Interview with director Cucho L. Capilla

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

Since I was a kid, my father and I used to go to the cinema near my house. I have a very good memories about these past days. It instilled in me the culture of the cinema so much that I understood, from a very early age, that it was the best way to tell stories. On those times, being still a kid, everything I wanted to get for Christmas was a videocamera. After asking my parents about it few hundred times they bought me one. I remember it as one of the happiest days of my life. 30 years ago, a video camera was something very expensive, and definitely wasn’t a toy for a kid. But I made good use of it and it was a changing moment in my life. It make me realised that it was what I wanted to do.

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

Finishing your studies in a specialized institution will provide you a strong background for your career. But it is definitely not essential. Pedro Almodovar, Tarantino, Stanley Kubrick, Akira Kurosawa, just to name a few, didn’t have formal education in film making. However no one can deny that they have created an amazing legacy.

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

It is harder to get started. From my point of view there are a lot of things that I ignored at the beginning. How to get cheaper equipment, how to effectively distribute the film or how to find people willing to be involved in my projects.  Once I published my first short movie, everything became easier. I learned a ton of things without even realising.

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

Basically that I don’t have to rush through the process of the creation of the film. Working on a script that wasn’t fully completed or not dedicating enough time to the creation of the technical script were some of my mistakes. I have learnt that I need to keep the film simple, crumble the story in different types of camera shots prioritizing the simplicity. Sometimes less is more.

  • 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?

Probably the funds, like every aficionado film maker. Most of the times I found myself thinking about very ambitious ideas and projects that I can not make happen because of lack of funding or support. Until now, all of my short movies are made without any funds at all. Involving people who, like me, enjoy the creation of content as much as I do.

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

For the filming of “Forgive me” I needed two actresses for the roles of mother and daughter. The story was short, but very difficult to perform. It has a strong sentimental factor and it’s recorded in a sequential shot. I decided to count on my wife and my daughter. They don’t have much experience in acting. But they outperformed their roles and made me feel happy and very proud of the result. 

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

Fortunately I have many people offering me their help and support with every aspect of a short movie. Actors, musicians, cameramen, scripters or even people who offer their houses or camera equipment just for the sake of this art. The only way I have to repay this debt is to never disappoint them.

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

What makes you think that a movie is good or bad? Why there are some movies that some people hate and other people love? The answer to these questions is easy. I movie have to make you feel something. If you are watching a comedy is because you want to laugh, if you watch a drama it might be because you want to feel melancholic. It’s not about the story, it’s about what that story makes you feel. There is not a magic formula to achieve perfection because each person is different. However it’s undeniable that some films or TV shows works better than others. The filmmaker role has to adapt to the current times. Everything we do is to entertain an audience that is changing very quickly.  There is no point to worry about it. As there is no point not to give to the audience what they are looking for.

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

We can agree that short movies culture exists thanks to the festivals. It’s a window to the world where you can show what you are able to do. Certainly I don’t make all this work for selections or a prize. However, it is always good to be given some recognition for something you have dedicated so much time and love to. Every selection, every price and every time my movies are watched by someone or chosen for a festival reaffirms that I have succeeded.

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

The filmmaking is in constant evolution. Of course, there will always be a place for classics, new tendencies or niche genres. The offer is normally as big as the demand. It doesn’t make any sense to stick to something, whether classic or not, if it is not going to work.   A filmmaker should make what they feel comfortable with. The motivation is something very important that will make you shine sooner or later.

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