LOS DESHEREDADOS was in competition in 2017 at La Semaine de la Critique. What did this mean for you to be selected in our Section ?
I need to go back in time to express how much this truly means to me. Los Desheredados is my first project after film school. I graduated in 2012 and shot Los Desheredados in 2016. So I didn’t shoot anything for 4 years. During this time, not only did my father loose his job, but also my uncles, my mother and her current partner. My whole family, basically. My professional situation was not good either: I had a job that I actually did not like and besides that, I did not earn enough money. So I was still living with my mother while I was trying to get some savings. However, when my father told he had to close his business, I realized I had to do something because I had already seen enough people of around 50-years-old lose their job and get lost. Then I thought that precisely through cinema, my family could at least have a memory which could last forever. No member of my family was ever involved in anything related to art, but they always supported me and worked hard to give me a good education. I felt in debt to them and I was worried because of their situation. So I decided to shoot again and we did it during the last days my family business was still running, spent those few savings and kept that job to make Los Desheredados. I ended up working a year to pay for everything: from shooting to postproduction expenses. These 5 years were really tough, but everything changed when Los Desheredados was selected at La Semaine de la Critique: I felt relieved, lucky and honored as never before and I my family was so happy again after such a long time. The beauty of Los Desheredados is that there is always a chance to turn the tide but this is thanks to La Semaine de la Critique. For all these reasons, being selected and then traveling with my family to Cannes was one of the most meaningful moments of my life.
LOS DESHEREDADOS won the Leica Cine Discovery Award. How did this prize help you going on in your career ?
The Leica Cine Discovery Prize was crucial, especially, visibility-wise. Los Desheredados is a really low budget project: we were six people during the shooting, we shot just with a camera and a broken tripod, and with my own money that was actually peanuts so I could not invest on promotion. However, since being awarded at La Semaine de la Critique, it has been selected at 40 film festivals, nominated to the European Film Awards 2017 and awarded as Best Short Film at the Gaudí Awards 2018 (Catalan Film Academy) and Best Documentary Short Film at the Goya Awards 2018 (Spanish Film Academy), among other distinctions. What is more, it was released in Spanish theaters: not before a feature or as part of a shorts program, but solo, an unprecedented event in Spain as far as short films are concerned. In addition, now I am working as a film professor while I am writing my first feature film. Actually, I started writing because of the La Semaine de la Critique’s Next Step workshop. So no doubt La Semaine de la Critique definitely helped me to launch my career.
If you had a message for the new directors that will be selected this year with their first film, living their first time with us, what should it be ?
You are a lucky one! The team of La Semaine de la Critique truly care about both long films and short films as well: you will never feel your short film is underestimated. And, the experience does not finish in May: they will follow up your project and give you the opportunity to start writing and getting in touch with professionals to develop a feature film thanks their workshop Next Step. So there is no better festival than La Semaine de la Critique.