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Interview with director Emanuel Vasquez Santana

  • Was there a particular event or time that you recognized that filmmaking is your way of telling stories?

I think the exact moment was when I was beginning my path as a musician. I started making my own videos and felt that I enjoyed having a video camera in my hands more than a musical instrument. Little by little I realized that this was my passion, and everything was heading towards telling stories through movies.

  • Do you think it is essential to go to a film institute in order to become a successful filmmaker?

It is really important to talk about cinema with people who can really give you great value. It does not matter if this occurs in an institute, a college, a square or anywhere. I feel that talking about iconic movies with other filmmakers nourished me a lot, those are the moments when I learn the most about cinema. I prioritize staying on the move and never standing still, researching, talking to as many talented people as you can. Studying will always add value too. You always have to keep learning.

  • Is it harder to get started or to keep going? What was the particular thing that you had to conquer to do either?

I think it is more difficult to start. At the beginning of each project one has many doubts, and those are things that make you think more. Once each script has started, interesting things start to appear where you become more convinced that you did the right thing. That’s why I think the beginning is the most difficult. The process and post production are more enjoyable. It is very subjective of each person really, I enjoy the stage of filming too much.

  • What was the most important lesson you had to learn that has had a positive effect on your film? How did that lesson happen?

The most important lesson was knowing how to wait. All things in this life happen when they have to happen. The filming of the short film was to begin in March just as the global pandemic stalked the world. Due to these issues we could not carry out the production and I had to postpone it for later. Maybe that time was necessary to better plan things, rewrite the script several times and end up with a better movie. Everything happens for a reason.

  • What were the production realities from casting through editing that you had to accommodate? How did you navigate those compromises or surprises and still end up with a cohesive film?

Being an independent short film, everything is always more difficult. I tried from the first moment to find people who are committed to the cause and its struggle. I had in mind to put together a team with a majority of women. I think no one knows better than them how terrible it is to suffer gender violence as it happens in our country every day. I was lucky to meet talented women in each area of ​​production.

  • What was the hardest artistic choice you made in the making of a film, at any stage in production?

The most difficult choice was not to use dialogue in the entire short film. Being able to tell several stories without speaking is really very difficult. I liked taking that risk. We managed to place the viewer in the moment of loneliness and sadness that surrounds the person who is a victim of gender violence.

  • You are a collaborator. How have you discovered members of your team and how do you keep the relationship with them strong?

It was an arduous search task. I like to search carefully through the jobs they do to find out which collaborators I want to work with. Luckily, talent abounds in Argentina. With most of the team today I maintain a good relationship, I felt as soon as the day of shooting was over that I had selected the right people. I will surely keep enough people from the team for my new project.

  • What do audiences want? And is it the filmmaker’s role to worry about that?

Each filmmaker must tell the story that comes from their heart. Although it sounds corny, it’s what I feel. We have to be true to ourselves. That’s the way to tell exciting stories. If your story has value and is well told, then people will want to see it.

  • What role have film festivals played in your life so far? Why are they necessary? How do you get the most out of them?

It is my first short film at festivals and the truth is that so far they have only given me joy. They give you those forces to understand that you chose the right path. They are very necessary, they allow to know movies and cultures from all over the world. Even meeting and discussing ideas, concepts, stories. In my case I try to attend as many festivals as I can. They nourish me and make me evolve as a filmmaker and as a person.

  • Do you believe that a filmmaker should be original and fresh or he/she should stick to classic but safe cinema style?

I believe that a filmmaker should be what makes him happy, without betraying himself. That is the most important. And that’s when stories cross borders. I believe in an authentic and natural cinema, unique to each person. Find that union between the classic and the modern without losing the personal touch of each one.