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Koldo Serra: "The intention with 'Gernika' was to tell a classic story of the most classic way"
Canino Mag September 9, 2016 By Kiko Vega
Koldo Serra has spent ten years between television, advertising, video and other audiovisual tasks since it gave the jump to the big screen with interesting Backwoods (2006), a rural western retreating and hardly had anything to our cinema, more beyond spectacular locations and a team where Unax Mendía photography and music by Fernando Velazquez, plus an incredible deal, endowed with a force that continues today.
The good news is that in Gernika (2016), which opens today, we find an equal principal humble, with the same force and with a maturity that makes his new job one of the most attractive bets for movie season which starts when the end of summer blockbusters. Taking advantage of some free time and new technologies, we chatted with Koldo Serra from Brussels.
Kiko Vega (KV): Now, we have a movie about the Civil War very different from what we were used to ...
Koldo Serra (KS): Thank you very much, was the intention. We looked interesting point of view of an outsider, without stressing who were on one side or the other. Here we cane to the Russians! The project also allowed us to shoot in English without having to justify. But yes, we are not facing another movie of opposing sides.
KV: Is hundred percent Spanish production?
KS: The production is entirely Spanish, but also get Sony Pictures came into production and that was really the push we needed to put the film in motion. Many of our televisions did not want to go, I guess the topic and history, something that surprised me with a cast like we had. Yes, the American version has five seconds less.
KV: What five seconds?
KS: For the American assembly remove children who see the attack aircraft because they had the impression that might confuse the viewer, to be playing in the bush. In his defense I must say that in a first assembly had more happy children, and as they crossed then. Despite these tidbits we had a very pleasant production by Americans. The result is the movie we wanted.
KV: The film returns to have a restless camera reminiscent of the classic films that have sucked.
KS: The intention was to tell a classic story of the most classic way. On the one hand, it is also commercial films, love in wartime ... So I have the feeling that the audience of our film is somewhat higher than average. Forty up.
KV: Not bad, considering we are going to the cinema to watch movies without looking at the phone and paying religiously.
KS: With the passes we made were very happy with that audience. The talks remained interested in the topic and grateful for the opportunity to see this story on the big screen.
KV: How do you get to Gernika?
KS: Well , I get a call from Eugenio Mira ( The Birthday , Grand Piano ) and tells me that my contact has passed some producers. So they call me a producer Malaga to three bands, and I caught on the street with what I do not hear too much about it . One of them was the brother of Victor Clavijo ( Carlos Clavijo , screenwriter and producer), and tell me they want to offer an international film with an international cast to tell the story of the bombing. To add the subject madness tell me that the script is signed by Carlos for four hands with New York guy named Barney Cohen . At that time all sounds too crazy. When I discover that Cohen is screenwriter Friday the 13th Part 4 (1984) it seems to me madder still.
The calm came when I finally read the script, very elaborate and better documented. They knew what they were talking about. I meet with them and find that they had two or three international directors to direct the film and there and I convinced them to stay with the project, I played pretty close: I am Basque and I know the special sensitivity of the issue.
KV: It is perceived that the filming was tough. Despite the ostentation of Gernika , did you feel much more comfortable in this, your second film?
KS: To give you an idea, we shot Gernika in seven and a half weeks over eight budgeted. I can proudly say that not croaked a single day of shooting. Some extra time with moments of particular technique, which is always something that is more or less agreed. We are very proud to have done the work in the agreed time despite the complexity of the shooting. We cut days of filming in a movie with explosions, chroma and figuration! Ten years doing TV and three preparing the film had made it very clear in my head how I would be Gernika . I do not know if I have more tables, but the shooting was "lighter" than backwoods , yes: A debut at the mercy of time ...
KV: Watching the making of Backwoods ...
KS: This documentary is very cañero and I am very proud of the result. I did not want to hide anything, wanted to capture the good atmosphere of a shoot, but also the nightmare of a film exposed to the weather of northern Spain. I use it occasionally to give talks about shooting film students. The making is the work of Josu Martinez and Marc Vigil ( the Ministry of Time , Red Eagle )
KV: In Gernika no dogs, yes.
KS: You're right, it's true. But beware, animals and children seem to me an incentive to roll when I do not throw me back. I guess that will have dogs in my next work.
KV: Do you feel more free, more comfortable, with a movie that you have not written?
KS: Here I do not sign the script, but I worked on it for four years, how cool is that both Carlos and with Barney was able to contribute my perspective and has always been well received. I could add some nuance thanks to the knowledge of the area, and also take a little to my field. I naturally feel more comfortable when I write the script, although I have never signed any solo. There are many people who write much better than me. Another thing I like about working with other people 's material is that many times, if the material binds you emotionally, do not give with simple solutions because, dammit, that's your story and your script and must be so until someone sits with you and he says, "not so." In Gernika Carlos Clavijo he was present throughout the filming and that helps a lot.
