Tuesday, 30 June 2020

Interview with filmmaker Erik Zavala

Anya will premier at the Straight-Jacket Guerrilla Film Festival

*How did you get into making films? 
When I was a boy I  always knew I had a lot of things to share but I didn't know how. In my adolescence I discovered cinema as a window to new worlds were I learned different visions of life, and identify myself with many characters that expressed my emotions better that I could even understand at the time. Then I questioned myself the meaning of life; A nice house, a new car, a good job, a pretty wife... is that it? and then disappearing without no one ever knowing you were really here.... In filmmaking I found a meaning, a means to express my thoughts and feelings and the best way to cheat death by making my ideas, all the images and stories in my head transcend my physical existence. 

*What inspired you to make your movie? 
Like all young filmmakers, I wanted to make a film, but I was very aware of my limitations and how difficult it is to finance a first film. So I set out to write a story with certain rules: - most of the story has to happen in one location - two main characters - The script has to be achievable in terms of budget - the story has to provoke strong emotions With that determination I went to Cuba for a month to isolate myself and write, I found in the genre cinema (psychological thriller) the best way to tell a visceral story that could transmit the anguish and hell that a victim of abuse goes through in a character that you could see on the street and you never imagine the psychological hell that goes through every day. 

*How has your style evolved? 
When I finished film school it was more a matter of replicating influences, then I realized that these were sterile images that did not express my way of understanding the world and I had to find my voice as a screenwriter and director. As I shot Anya I discovered that my major virtue as a director is the work with actors I feel very comfortable with an open Mise-en-scène, delimiting emotional goals that help them reach emotional extremes. This is complemented by the script, which becomes a fundamental tool to build actions and situations visceral that provoke the audience on an intellectual and emotional level. 

*Tell us any strange or funny stories while making the film? 
One of the last days all the crew was super tired, we were doing running shots at 4 am as it was an indie film we didn't have a camera car so we put the camera rigged, actors were in place and the only option for the sound guy was in the trunk of the car. So, we went to do the shots and spent some time doing them and when we finished we stepped off and went to rest but after some minutes we realized the sound guy was missing and said: shit! we forgot him in the trunk, when we opened it it was really funny to see that he fell asleep and didn't realize the running shots were over. 

*The Misrule Film Movement & Pink8 manifesto bring what to mind? 
I think both appeal to the very essence of Cinema, it is a common belief that in order to be a filmmaker you have to go to film school. Theory is easy you can learn it on your own, the beauty of cinema is portraying the complexity of human emotions and there's no theory for that, the only school for that is living, seeing, learning from happiness and suffering. The comfort zone is the death of the Artist so what I like of both of them is that there's no excuses to do a feature film 

*What can we expect from your next film? 
My next film is going to be more visceral, violent and provocative. Is a reflection about toxic love using cannibalism as a metaphor in which we devour our loved ones out of fear of loneliness.