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Brasil / 2012 / 72 min / digital / 16X9 / cor / รกudio 2.0 e 5.1 Subtitle: Portuguese, English and Spanish. Libras and audiodescricao (only for portuguese blind people) Official website:


“To tell a story, the story needs to give delight to someone, and the voice, the juggling, the gestures, and the things should follow that story.” Maria da Graça2 Mendes Abreu

SINOPSYS Português

As histórias contadas por meio de bonecos e objetos é um dos aspectos abordados pelo documentário Truks, que também narra os 21 anos de existência do homônimo grupo teatral. Inspirados na milenar técnica Bunraku e com peculiar estilo, a Truks tem encantado plateias de todas as idades em todo o mundo. No filme, depoimentos de atores, críticos e profissionais de comunicação, entremeiamse a belas cenas e reflexões sobre a relação do homem com a arte de contar e compreender histórias por meio de bonecos e objetos. Truks é uma companhia de teatro, mas é coisas de cinema!


Truks es un documental que narra los veinte y un años de vida del grupo teatral homonimo. Inspirados en la milenaria técinica del Bunraku, ha encantado el público de todas las edades en todo el mundo. En la película, testimonios de actores y espectadores se han mezclado a las bellas escenas y reflexiones con respecto a la relación del hombre con el arte de contar y comprender historias por medio de muñecos y objetos. Truks es un grupo de teatro; pero “es un tremendo cine”.


Truks is a documentary that narrates the 21 years of existence of the namesake theatrical group. Inspired by the ancient Bunraku technique and with peculiar style, Truks has thrilled audiences of all ages around the world through its plays. In the film, testimonials from actors, critics, and audience, intersperse with beautiful scenes and thoughts on man’s relationship with the art of telling and understanding stories through puppets and objects. Truks is a theatre company, but it is something movieworthy.



The art of storytelling through puppets is millennial and its representations are found in all cultures throughout the ages. From the mamulegos in the northeast of Brazil or puppets and marionettes in several European countries, the puppets have always been present in man’s daily life and possess and incomparable ability to symbolize and synthesize human relations. In a more systemic and/or commercial way, the first theatrical appearances date back to 1684, when plays were staged with actors using the Bunraku technique, more commonly known as the Japanese puppet theater. Since then, there are many groups that were influenced by this technique, in which three puppeteers  animate the same doll simultaneously, giving it accurate, realistic human movements, and surprising audiences of all ages.  In Brazil, the Truks Animation Theatre Co. was not the first to use this technique, but was the first to make the actors interact with the puppets allowing both of them to be part of the same dramaturgy. Created and established in 1990, the Truks has been presenting its repertoire performances in theatres, schools, institutions, and alternative spaces throughout Brazil, as well as participating in exhibitions, and  theater and animation festivals in countries abroad. 


At the same time, the company teaches courses and workshops on puppet animation techniques, objects and figures, as well as courses on dramaturgical procedures for the animation theater. Ocasionally Truks works in advertising, creating scripts, puppets, and several animations for movies and related events.

The Director

João Inácio is a film director, composer, screenwriter, graduated in social communication with several specialization courses in cinema. He has an extended multimedia experience as an artist, poet, musician, novelist, having created and directed radio and TV shows. Furthermore he has produced and directed Brazilian musical bands’ DVDs as well as several documentaries, including “Sal da Terra,” “Navegando nas águas de Deus,” and “Naoum.” Filmography 2012: Direction and script of the feature documentary “TRUKS” 2011: Direction and script of the animation “Sl 148” 2008: Direction and script of the short documentary “Naoum” 2008: Direction and script of the short documentary “Navegando nas Águas de Deus” 2006: Direction and script of the short documentary “Sal da Terra” 2003: Direction and script of the short film “Monólogo de um pescador” 2002: Direction and script of the short documentary “Fé e Fama”



than a


Like any good Northeastern, I am fascinated by stories of children, especially those ones told with puppets and objects. My childhood was riddled with situations where mamulengos (Brazilian typical puppets) were the main entertainment. Countless were the times when maxixes (fruit of maxixeiro, a Brazilian typical tree)– that my mother used to keep carefully to be served at lunch – disappeared and, with some matchsticks, turned animals on my imaginary farm. Saturday was a special day, because it was when the artisans went to the fair in Bonito, Pernambuco, and took their clay oxen. Wherever it was possible, my parents bought me some of these oxen, and they always warmed me “if you break it, you will not have another.” But how wouldn’t a child break a small clay bull with a cowboy riding it? Of course, the legs, heads and horns used to break, but in the imagination of a child, a bull without horn or a headless cowboy is just a being with different possibilities. “Why had the cowboy been born without a head? Did ox’s mommy like him anyway, without horns?” I realized the questions and answers, and now I know how my love of writing scripts appeared ... it was born with the dolls.