KV: Barney Cohen does not have a resume that a priori make him the most suitable for the movie.
KS: Carlos and Jose Alba (producer) traveled to the United States market and are already intending to shoot something about Gernika, but nothing written. They meet Barney Cohen ( Masters of the Universe , Thundercats , Sabrina, the Teenage Witch ), who was with a project in the vein of The English Patient (1996) and since then Carlos and Barney start working together, feeding, until he the history. Then I bring local things, places and spaces. But they have documented an awful lot through different works, for example Idealist under fire (2007), to say one. There is much work back there, talking to relatives of the victims or the Press Office of Madrid. Many characters are inspired by that office, as Constancia de la Mora , the inspiration for the character of Maria Valverde in the movie, or the character of James D'Arcy , based on George Steer .
KV: Gernika is a fiction about a detestable act that did not occur long nor far from yours. Did you feel a special responsibility holding the reins of a project?
KS: Completely. Assuming that obviously takes me close. I have many friends there, I've been many times and know grandchildren of victims. Full responsibility also becomes greater when I see that there is no film on the subject. The first thing I do when I offer the project is to find how many movies there on the subject and to my surprise I find that there is none. There is a mini - series for Euskal Telebista ( Gernika under the bombs -2012-) that was made for the 75th anniversary and nothing else.
I guess some people will interpret it in different ways, I have always said that this is not a documentary, it is a very realistic fiction based on real facts and inspired by real people. So I have the same sense that responsibility, and even more rolling here on earth. Where they are most critical and where else will enjoy will be in Euskadi, as is logical. In addition, all were in favor of work, all residents of the places where we invaded to shoot were overturned with the shooting, has been very nice in that aspect.
KV: Ten years ago we were all more listillos and stayed at the Straw Dogs when in fact Backwoods was a western, a genre that it shows you have imbibed and you like. What did you see in your head planning Gernika ? Because it continues to appreciate the taste for classic cinema and the spy thriller.
KS: I say this with regret now because the reviews have been lost certain subframes that style in favor of the relationships of the characters, but had to stop open subplots that would melons and for another movie. When I read the script I told Carlos that I saw a classic movie in the best sense. Film before rolling elegant and photographing alike. Then we wanted another dirtier and less aesthetic language for the final part. But yes, there thriller and journalism. By shooting a movie and you also get to go identify with the characters in the movie. Formally there is a movie of Spielberg that I love, although it has been reviled by almost everyone, it's War Horse (2011), with those Fordian heavens and thus moving the camera, and I hope facing the visual strength of the film also there is something like that , but I wanted to be very open about the winks and tributes.
KV: I really like that when wheels, references belong to a cinema that is not often seen reflected in the new generation of filmmakers, many more concerned with the more modern language.
KS: Nacho Vigalondo , Borja Cobeaga or I, and working together, we share to Patxi Urkijo (professor and author of books Chair of Ford , Mann , Frankenheimer or Peckinpah ), was a guy who gave us a lot of cane with composition and language. Whenever I got into something I've had much effort to give meaning to language, in composing. If you can add more layers and sub - layers, the better. We are now obsessed with telephoto lenses, broken television funds and aesthetics. It is very nice but not contribute anything to the narrative. I love the work prior to the shooting, decide why I want to tell a particular sequence in a certain way. I do not know if it is always necessary, it may not, but I like it and it is not very common. I think we're usually not very used to thinking and getting things ready before the shooting.
KV: There is an incredible sunset in the movie, but is very short. I imagine that climate issues.
KS: That sequence is of the few that did not let me happy one hundred percent. You know how time in the Basque Country, and that was the only day we had to shoot in Gaztelugatze, amazing location where he had never shot anything. That day we were at 36 degrees, climbing the 241 steps and the team with his tongue out. Well, about six o'clock in the afternoon began to rise a gale thousand pairs of balls and had to flee the site. We had time to shoot the necessary, but I would have liked a little more time there. The actors are great and the rest is only in my head, so there is no problem with it.
KV: Before you spoke of your fellow producer, why there is a generational shift? It depends on the audience, I know, but there are still raised eyebrows in the industry thinking that where these kids go ...
KS: I think there is much fear not work at the box office. Television goes well. Everyone wants immediate results, and that is not the best way to bet on anything. But it is proven that you cascas The minimum Island (2014) or No Rest for the Wicked (2011) and bring people to the movies, even when on paper films are not designed to connect with the audience now. I think they are changing the ways of consuming audiovisual personally believe that many of the new forms are not the most suitable, do not think watching a movie on a phone or tablet is the best way to do it.
For example, during filming, someone dropped there was much general level and that on a phone not look good. I will not stop making movies that I like. As they say in Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid (1973), " times are changing but I do not ." I do not know what the solution is, there is public for all and a good promotion can reach them. Still people who you consider what to see and how.
KV: Ten years between Forest ... and Gernika . Did you suffer much between the two films thinking that you passed the rice?
