Mario Sibaja, congratulations on “A Twins’ Seance” and its selection in the “Best Super Short Film” category! Why did you choose this format rather than another?

– Thank you very much. It means a lot to me to be a finalist in your festival. I’m currently studying for a bachelor’s degree in film music at Berklee College of Music, and I’ve taken a few film courses as part of the curriculum. The final assignment for one of my courses was to make a short film. I liked the result of the project and decided to submit it to a few film festivals. This is my first short film and I can’t wait to see what comes out of it.

If you let your imagination run wild, what do you think the rest of your story would be like? What wouldn’t you like it to look like?

– Honestly, I’m not at all sure (laughs). I love composing music, but I also feel I’ve found a new passion for filmmaking. I like to write exciting stories that have artistic and cinematic appeal. I can’t wait to create more and see where it takes me.

How did you learn your trade?

– I learned a lot by researching online, but I wasn’t aware of the trade as a whole until I took a course called “The Language of Film and Television”, which taught me to appreciate the technical side of the business. I also took another course called “Introduction to Digital Cinematography”, which was more practical, and I really enjoyed the process of writing, producing and directing. Before that, I didn’t understand the psychological intentions associated with the technical aspect, so I’d create shots without meaning to, just because they looked cool.

I’ve learned that one of the big differences between an amateur filmmaker and a professional filmmaker is that a beginner or amateur often creates shots without deep motivation. Great filmmakers are intentional in everything they do. You need to think about the “why” of everything you see and hear.

What does the shot communicate, and how does it serve the story? Which type of lens is right for which plan? Why this camera movement? What’s in the plan and why? How do the visual and sound elements communicate with the characters? What is our intention in adding elements that describe the background or psychological intentions of the characters? How does lighting contribute to ambience? What are we trying to achieve with the music, and how does the audience feel about it? I believe that being deliberate and meticulous at every level enhances the quality of the work and its impact on the audience.

How would you define yourself as a Spanish-speaking filmmaker?

– Not necessarily, no. I’ve been living in the United States for 13 years and I’ve had more opportunities to make films in English than in Spanish. However, I feel that as a native Spanish-speaking filmmaker, my films in Spanish can have a greater cultural resonance with my target audience.

For example, just as it would be difficult for a white filmmaker to tell the story of black characters, I think telling the stories of one’s own community serves the film, and makes it more authentic and true to the story. When you tell the stories of your own people, you can make more informed decisions about the direction of the film.

That said, I’d like to continue making films in Spanish for the foreseeable future, without of course closing the door on creating stories in English.

Does your story bear the mark of the Iberian or Latin American female figure?

– In a way, this is the case, even if no women appear in the short film. I had limited resources, and it was difficult to find Spanish-speaking women in Seattle (where the shoot took place) who could act in Spanish with a Madrid accent. This meant I had to modify the story a little to suit what I had at my disposal. However, the story bears the stamp of a remarkable matriarch (Alberto and José’s mother). We can see how much their mother has influenced them, as she is at the center of their psychological intentions, even after her death. Their mother has become more of a side story, but she influences the whole film.

I personally think that Spain and Latin America share the idea that many women are “matriarchs”, as they are seen as the driving force behind many families. The perception that many Latin American women are considered matriarchs can be attributed to several cultural, historical and social factors that are particularly important in these regions. Without going into generalizations, and knowing that not all women fit this description, certain factors such as gender roles, expectations, family-centered societies, the influence of matrilineal societies, the high value placed on motherhood, women’s empowerment, leadership, historical struggles and resilience – particularly in families where the father figure is absent – have contributed to the perception of women as matriarchs in certain communities.

The twins’ session is fueled by this perception. Alberto and José’s mother is an imperfect but very influential mother, as her twin sons seem to appreciate her intentions and do everything they can to get answers from her, even when she’s no longer around.

Abhijit Naskar, author of The film testament, said, “Whatever your genre of choice – romance, comedy, action, mystery, sci-fi or whatever – make sure it dispenses, above all, a dose of everyday human goodness.” Is there a genre to your art?

– I’d describe “A Twins’ Séance” as a classic mystery. If it ever became a feature film, it would be a mystery thriller with suspenseful influences borrowed from the horror film, without being a horror film.

What are your plans for the near future? Do you have any comments to make on the climate crisis and how it affects or is likely to affect Costa Rica, your home country?

– I’d like to dive deeper into filmmaking. As a musician and independent producer, I’m well aware of the difficulties involved in raising funds to create works of art. It can certainly be expensive, and the more complex your projects are, the more they cost too. But there are always ways to be creative, and I can’t wait to see what I can do with the resources at my disposal.

Yes, I have some things to say about the climate crisis. I don’t consider myself an expert on the subject, but I do know that the climate crisis in Costa Rica is complex and that various factors are interconnected. Although Costa Rica has taken significant steps to combat climate change and reduce its own carbon footprint, it is also affected by global climate trends, which may require international cooperation and collective action to mitigate them effectively. In particular, we are affected by extreme weather events, changes in precipitation patterns, rising sea levels, biodiversity loss and agricultural challenges.

And what’s your vision of post-Covid cinema? Brief statement.

– I’m brand new to the movie business, but I know that studios and movie distributors are exploring hybrid strategies, combining theatrical releases with simultaneous or staggered digital releases. This approach enables them to appeal both to traditional moviegoers and to audiences who prefer streaming options. My goal is not profit, and I explore the business simply because I love it. It’s not a business you get into to make money. At least, not until I have a contract with a major studio.

I think most of us who make independent films simply love the art and are passionate about the craft. I know that many independent filmmakers faced considerable challenges during the pandemic. I hope that post-pandemic cinema will remain focused on supporting and promoting independent films, possibly through streaming platforms and online festivals. I’d say one of the good things that came out of the pandemic is that it highlighted the importance of a diverse and inclusive narrative. Post-covid cinema could see a continued effort towards more diverse representation in front of and behind the camera.


Mario Sibaja
Director & Producer

Mario Sibaja is a multi-instrumentalist, music producer and composer, and filmmaker based in Seattle, Washington and originally from Costa Rica.
He currently attends Berklee College of Music, where he specializes in film music. Mario works in many fields on a variety of projects and is always on the lookout for new and exciting opportunities that require him to think outside the box. Mario likes to apply his musical creativity and push his own boundaries, combining his carefully crafted visuals with his sound design experience in a perfect marriage.


A Twins Séance (2023): Writer, producer, actor, composer, sound designer, director.



INSTAGRAM @atwinsseancefilm

ITV 2023

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