Already grown, but still fascinated with the ancient symbolic relationship between a man with his dolls, I have been researching the topic for some time, and even thought of producing a documentary or something someday, just to explain how this poetic and playful this relationship is. And then, something happened. In early 2010, I was managing a workshop on animation techniques in Brasilia, where I would minister the developing part of the script, the animator Lemuel Massuia would teach the fundamentals of “2D animation” and, of course, I immediately thought of someone who could teach how to manipulate a puppet or object to tell a story. In pursuit of this professional, I inevitably found Animation Theater Truks Cia. I have known the Company for a long time for its appearances on TV shows such as Jô Soares, Fantástico, etc. Without many hopes, I emailed the company and promptly received a response, but with one condition: they could participate since it was in a single period... And that was exactly the date I had booked to do the event. The deal was done and, as I would also be a student (now to miss a chance like this?), I invited and Henrique Sitchin agreed to stay in my house, because “so I would have more time to learn all I could to him,” I thought.


The course went on and I was rapt, it was as if “my oxen and mamulengos” turned to coexist with me. The students were excited and surprised with explanations about the “life of the puppets,” the strength of their looks, gestures, and so many magical things that really showed how complex is the art of manipulating. To a complete joy, another coincidence: at this time, the International Puppet Festival was happening in Brasilia, and Truks was invited on the last minute. So, accidentally, I also met Veronica Gerchman, the co-founder of Truks.

set nothing about working conditions, financial, copyright, or , nothing but “it will be cool.” On his side, I saw clearly, “stamped on his forehead,” a question that would not silence: Who is this guy? Is he able to make a documentary about Truks or is he more an adventurer? Today I know that many had already tried to do this documentary, but they always stopped halfway. On the other hand, I thought: Damn, are these famous people going to “open their lives”,

I asked permission to film the performance, and when I saw Truks performing for the first time, I thought to myself: “Wow, the puppets look like so alive!” The day after the presentation, during lunch, I told Henrique that I intended to make a documentary about puppets someday, and he shared that has long thought about doing something about Truks, but it never worked. I, warmed as a good salesman, could not miss the chance to deal, since the client had expressed interest in buying: “What do you think of I do the documentary about Truks? Gee, it would be great.” It was established the desire to do something, but basically we just created a huge question mark, which just disappeared with the birth of the film, because we agreed a mutual desire, but we


exposing in full and give me all the information I need to do a really serious job? We finished the course and parted with a nuisance “We’ll talk soon.” And so, “we have gone talking.” I sent an email, showed interest in obtaining more information about Truks and he kindly provided the data as requested, but it was too little to make a documentary. I sent him a HD and asked - almost testing to see what would happen - “please put as much information as you can in there and send me back as soon as possible. Send me recent and old photos, video recordings, newspaper clippings, wherever, I need to understand better what the Truks is. Luckily Henrique is very neat, and some time later I got the HD back with lots of information, and soon I saw that Truks was really what I was wondering: a famous theater company, with a history acknowledged by critics, but there was an unexpected detail that instigated me: the themes of the plays, the criticism from newspapers and interviews pointed to something unusual in a children’s theater group: more than instigate the reflection, they had something to say and discuss with the audience. “They were topics like death, war, prejudice... But is not it a group which stages plays for children? Gee, I thought it was something like “the dreams come true.” Apparently something did not fit. I kept this concern in mind and went on with my research.

news story. We talked about it and I was hoping for an opportunity to continue the collection of information. After several months, Henrique called me and brought good news, talking that in May/2011 the company would have a season in Brasilia and, thus, I could interview them, film performances, etc. I remember that I said: “I’ve seen your schedule is stunning, you do not stop, and I will need time.” “Be cool”, he replied, “the theater staff said that all space will be at our disposal.” I was evasive in comments and without guilt, he was incomplete in response, because actually the theater would be available to them, but nobody consider it would be 3 different plays a day and, in the breaks, the theater staff would just come out, deleting everything and leaving a minimum light to assemble the scene

