Interview with director J. A. Moreno

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

I have always wanted to tell stories, since I was a child. I do not remember that there was a specific moment but there were people who made me start to get interested in the world of cinema such as Alejandro Amenábar, Quentin Tarantino or Martin Scorsese.

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

The only thing that is needed to become a successful filmmaker is ambition and desire to work.

I remember a famous Tarantino quote that said: “I did not go to film school, I went to films”.

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

It’s harder to get started. I compare this profession with the gearbox of a car. You need to start off in first gear, which consumes a lot of effort and gives you a slower speed. But over time you pick up speed and gradually it requires less effort. This profession is similar in this sense.

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

Listen to people.

  • 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?

As a director, you must be able to supervise all departments. The only thing I always do is the editing, it’s something where I feel very comfortable, almost the same as directing.

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

Finding a location that fit was complicated, but after a while we found a location in the center of Barcelona that I would describe as magical.

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

This is a profession that does not move with a curriculum. You need for people to know you. I always hire people by recommendation, it’s the only way to have that point of confidence that you need when hiring someone. How to make the relationship stronger? Sharing more than working hours and raising a strong friendship there. I have been working with the same director of photography for more than 10 years, and I am only 25 years old.

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

You have to understand what people want and be aware that in the end the ultimate goal of your project is for people to see it. With this I do not mean that you have to work with what is fashionable at that time, but I believe that each director, based on his or her style, should try to create his audience.

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

Festivals are an excellent source of contacts and diffusion, an excellent way to show your project to people you would never be able to reach otherwise.

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

If you are not original you can already be prepared to dedicate yourself to something else. This is a creative profession and if you want to succeed in it you have to be different from others.