Alberto Mielgo (‘Love, Death + Robots’) on the toxic relationship at the center of ‘Jibaro’ [Exclusive Video Interview]

In coming up with the idea for the “Jibaro” episode of “Love, Death + Robots,” Alberto Mielgo actually found inspiration when looking inward. “I wanted to talk a little bit about myself, and I wanted to talk about characters that are not necessarily heroic. I wanted to talk about something that is pretty much a toxic relationship,” the writer and director tells Gold Derby during our recent webchat (watch the exclusive video interview above). He found himself embodying different aspects of the characters including going for things that will hurt him and going after something dangerous no matter how many red flags he sees. “I wanted to talk about that and expose myself from that and the different roles I’ve been taking in the past.”

“Jibaro” is the closing episode of the most recent installment of Netflix’s “Love, Death + Robots.” In the episode, a group of explorers encounters an enigmatic woman who is draped in gold and jewels. When she emits her siren-like call, she makes the everyone go into a frenzy where they all kill each other except for one who is deaf. This leads to an infatuation and a violent game of cat-and-mouse between the two.

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Since premiering in 2019, the show has been an Emmy juggernaut. It’s won three competitive awards, including Best Short Form Animated Program in 2019 and 2021, as well as picking up eight juried awards.

Among some of the biggest challenges that Mielgo encountered in animating this project came from having to do so much in 3-D. “With 3-D, things are not becoming easier at all. We need to create the characters from scratch. You need to rig them in the case of the water simulations or the jewelry simulations, everything was very much a nightmare.” He believes he’s lucky to work for a studio that puts a huge emphasis on the actual art of animation. “I usually sacrifice everything that I can in order to have the project be as beautiful as possible, with their limits, of course. There are things that when you cannot do more, you cannot do more, but I just sacrifice everything in order to do the films that I want.”

Mielgo has already had an incredible year that peaked in March when he won the Oscar for Best Animated Short Subject for his film “The Windshield Wiper.” Even three months after the win, it still feels like he’s experiencing aspects of the win. “It’s like it’s somehow is still happening. You go to your hometown and people, they don’t even know you and they tell you, ‘Congratulations,’ from far away, which is very cute.” It was a magical night for him and one of the best things about it was getting to share it with great people. “It was almost like a dream because everything happened very fast. They walk you here and there and then all of a sudden you wake up in the morning.”

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