Now I had to watch all the pieces in place, hear the actors, directors, critics, audience and everyone who allowed me to make sure that there was something different in Truks to justify making a documentary, and not a corporate video or a simple


of the next play. The opportunity was great, I filmed all the performances and did many interviews, but as my son says, it was “pretty hard!” When I realized what would be the “working conditions”, soon I saw that I would need a minimal staff (meaning really minimal!), because I wouldn’t have time to choose the best setting for each interview, have a beak for some outlets or even provide a fit light. I also could not have a lot of people and equipment, since I did not want to take the naturalness of the audience while watching the shows. The strategy worked because it was a rush. When a play finished, the actors just interacted and greeted the audience and the theater employees were already concerned about turning off the lights, because everything had to be ready soon for the next play, and I was, crazily, trying to do some interviews with minimal light. On the first day, into this madness, I thought “I can’t stand it, it will not work.” Then I reflected and thought to myself, “Wait, what am I expecting? If Truks stops to enact for me, it would be aesthetically beautiful and this is important, but it wouldn’t be Truks Theater, and my film wouldn’t be a documentary.” Perhaps this has been the best decision I made throughout the creation process. The Truks’ routine is intense and, if I narrate the documentary from the perspective of a fan, everything would be different and unrealistic, because the film would only present the most glamorous appearances. But that would not be Truks, since the


current in its story is, for example, on Sunday night they are at Guaira Theater in Curitiba, and, on Monday, at a sports court in a small school of São Paulo’s neighborhood. I relaxed and, purposely, let in the movie dimly lit scenes that often committed the perfect camera focus. Occasionally there were background noises while recording the interviews, because the other players were setting the scene. So, it was a mad rush (which is shown in the film). But that is Truks’ routine, and it is marvelous how, when the light comes on, the audience even suspects that those 50 minutes of pure magic and excitement were preceded by much sweating. I had an outline of how the dramatic arc of the documentary would be, and I prepared me to conduct the interviews within the most Cartesian models (who, when, where, etc.) And that’s when the veil began to unravel, setting a path before inconceivable to me. Purposely I tried to interview the actors in different times and spaces, distant from each other, but keeping a pattern in the structure of the questions, and it was amazing, because everyone, without a pre-arranged, maintained the same pattern in the answers. Indistinctly, they recognized the importance and responsibility of what they did on stage, primarily because children are in the audience and tend to retain information without much criticism. There was also a systematic perception of the “responsible and constructive emotion” mission, and by that I mean that I saw


Although it was great for my self-promotion, it made no sense to participate directly in the story, because I was not part of that story so far. “That’s it, the ideal is a privileged spectator approach, someone who saw beyond the others and opted to use a film to talk about what had testified,” that was my decision!

as Truks goes beyond the ordinary in mass culture, when the emotion precedes a purchase stimulus. Instead, I saw as the audience reaction went over the laughter and applause During one of the performances at a school in Sao Paulo, the staged play was “The Lord of Dreams.” I was filming and at the time the character Lucas sits on the bed and whines “... I do everything wrong because I’m dreaming all the time ...”, a child beside me unraveled in a compulsive cry and was soon seen by one of the teachers. I was wondering: What did the child see in that puppet? She saw herself! This is an unparalleled depth and shows how the relationship between man and the stories told through puppets and objects should be better understood by teachers and educators, as this tool can be extremely helpful in the education process.

Right now, besides excited with the situation, I had a crossroads and that, as a matter of principle, one of the paths would lead me to stop the project at that moment: I could continue making a real documentary, and I would like it so much, or, in spite of much effort, I would stop it if I knew Henrique was trying to use the film for self-promotion or something. Perhaps, afraid of what I would have to face, I left Henrique’s interview lastly. Meanwhile, I wished to have one of those Bunraku clothing, to be completely dressed in black, and go unnoticed in these intense moments.

During the interviews I also realized how actors recognized the importance of the Truks’ founders (Cláudio Saltini, Henrique Sitchin and Veronica Gerchman) and the principles they developed - especially the ability to communicate with emotionwere not only followed, but also appreciated. As Truks is a company that has a strong cohesion, something perceived in large companies, like Cirque du Soleil, Stomps, etc., where the actors are changed but the message remains the same, at this time I made a decision: Of course, the film will be mine, it will have my view on the phenomenon, but I will not be a joining character, like Michael Moore and other filmmakers prefer to do.


