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‘Timecode’ reminds its audience they're more than their monotonous job

The official poster for the Oscar nominated live action short
The official poster for the Oscar nominated live action short "Timecode."
Official poster for "Timecode"

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Our series of interviews with Oscar nominated shorts continues.

In case you missed it, on Wednesday A Martinez spoke to writer, director and composer of "Ennemis Interieurs," Selim Azzazi. This short tackles anti-foreigner sentiment through a tense interrogation scene.

On Tuesday, we looked at the Hungarian short, "Sing," directed by Kristoff Deak. This short's major theme was about giving a voice to the oppressed and fighting injustice.

But we kicked off the whole series on Monday, with a look at "La Femme et le TGV." Director Timo Von Gunten discussed the film's theme's of loneliness and human connection.

On Thursday, we bring you a film called "Timecode."

A female parking lot security guard discovers that the person who works the shift before her loves to dance. That's because he dances as he walks through the lot while on his rounds right in front of the many cameras that record everything.

She then does the same and writes down the timecode for him so he can see her....which he does and then returns the favor.

Juanjo Gimenez Pena's is the film's director, and he says the idea for the film grew out of his own embarrassing experience.

"Twenty years ago I was working in a big company and I had some free time, some hours and I started using the company computers to write some ideas, scripts, writings. A colleague of mine discovered the writings but the use that she made of this writings was not polite. She used it not in a right way...

She showed the writings, without telling me, to the other colleagues and started laughing every week about my writings...I realized months later. So it was kind of a shock for me and I explained that little story to my co-writer and then we started working with that. I wanted to make a film about dance so we started changing dancing for writing and then that was the main idea behind Timecode."

One big takeaway from "Timecode," was how people can be so much more than what they appear, or what they do for a living...

"In some interviews I've told that for example...Kafka was working in an insurance company and Albert Einstein was working in a custom office. You are categorizing people by their uniform or their job but behind that uniform or  behind that job maybe there is something special, there is beauty or a nobel prize behind that. Maybe that's the idea behind Timecode."

The other part of it too is that a lot of people work very routine monotonous jobs, just like the security guards in "Timecode." Would you say the film makes a case for finding something in your life that makes you happy, even if your job doesn't give you that?

"Of course, my main job is filmmaking since 20 years ago. But sometimes I collaborate with outside filmmaking or audio visual. At the time of the post production of "Timecode" I was working in a software program thing outside the filmmaking industry and at that time, nobody there in my office knew that I was a filmmaker...

I remember the day that we got selected for Cannes and I said to my colleagues, 'We got a selection for the Palme D'or!' And everybody was saying, 'Are you making films or what?' There are some things in common in my life or parts of my life with 'Timecode." 

...I agree. I agree. These kinds of repetitive jobs that we have maybe prevent us to explore our creative...I think everybody has a creative way to explore."

Answers have been edited for length and clarity.

To listen to the full interview, click the blue play button above.