Film Step by Step
Film directing manual with a teaching methodology based on the knowledge of the self
Cinematographic book that displays Carolina Rivas’ creative process in her filming since her first two short films, Zone Zero (ENAC-UNAM, 2003), selected at the Cannes Film Festival, and Life is Amputated Dry (ENAC-UNAM, 1995), up until her three feature films, The Color of Olives (2006), Lessons for Zafirah (2011) and 1 For 1 (2013). The directing methodology as well as the creative process of her work are discussed thoroughly in this book. The content showcased in this book is a unique comparative study between the process of creation and the finished film.
For readers only: a link is provided to watch the author’s films online.
WATCH THE VIRTUAL PRESENTATION made by the publishing house Autografía:
Available in Spain at Autografía publishing house:
Also available on Amazon.es in two formats: physical book and ebook (Kindle Shop, Apple iBooks Store, Tolino or Divivib)
Ebook available in Mexico at:
The last copies of the FIRST EDITION are available on Mercado libre
About the author
Carolina Rivas is a well-known filmmaker and writer in the international film scene. Her critical wit and humanist spirit are distinguishing characteristics of her work. She studied at the Sogem School of Writers in Mexico and at the National School of Cinematographic Arts (ENAC, formerly CUEC) within the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM). She studied drama and Butoh dance. After her short film Zone Zero (ENAC-UNAM, 2003), which was selected at the Cannes Film Festival, she has received an array of awards throughout her career. The Color of Olives (2006) won Best Documentary Direction at Golden Minbar, Russia, as well as Courage in Filmmaking at the Women Film Critics Circle Awards, USA; Lessons for Zafirah (co-directed with Daoud Sarhandi, 2011) won Best Film at the Latin American Film Festival van Vlaanderen, Belgium. In 2012, Rivas collaborated as member of the jury at the Documenta Madrid festival. In 2015, she founded Videovalores, a series of short films which portray universal values. A short film in this series, Grietas (Dyaa Naim, 2019), received the Plural+ Youth and Video Festival Award in New York. She is the founder of the production company Creadores Contemporáneos in Mexico and the chairperson of Open Art cultural association in Spain. She currently lives in Barcelona.
Film Step by Step: A Method of Self-Knowledge displays Carolina Rivas’ step-by-step process of her film since her first two short films, Zone Zero (ENAC-UNAM, 2003), selected at the Cannes Film Festival, and Life is Amputated Dry (ENAC-UNAM, 1995), up until her three feature films, The Color of Olives (2006), Lessons for Zafirah (2011) and 1 For 1(2013). The directing methodology as well as the creative process of her work are discussed thoroughly in this book.*
Rivas presents her directing methodology as a proposal to guide the creation of a film, which she calls “self-knowledge methodology”. This methodology consists of identifying two distinct natures in the creation process: the filmmaker’s nature and the dramatic universe’s nature. Both natures complement each other to articulate, scene by scene, a powerfully unique film.
Film Step by Step gathers methodology-related documents, such as original production folders, scripts, shooting notes, visual research, templates, photographs, storyboards, graphics, terminology and secret directing and editing tools. In a simple and practical way, this book shares the filmmaker’s private creative laboratory with the reader.
The content showcased in this book is a unique comparative study between the process of creation and the finished film. The main takeaway of this book is that it’s important to not only have a life experience to share but also to find a methodology.
* For readers only: a link is provided to watch the author’s films online.
“This book delivers a way to tear the old empire of film, where only the “chosen” or the “geniuses”, whose creative processes are secretly guarded, can break through. Nowadays, any young person with a phone camera can be a filmmaker. What is usually missing is a methodology that works. The “self-knowledge methodology” that Rivas suggests introduces a practical revelation in the way films are made”.
Daoud Sarhandi, filmmaker and editor of Film Step by Step
“Carolina Rivas is an excellent example of a filmmaker who clearly shares with us her way of seeing the world, leading us to a deep reflection on the contemporary through a simple story”.
Juan Mora Catlett, filmmaker and professor at ENAC and CCC.
“Film, guided by self-knowledge, is a powerful tool for personal expression and a social artefact that reveals the way we exist. The importance of self-knowledge applied to film lies in providing answers to the two greatest mysteries that arise when making a film: “what” is to be told and “how” does one want to tell it. These answers show a unique visual and sound path based on the filmmaker’s own life experiences. Self-knowledge implies going on a treasure hunt, that of one’s own style, the hallmark that defines a film director. I believe that in this current era, with technology available to everyone, anyone is capable of becoming a filmmaker with just a phone camera. Because of this, it is essential to me to communicate the importance of having a guide to making a film. Film Step by Step exists for this very reason: it is a useful book to learn about the creative spirit of a film and the responsibility of making good film with your own hallmark. Nowadays, we don’t need more films, we need better films”. Carolina Rivas
Translated by Ana B. Vela