(part of a multi-article series about the 2014 Fabrique des Cinémas program at the Cannes Festival)
THE PITCH: In a Caracas suburb a father tries to protect a son who accidentally killed someone.
Name two films that have been life-changing
That’s a difficult question. I think there are always life-changing films depending of the time in our lives. But I want to mention the first that came to my mind. “Paris, Texas” by Win Wenders (1984).
I was just a curious spectator at that time of my life and I remember the kind of emotions I felt watching this film. I thought that it was so amazing to tell a story as movingly with these kinds of characters, conflict and specially the use of time, camera and light. It felt so different from what I was used to watching, that I decided to make films.
A few years ago I watched “Distant” (“Uzak”) by Nuri Bilge Ceylan (2002). The use of space and atmosphere in telling such a simple story touched me very deeply. I remember the last scene as one of the most beautiful moments I have seen in a film recently.
I´d like to mention a couple more: “Los muertos,” by Lisandro Alonso (2004). A philosophical issue through a moment of the life of a very ordinary man. “The kid with the bike,” by the Dardenne brothers (2011). Their put their unique vision and style in service of such a poignant story.
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What was the origin of your film “The Family“?
Some years ago I had an idea for a short film in which a family had to save the life of one of its members faced with a major obstacle. It was very general at the time.
I started working on another short film and had to put “The family” project on hold. After I finished that other short film I began working on “The family” with renewed motivation.
I started shaping the theme more and more and I realized that my interest was in speaking about how a very conflictual context can affect the most crucial and closest relationships, sometimes without people being able to think about or react.
Looking at Venezuela’s murder statistics for the last five years gave me the final push to keep going in this direction, although not with the intent of necessarily reaching my own conclusions. I did not have an agenda.
I’ve wanted to work on the idea of the effects of that violence on our behavior and reactions in our everyday life, instead of creating an anecdotal story.
Can you describe the process for finding financing, in as much detail as possible?
Venezuela has a supportive national film fund. With its help it we can get financing for almost the entire production, as long as we worked with a small crew, which was our idea.
The fund has supported most of my short films and gave us a grant for script development. That is a good record that back up our project.
But we are also interested in working with international partners to have not only specific technical cooperation to help prop up the weaker linkages of our film industry but also to have strong creative input.
We want to make a very personal film but with universal appeal, and that international cooperation will help achieve that goal. We are looking for european partners and also a latin-american one.
Is there anything specific you’re planning on doing in Cannes besides promoting your film ?
Of course, this is the place for networking. Being there doesn’t compare to anywhere else. But I hope to find the time to watch as many films as I can, too. Sometimes the films that are there never get a chance at distribution. And also I love the atmosphere of a dark theater full of people waiting to see a film that is being screened for the first time.
Have you watched a lot of French movies ? Can you name two French filmmakers that you appreciate particularly?
Robert Bresson is the French director that I love the most. I really like films by Jacques Audiard, too.