Alberto Mielgo (‘The Windshield Wiper’) on how his work keeps coming back to relationships [EXCLUSIVE VIDEO INTERVIEW]

When Alberto Mielgo was developing his animated short film, “The Windshield Wiper,” he knew he didn’t want to do traditional family-friendly animation. He found himself coming back to a theme he’s always been drawn towards: relationships. “I kind of end up using it in many of my projects. I feel that nowadays, love is evolving together with society and now society has drastically changed over the last decade,” Mielgo tells us during our recent webchat (watch the video interview above). Focusing on this theme led to him going down many different paths that would help lead him to what he wanted to make. “This film talks about where is love nowadays in terms of society. It’s basically what is social love rather than what is love now nowadays.”

“The Windshield Wiper” was just shortlisted for this year’s Oscar for Best Animated Short Film. It opens with a man chain-smoking at a café as he wonders aloud, “What is love?” From there the film goes through several different vignettes They show people in relationships and also just interacting with each other on a very basic level as they lead the smoking man to his ultimate definition of what love is in our modern times. Mielgo is no stranger to awards as he’s won three Emmy Awards. His first two were juried awards for individual achievement on “TRON: Uprising” (2013) and “Love, Death & Robots” (2019). He also picked up Best Short Form Animated Program for “Love, Death & Robots.”

In addition to being the writer and director of the short film, Mielgo also served as the composer, editor and sound designer for the project. This was not something he felt he had to do, but rather something he actually enjoyed. “The thing is that I like them all. That’s why I do them.” But the hardest part of making the film was the seemingly simple act of keeping it alive. “Because the film was an independent film that I was doing between projects. We might have another project that pays the bills and we’d need to stop it but then keep the film alive.”

The fact that his film got shortlisted from a long list of contenders is still something that he’s trying to wrap his head around. “I don’t know if there were over 100, or 80-something. I don’t know what’s the real number, but I was thinking to go past and beyond this must be super difficult.” He’s also appreciative that, based on what’s been shortlisted, the Academy members working on this category were looking beyond what might be considered accessible. “They seem like they’re not targeting the super commercial and the younger audience. Some are odd and some have scenes that are bizarre and I think that’s cool that the Academy is going for these.”

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