I started to act on set, I mean, in the dark Martins Pena theater, as a voyeur, just watching how Henrique drove and coordinated, or if he accepted or refused the actors and technicians suggestions. Anyway, in front of the camera is common for people to assume roles and I needed to have a real vision of how that “family” interacted with each other. I purposely started acting almost like a warrior, filming what nobody expected and often, I confess, being even inconvenient. Of course, in a documentary all information is welcome, but my goal was another, because now Henrique’s doubt was also mine: Who are these “people”? Do they actually have content that justifies my endorsement so that they have a documentary, or it is just another theater group that honestly earns its money making plays for kids, but with no significant differences for being seen in a movie? Were the actors previously induced to tell me exactly what I needed to hear? I was filming, collecting information, and doubts throbbed in my mind. A conversation with Henrique was crucial to unraveling the many doubts I had, and maybe now he understands why so many personal questions. Henrique’s interview was delightful. He is articulate, perfectly concatenates the ideas and had precious details about the history of Truks. All he told corroborated what the actors have said. I thought, “Gee, I have worked many years in a multinational company


that invested amounts of money to keep a unit in the employees speech, and I have never seen such cohesion as now I see in a single theater company that, as such, often needs new actors in its staff.” Another interesting point is that Henrique placed himself as agent of history, but without bringing the spotlight on himself. Before, he praised, without measuring words, Maria da Graça Mendes Abreu, who was his master at the art of working with children. He came off the huge importance of Eva Furnari to Truks’ history, and told his old friends Claudio Saltini and Veronica Gerchman were better than him as puppeteers. I am a witness he did it spontaneously, because until that moment I had not interviewed the others. I urged to see if there was an Henrique hidden behind the lines and the consistency was kept. “But, Henrique, what about your teachers, people who you learned with all of this?” I poked him, hoping to hear something like “I did not have teachers because all I saw was not good and so I made better,” and the answer was simple to point out the few direct influences and the daily making was the best school, sometimes working and sometimes not what they developed.

I have already had the theater Company’s information and perceptions of all processes involving the magical world of puppets, but did the cofounders and former players, already went out from Truks, share these same principles? Is this a job direction or a brand that comes from the creation of the Company? Why did the co-founders no longer act directly? Were there personal problems? If yes, how could I treat this question by exposing it in the film? What about the plays with so complex and controversial issues: did the critical appreciate this position of arguing social conflict between rich and poor, for example, with children who barely understand the question? And,

If there still was any doubt about how important was the craft of theater for children for Truks, he finally filled what I had heard from other actors: “We have an agreement in Truks: we do not do theater for us. We do not do theater to solve our conflicts or our personal exposure. We act towards the public and, if a person leaves the house to watch us for an hour, the responsibility is unique because this time we interact to discuss very serious things.” Of course, these are my words and I’m summarizing of what I heard and what is in the film.


perhaps most importantly, is the public able to deeply decode and absorb information transmitted in the plays? At this point, part of my script’s framework had gone, but I was delighted with everything. Actually, that’s what’s really cool about doing a documentary, because although we draw an initial conception of what we want to show, the day by day is what determines the direction, if the initial research was right or if the script was just pointing tip of the iceberg. On my way, no doubts, I was just looking at the outside of a giant iceberg. I called Henrique and we had such conversation: - “My dear, everything is going very well, with what I have is already possible to do something, but it will be strange, because everything is in first person, you’re talking about yourself and that’s kind of superb. What do you think? “ - No way! Gee, it would be unfair. Truks is a succession of many people involvement and this is not only my work. – “Okay, so I need to go to SP and talk to ... (and I gave him a huge list of people), can you help me to get these callings?” - Gee, JI, they are very busy people. I can give you their emails, but I do not think they will stop their activities to talk about Truks. You can try, but I fear you can turn disappointed. - Beyond them, it is essential to have the opinion of one or two theater critics. They do not need to be famous, but it is important they are respected and, specially, they need to understand the universe of children’s theater and the relationship between puppets and audience. - There is a guy, Dib, who has researching about this for a long


