Between the Shadows

Natália, trapped in a tedious job, engages in a search for a stolen heart. In a world where hearts can be deposited in a bank, the protagonist faces a dilemma: give her heart or keep it to herself.


Film Director, Art Director

“Entre Sombras” [Between the Shadows] merges the artistic depth of surrealism with the stylistic nuances of film noir, setting its narrative in the 1940s yet transcending temporal boundaries through its surreal logic. The film’s unique visual language, characterized by pixilation and stop-motion animation, crafts a dreamlike atmosphere where the ordinary is intertwined with the fantastical: hearts stored in safes, headless men, and self-moving belts. This blend of real imagery and animation not only enriches the narrative with abstract concepts and metaphors but also accentuates the human element through vivid emotional expressions and body language, enhancing the storytelling with a malleable yet coherent cinematic narrative.

The aesthetic choices of black and white visuals, chiaroscuro lighting, and art deco elements, paired with the unconventional transformation of the femme fatale archetype into an homme fatale, boldly subvert traditional gender roles and narrative expectations. The film adopts a female perspective, challenging the male-dominated discourse of classic film noir by focusing on the complex dynamics of desire and power within gender relationships. This is further emphasized through the protagonist’s navigation of menacing, male-dominated urban landscapes, illuminated by a suspenseful chiaroscuro light, creating an ambiance filled with mystery and tension.

Between the Shadows stands out as a provocative neo-noir film that not only pays homage to the aesthetics and mood of 1940s cinema but also innovatively incorporates surrealist elements to deconstruct and critique cinematic stereotypes. The narrative’s refusal to conform to a conventional happy ending or romantic resolution underscores its commitment to presenting a more nuanced portrayal of its characters, while the evocative soundtrack underscores the protagonist’s journey from dissatisfaction to a form of female liberation. Through its artistic fusion and feminist dimension, the film invites audiences into a visually stunning, intellectually stimulating exploration of identity, autonomy, and transformation.

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Art direction and costume design

Process, objects and sets

  • French Academy Awards

    Nominated for the Césars Awards, France, 2020

  • Greenwich Village Film Festival

    Best Short Animation Award, USA, 2019

  • Palm Springs International ShortFest

    Audience Award, USA, 2019

  • ADF – Autores de Fotografía Cinematográfica

    Best Photography, Argentina, 2019

  • Flickerfest - International Short Film Festival

    SAE Creative Media Institute Award for Best use of Digital Technology in a Short Film, Australia, 2019

  • Portuguese Cinema Academy

    Sophia Awards, Best Short Film Animation, Portugal, 2019

  • Monstra Festival - Portuguese Competition SPAutores

    Audience Award - Portuguese Competition, Portugal, 2019

  • As iFF Spring, USA

    Best Cinematography, Best Animation, Best Score, USA, 2019

  • LIsFE - Leiden International Short Film Experience

    General Award, Netherlands, 2019

  • Fastnet Film Festival

    Best Original Music, Best Cinematography, Ireland, 2019

  • Festival Stop Motion Montreal

    Best Independent Film, Canada, 2019

  • KuanDu International Animation Festival

    Best Original Score, Taiwan, 2019

  • Animafest - World Festival of Animated Films Zagreb

    Audience Award, Croatia, 2018

  • Curtas Vila do Conde International Film Festival

    Public Award, Portugal, 2018

  • Hiroshima International Animation Festival

    Special Jury Prize, Japan, 2018

  • Montpellier International Festival of Mediterranean Film

    Young Jury Award, France, 2018

  • Caminhos do Cinema Português

    Best Animation Award, Honourable Mention From the Press, Portugal, 2018

Script, Direction and Animation: Alice Guimarães and Mónica Santos
Cast: Sara Costa, Gilberto Oliveira
Narration: Margarida Vila-Nova; Lindsey Richardson
Director of Photography: Manuel Pinto Barros
Art Direction: Mónica Santos
Musical Composition: Pedro Marques
Animation Direction: Alice Guimarães
Décors: Nuno Brandão
Props: Milton Pacheco
Graphic Design: Joana Araújo
Make-Up: Francisca Sobral
Make-Up Assistant: Regina Machado
Costume Design: Mónica Santos
Costume Maker: Francisca Santos
Cast (Extras): Emílio Gomes, João Pamplona, Rui Alexandre Osório, Teresa Freitas, Mónica Santos, Marlene Félix, Clara Nogueira, Milton Pacheco, Daniela Duarte, Francisca Sobral, Regina Machado, Nuno Amorim, Ana Pinto, Gilberto Oliveira, Davide Freitas, Joana Moraes, Simão Luís, Vanessa Ventura, Vítor Carvalho, Pedro Medeiros
Production: Animais, AVLP
Producer: Vanessa Ventura, Nuno Amorim
Executive Producer: Davide Freitas
Co-Production Portugal: Um Segundo Filmes
Producer: Pedro Medeiros
Delegate Producer: Humberto Rocha, Victor Carvalho
Co-Production France: Vivement Lundi!
Executive Producer: Fabrice Dugast
Producer: Jean-françois Le Corre, Mathieu Courtois
Production Secretary: Valérie Malavieille
Assistants: Mélissa Derennes, Nathan Santarossa
Bank: Banque Crédit Coopératif
Insurance: Assurances Diot SA
Casting: Agente a Norte
Accounting: Cpifo, SA
Translation: Nathan Belois
Making Of: Francisco Morgan, Francisco Pires
Post-Production Direction: Fabrice Dugast
Editing: Alice Guimarães
2D & Compositing: Sylvain Lorent
3D & Compositing: Michael Le Meur
FX Studio: Personne N’est Parfait!
Colour Correction: Pascal Nowak
Pad & Lab: AGM Factory
Studio (Shooting): Um Segundo Filmes
Sound Design: Kévin Feildel
Bruitage: Bertrand Boudaud
Sound Mixing: Paul Jousselin
Sound Studio: AGM Factory Music
Composing Assistant: Pedro Pimentel
Music Score: Filipe Fernandes
Singer: Natália Rodrigues
Lyrics: Tiago Nobre
Violin: Francisca Pinto Machado
Violin: Diana Pereira
Cello: Sónia Amorim
Double Bass: José Carlos Barbosa
Saxophone and Clarinet: José Pedro Coelho
Flute: Mariana Da Silva Portovedo