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Interview with director Victor Claramunt

Spanish director Victor Claramunt is celebrated for his clever, cinematic, award-winning fashion films.

Claramunt began his career as art director, sharpening his creative eye as a director of fashion films. There is a magical feel to everything he shoots. Each piece reflects his unique style – a love of Hollywood cinema and a smart mix of humor, surrealism, action, and drama.

His impressive portfolio includes award-winning films for major brands, including including Giorgio Armani, Herbal Essences, Nespresso, Air France, Roger Vivier, LongChamp, Coca-Cola, El Corte Inglés, PlayStation, Sony Music, Adidas, Andres Sardá, Nestle…  Claramunt has won the top 5 fashion film festivals, according to Forbes list, among which are La Jolla, Berlin FFF, London FFF,ASVOFF, Buenos Aires FFF… 

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

The first time I saw Raiders of the lost Ark I felt like I wanted to do that, tell stories. My has always been linked to the cinema, I came to 7 movies a week in theaters. But for one reason or another I started working as an art director at a graphic design company. 4 years ago I was given the opportunity to make a fashion short. That short is titled Breaking Rules and it totally changed my life. He won more than 20 international awards and was my break with the world of graphic design and my start in the art of filming.

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

As I have mentioned I do not have film studies. That is not why I invite people to do the same. I believe that everything is an apprenticeship, both going to college, watching movies or recording short films.

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

The hard part is not getting started … the hard part is getting money to record. I would be recording or thinking about new ideas all day but they cost money. I have been very lucky since they pay me for the ideas I have in my head to film them for that reason I feel very lucky. I am a very positive and restless person. I cannot stand.

  • 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 thing that you learn by shooting is meeting people. People with all that that implies. No need to get along or be friends, you just have to learn from everyone and everything. That happens at every shoot, at every meeting, at every rehearsal …

  • 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?

When directing “La Mer” I was lucky to write the story, do the casting, direct and editing … If I have to make a sacrifice for something, it’s my salary. In this film, for example, not only did I not earn anything but I invested it in my team. They are everything and without them there is no film. I may have ideas or want to record but without a team I would be sitting at home doing nothing.

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

The most difficult decision was, as in almost all films, to eliminate a scene. The truth, since I am the one who edit it, I am more concerned with the sense of rhythm than the complication or what I like a scene. It is also true that you never get exactly what you have in mind, but I have become used to it.

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

I usually repeat with my PDO (Juli Carné). He is more than a friend. I have been directing very little but together we have recorded about 20 different works. We understand each other perfectly. We even talk when for one reason or another we don’t shoot a project together.

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

I have no idea. Sometimes you are convinced that it will work and sometimes you do not expect too much and you never succeed. Yes I am concerned about the audience but I never know where it looks. I try to put all my passion in all the work and then they decide.

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

They are all important. They help go on and on. To tell you that maybe you are not so wrong. They are a motivation. Festivals have been everything to me. I have won countless awards and I continue to celebrate it as the first day. My first prize was a Vimeo Staff pick, then came “La Jolla FFF” “Berlin” … etc

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

They always compare me to multiple directors. I want to think that I am a mixture of the cinema that I have seen, of the cinema that I like but at the same time my style is unique. I think I have a very recognizable style and I like it to be so.