at the Landmark Theater in Los Angeles on Thursday, March 13. The film shows a whole world without leaving a single space: the examination room in a children's hospital in Mexico City. Listening to the children, their parents and the doctors during consultations allows us to have a more profound and complex view of our social reality and of human nature.

Filmmaker Nuria Ibáñez was traveling and unable to attend the screening, so we solicited questions for the filmmaker from our Twitter audience. See below for questions from the Twittersphere, including a few from our own engaged IDA staff members.


What led you to look at childhood through the eyes of children that have suffered trauma?

I could see through these children's experiences not only the representation of their own stories, but mainly the reflection of our social reality and human condition.

The subjects seemed very unaware of the camera and seemed to be responding very naturally. What techniques or equipment did DP Ernesto Pardo employ to accomplish this? How was the sound recorded: camera mic or boom mic?

We used an EX3 sony camera—which is not very big—and sometimes a very simple steady to be stable during the long conversations. That was all. Regarding the sound, the sound operator Federico [gave] them all (doctors, parents and children) a wireless microphone, and he used a boom. I was so interested in getting a clean sound because I filmed during the renovation of the hospital, and I had a lot of background noise.

Why was The Naked Room structured the way it was? Did you plan this raw, direct style from the beginning?

The structure was one of the most challenging aspects of the doc during the editing process. This structure allows us to underline a final message that is not explicitly expressed in each individual case, but it is conveyed with the sum of all the different stories. I filmed each consultation in only one shot, because I didn't want to interfere with the natural conversation of each one of them. I was not thinking about the editing while I filmed. I focused on observing and listening the children as if a camera would have not been present. So yes, I planned this direct style from the beginning.

While making The Naked Room, who was your target audience? What feeling did you want us to leave with? What action would you want the audience to take?

I never thought about a target audience. This film is about human condition and I think we all are reflected in a way or another.

I think the film gives space to different feelings and reflections at all levels. But one of the most strong feelings that I still experience is the fragility of human kind. I want people to be open to diverse stories without judging, avoiding prejudices.

Have you screened the film for any of the subjects (children, parents, psychologists) who participated in the film? If so, what was their reaction?

Not yet, but it is happening in June. I'll keep you updated about the reactions.

How did you come upon the title The Naked Room? How are the children now?

Because I filmed it in a room, and because this room gave them a way to bare their souls. I tried to detach from them as not to confuse them, and to avoid confusing myself as well. However, I'm looking forward to seeing them in June.

What is next for the film?

The film is in the promotional film festival process and educational distribution is coming soon. Anyone interested can contact Magic Lantern for further information.

What is next for you?

A film about outdoors and landscape.