“I work with real guns. There are lots of guns out there. When I destroy one gun I make sure that it wont kill anymore,” says Fiel dos Santos in “Little Fiel” – a short documentary with stop motion animation about the unending civil war. It is based on Fiel’s childhood memories of growing up during the 16-year civil war – another proxy war sustained by conflicting foreign powers, Russia and USA among others. Fiel created eight figures representing his father, mother, five brothers and sister from decommissioned AK-47s and M16s. Three New York artists turned them into puppets and animated. “Little Fiel” tells a universal story of peaceful people who have been coerced, conscripted and enticed into killing each other.
When the Civil War in Mozambique started in 1975, Fiel was 3 years old. He had a big family of five siblings and numerous cousins. Towards the end of the 16-year-war, Fiel found himself living alone in the dilapidating house with no electricity and water at the age of 14. To overcome depression and madness he started drawing on the walls of the house. Today Fiel is a renowned artist, one of four authors of the celebrated “Tree of Life” sculpture exhibited in the British Museum. Fiel dos Santos is the only member of his family who hasn’t shot a gun. As he is welding sculptures, we see that beneath his cool façade, Fiel’s childhood memories have hardened inside him. He’s been carrying them all his life, just like his sculptures carry gun pieces as their limbs.
shot in Mozambique, animated in New York and Connecticut
gun sculptures by Fiel dos Santos
animated by Chris Langer, Gus Ford snd Irina Patkanian
director of photography Gus Ford
music by Adam Silverman
sound design by Ross Williams
written/directed/produced and edited by Irina Patkanian