Water in the Gills

PerSo Short

by Marco Schiavon
Portugal, 2021, 24’

Wednesday, Oct. 05, Zenith Cinema, Via Benedetto Bonfigli 5, 4:30 p.m.


Director: Marco Schiavon 

Scriptwriters: Marco Schiavon, Catarina Carvalho 

Editing: Marco Schiavon, Rui Pedro Lamy, Catarina Carvalho 

Music: Giovanni Schievano 

Producer: Rui Pedro Lamy, Marco Schiavon, Tiago Melo Bento


In the early 90’s a 12 years old young boy moved from a big German city to Faial, a small island lost in the Atlantic Ocean. Here the sea shapes the pace of days, nature lives deep within every inhabitant, time runs as if suspended. Franz holds his breath in apnea diving in the deep. Immersed in the blue, his inner time dilates and his soul wonders. This ritual leads him to find a deep connection with the island, and once grown up, to the decision to stay and live a life of ancestral simplicity. Home is in these depths.

Director Statement

I travelled in the Azores archipelago for three months, during the summer of 2017, and I had the privilege of getting to know those places almost as a local. My knowledge of the language, having lived in Portugal for two years already, and my unassuming way of traveling allowed me to build close and intimate relationships with the people I met along the way, all traditionally open and good-hearted people who often welcomed me in their homes, entertaining me with long conversations and becoming friends. I could therefore perceive the soul of the land and its inhabitants, tune in with the daily life and be irremediably captivated by it. I have been living for years an inner conflict between city life, permeating with noise, hectic rhythms and straight horizons but also with urban and architectural fascination, social life and access to culture, and my tension towards a calmer life, linked to the rhythms of nature, more simple and ancestral, but inevitably more isolated. The Azores had a direct impact on the life moment I am currently living. And when I met Franz, his story and his outlook, the idea of portraying him came naturally.

Marco Schiavon 

Marco Schiavon was born in Treviso, Italy, in 1993. Has a degree in Economics at the University of Bologna, where at the same time studied photography. In 2016 moved to Portugal where he started his studies in Documentary Cinema. Had specific studies in DoP, Writing and Editing and then completed his education at Instituto de Produção Cultural e Imagem (IPCI) of Porto.

In 2018, his first short film project WATER IN THE GILLS was selected to pitch at the PERSO LAB session at PerSo – Perugia Social Film Festival, Italy, and shot in the Azores Islands.

Meanwhile, he started working on his next film, BRATSTVO – THE BROTHERHOOD, his first feature-length documentary, now in development. For this project he won the Fuorirotta 2018 contest.

In 2019, has been chosen to direct together with 5 others directors UNA VITA IN PIÚ, a collective documentary produced by Fondazione La Città del Sole Onlus, in collaboration with PerSo – Perugia Social Film Festival, with the support of MiBACT and SIAE, with the artistic direction of director Giovanni Piperno and screenwriter Stefano Rulli. The film had its first screening in cinema in Perugia, Italy.

In 2020 works together with portuguese director and producer Rui Pedro Lamy on the documentary serie ATRÁS DOS TEMPOS, produced by RTP.