KS: I've had time to think about many things. Between the two I worked hard, but also three projects have fallen between. When you roll your debut with a cast like Backwoods you can not help but think of what you do right after, and suddenly spend ten years between one and another. There is time to become demoralized, to throw in the towel ... and then one day you get the opportunity to lead a large and movie Gernika . I am very stubborn, I know that there will be a third movie and then come hopefully many more. I hope that happens to me as Terrence Malick , being away a good season and then not stop shooting ( laughs ). The enthusiasm and energy go up and down, I always ask for patience from the guys that I teach and I want to be filmmakers.
KV: Your next film would be a mastodon as Gernika or would like something more manageable?
KS: You never know what will appear. On the one hand I have a couple of tiny projects, easier to move forward. I have a thriller more inspired by what he did before Gernika , but I'm also working with other people in an even bigger that it not leave me, you never know project. But of course I'd go back to the genre. The funny thing is that all are amazing life experiences.
KV: So, you're still the same Koldo Serra usual.
KS: I'm still the same, a priori not see myself directing a romantic comedy. I like dirt and violence too. You know that when you're watching twelve festivals genre films in three days of the twelve thirteen seem too. You always want to do something different, but it's complicated. Normally if something farmers want to hold onto it.
KV: Gernika is a coral movie.
KS: Yes. I would have liked to have more space for all those satellites flying over the story, but the film can not last four hours. I was struck that there are a lot of characters, and each has its history. There are many characters and director is an incentive to work with such amazing people. Meet new people, actors and actresses with whom he had not worked is an incentive, or also able to lead people I knew for years and those who had not had the opportunity to shoot, like Irene School, Barbara Goenaga or Julian Villagran .
KV: Would you have had a hole to Marivi Bilbao here?
KS: Do not hesitate. And to Álex Angulo . Alex would be here, and I was worried because at first the movie was going to be entirely in English and he did not speak and learn it phonetically. There is a small cameo in his photograph, I wanted him in the movie. Both have had role. In backwoods character Alex did not have a daughter in the original script, he had a mother who would be Mariví . By scheduling problems could not be Mariví and had to rewrite that time and change a mother for a daughter. The first character that made Alex was in La fuga de Segovia (1981), and his character in Forest ... is dressed exactly like: glasses, mustache polo ... could not be because I was filming Pan's Labyrinth (2006). We had agreed to do a self-tribute that made us look forward to both. He was an actor of the host and a wonderful person.
KV: Is my thing or the character of Burn Gorman Toit has a lot of Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981), because when you put the seal on hand ...?
KS: ( laughs ) It 's the only nod-tribute-chorrada done on purpose. When suddenly I saw him with his raincoat and hat not I could not believe it . We gave a lot of laughter both directly and asked to raise his hand stamped. Too bad not wearing his cap at the scene, but it is the only license that allowed me to Gernika. Burn is a fun and outgoing guy. The fact that the three British actors we've had are incredible. The father of Jack Davenport was a close friend of Kubrick and told me that the original voice of HAL 9000 was to be his father. Take that.
KV: The finish of the effects is impeccable. Still, you miss more money to finish them?
KS: I would have liked tsunami budget Impossible (2012). Anyone who sees me saying this is going to think I'm a crybaby, but we had a movie ten million who stayed in almost six. The secret is that people have given two thousand percent, absolutely everything, and so working with this great team of art and effects everything looks much better. In addition we have gotten in natural locations, in real people with real neighbors who have put their lives upside down. We filled with rubble, fire and explosions streets where people lived in Lekeitio, Artziniega and the square of Gernika. There we shot a half day in the square, the tree and the Assembly House. The work of David Heras and User t38 is amazing. The bombing was shot on week and a half and looks great, the result is amazing. As the soundtrack of Fernando Velázquez . We shot in anamorphic with optical that, if not the same, it was the same model as those used in The Empire Strikes Back (1980) For me it was wonderful to shoot a plane with actors running through the streets while bombed. That's a luxury for any director (laughs). Gernika plane in flames rolled in three layers, the last shot of the movie. It was shot in Tiernas and Escó, in Aragon. We initially toyed with the option of a set, but I'm glad to be filmed in natural locations.
KV: Ten years after you noticed that the teams are much more prepared for international productions?
KS: Absolutely. The vast majority of the team is the same and I've noticed this progress. I'm doing roll specialist in English and Basque, you may need to close the trilogy someday ( laughs ). We are more than ready, but unfortunately happens to us like in football, we have the cracks at home but we strive to rely more on the outside.
KV: Have you thought about rolling out? I guess after your first film had the chance to make the jump ...
KS: After Forest ... I got things, yes. I've never had nor agent there is something that interests me too. I've always thought that is complicated enough out here what you like as you like, I can not imagine what it will try to control anything there, you're just an employee. But of course I would be willing to roll Ant-Man 2 ( laughs ). I have no dire need to make the leap, but I have not closed the door to anything. If you experience something interesting there would head.