time, but I do not think he will stop to meet you. At most, as he is very kind, he will respond you to an email or a phone call. Because of Henrique’s fear, I initially thought it was posturing or false modesty, but after getting along more to him, I actually saw he do not see himself beyond what it should be and therefore tends to underestimate what he produces. In fact, supporting his perception, I even doubted that these people could meet me, because although I have worked in audiovisual for long, I am a debutant director and the weight of the name is always important those times. Imagine our surprise when all expressed MUCH interest in participating in this moment of Truks, and contribute to the documentary. I went several times to Sao Paulo and could interact with the co-founders Veronica Gerchman and Claudio Saltini, and I saw how grateful they are to join in this story. Eva Furnari, whom Henrique attributed fundamental importance in Truks success, was very important in settling the concept and the relationship between man and puppets and objects. Dib Carneiro, despite being a recognized and perhaps the most respected Brazilian children’s theater critic, could not contain, and exposed himself until saying it was often difficult to exercise his role as critical, because as audience he was enraptured by poetry of Truks’ plays.


the DVD will notice that, and perhaps, offer a copy to people who need these languages so that they can watch a movie. It’s a shame that other directors do not perform the same way.

Mary Grace spoke thrilled about the first meeting with Henrique and the literature and theater value in the teaching process. Claudemir Santana and other actors and students gave some details that only seeing the movie is possible to understand the magnitude of what I want to convey.

At the end, from more than 500 photos, filming of old and current plays, advertisements, appearances in TV shows, testimonials from actors, guests and audience, I had over 50 hours of information and now I had to summarize it all in a little more than an hour, keeping the essence of Truks that is, in my point of view, what is best in poetry ... visual poetry.

I tried to talk to Toninho Macedo, taken as vital to the beginning of the Company, but despite our interests our schedules did not allow the meeting. Karina Praal and Camila Prietto helped me a lot in this local production and in conversations with the interviewees. Robson Alexandre was singular in all this. I witness that there is great affection for people and audience when referring to Truks. A good example was the famous Argentine artist, Carlos Martinez, who living in Argentina struggled to decode my “portunhol”, and kindly gave the photos I needed to illustrate a scene in which Veronica cites him as an influence in her career.

Accordingly, since the beginning I realized that music is a vital element in Truks’ plays, and I needed the soundtrack act as this “virtual character” presented in the plays. Thank God, I was honored with a composer into my house and my son, Matheus Felipe, needed just a few interventions to get exactly what I wished. Although suspicious, I think the soundtrack is very, very beautiful. Documentary is something like this... I started thinking about doing a treatise on puppets and I turned charmed more by the people behind them. When I sent Henrique the first version of the film and he called me thrilled, saying a vbfoiuklasdjfalkfjalsdfjdsj!!! (an unpronounceable expletive), my only answer was: “My dear, my job is just to put a huge mirror in front of you.”

In a special way, I saw how the audience, regardless of its physical and social condition, interacts, captures and excites with Truks. By this I mean that, in many times, there were blind people in the audience interacting as others who do not have this deficiency.

A mirror, a lens and bright mirror, maybe this is the best image that can symbolize and synthesize everything I saw and documented over 2 years. Through this mirror called Truks, I saw children reflecting like adults and adults enthralled as if they were still children. A mirror that allows people not only see their dilemmas, but also have hope by positive proposing solutions.

That’s why I proposed myself to create movie versions with blind language translation for the visually impaired and other audio-writing version for the hearing impaired. Those who purchase



I saw actors responsible for their functions and aware that their office has implications on the lives of those who attend. Are the puppets in Truks’ documentary not important? Of course they are, and it is possible to see how they are handled with rare mastery, but they are just puppets. People and their relationships are the essence and the reason of the shows, this is the main information I tried to show through the documentary, what is part of the mission of this wonderful theater Company. If the audience will like the movie or if it will be acceptable at festivals, I do not know, but I feel like a blessed, because God has graced me with a gift far greater than I could ask: documenting the life of Truks and make a movie which simply takes its name. For me, and I hope you see it through the movie, Truks is a theater company ... but it is something movieworthy! João Inácio Director



INTERVIEWS Camila Prietto, João Inácio and Karina Prall

DOCUMENTÁRY “TRUKS” Year of produccion 2012 Time Running: 72’18” CPB Ancine nº 12015928


EXECUTIVE PRODUCER Cia. Truks Teatro de Animação e Imaginação Artes Audiovisuais



SOUND Anayran Pinheiro (Ogg)



CAST Cláudio Saltini, Henrique Sitchin e Verônica Gerchman




ANIMATION Lemuel Massuia


Pressbook Truks the Movie  

Pressbook "Truks the Movie" from João Inácio - Imaginação productions