La Laguna is the setting for the I Spanish Film Festival of Tenerife. An appointment that in its inaugural edition is dedicated to the screenwriter and director Santiago Tabernero, of which yesterday was screened Life and color and today (7:00 p.m.) it will be Forebodings. But to participate in this initiative of the Cultural Association Charlas de Cine, Multicines Tenerife and the Aula de Cine of the University of the ULL, the filmmaker has not come to the Island alone. He is accompanied by the actor Eduardo Noriega, with whom DIARIO DE AVISOS has had the opportunity to talk.
-He is in Tenerife on the occasion of the First Spanish Film Festival, dedicated to Santiago Tabernero. You participated as an actor in his film Forebodings (2014), but also as a screenwriter. How did contributing to the creation of the story influence the construction of your character?
“The movie was born out of a friendship. Santi asked me to collaborate on the script, based on the novel by Clara Sánchez. At first writing seemed crazy to me. But there was no production, no dates or requirements. That relieved us of any pressure. It also helps to work with someone you admire and love. The novel framed the project for us. We had to betray her to keep her essence on screen. When we finished the script, we thought that a good movie could come from there and we looked for a producer. When there was already a filming date, I put myself in the hands of the director. He was no longer a screenwriter. It was a very natural dichotomy ”.
– Are there many differences when working with directors who are scriptwriters versus those who direct a story of another person?
“Yes there are. The former know the history very well and are usually passionate about their project. There is a motivation and an implication that they transmit to the rest of the team. It is true that there are commissioned directors who make the film their own and get involved as if they had written it, because it touches keys that identify them, but the usual thing is that a director becomes more involved with his story ”.
-It could be understood that after the interpretation and script writing the next step is the direction. Do you contemplate addressing that other facet in the future?
“Hopefully one day I will find the project that encourages me to direct. The actors are close to the camera and we live and work with different points of view. In my case it would be sporadic. The same as as a screenwriter: I would like to repeat the experience, but my vocation is that of an actor ”.
-How do you approach the characters you play? Does it vary a lot from movie to movie?
“Yes, it depends on the genre, on the film itself… Fortunately, I have had a great diversity of theater teachers, with their own methodologies. Each project you face it in a way. It is not the same that you make a movie that you work in a series, or that the character has existed or not. In the case of Ines of my soul [la serie basada en la novela homónima de Isabel Allende sobre Inés Suárez, la primera española en llegar a Chile], I play Pedro de Valdivia, a Spanish conqueror who existed and there are even letters he wrote to Carlos V. I started there, because of what is known about this man. And also for the novel by Isabel Allende. I had a lot of material before I got down to the script. Other times all the work starts from inside you, from your emotions, from what you have lived and can apply to the character ”.
-How do you feel more comfortable, with a director who shows you everything you need for your role or with someone who leaves you free and is very receptive to your proposals?
“I like directors who do their homework, who are passionate about the movie they want to shoot and who give you all kinds of information. That serves as your guide. But I also believe that an intelligent and sensitive director will listen to all kinds of proposals. Not only the actor, the artistic director, the cameraman, the costumers and makeup managers … And then you must accept or reject them. Having an exchange of ideas is part of the process. The more you involve your team, the more the movie will grow. The actor, for example, turns his character so much that he ends up seeing it with his own eyes and maybe things come up that the director had not imagined ”.
-25 years of Thesis, a film shot practically among friends and sponsored by José Luis Cuerda, which marked the launch of the careers of its director, Alejandro Amenábar, of you or Fele Martínez. Would it be more complicated or easier today to carry out a project like this?
“It would be complicated. We are talking about a 23-year-old novice director. That was crazy about José Luis Cuerda. Someone gave him a short film by Alejandro so that he could see one of the actresses and Cuerda said: “The actress is very well, but who is this filmmaker?” When Alejandro passed him the script for Thesis, José Luis Cuerda not only had the vision to produce it, but also that he was not the one who should direct it. He was convinced that Alejandro Amenábar was going to do very well. All of this is something that is very difficult to happen today. It already was then ”.
-What do you think of digital platforms? Are there more possibilities to tell stories and to reach the public or are they moving away from movie theaters?
“The platforms have been a gift to the industry. It is produced more than ever, it is seen more than ever. It is true that we are in a kind of compulsive consumption. We see three series in a weekend and we forget them instantly. The cinematic experience is the opposite, it is irreplaceable. It is to meet someone, choose the movie, have a drink and comment on it. I think that all this will calm down and that it should be compatible with the cinema. The difficult thing will be to encourage people under the age of 20 to go to a room. But that’s also the job of filmmakers, not just exhibitors: to make films that appeal to audiences that aren’t as fond of going to the movies. Platforms take things away from you, but they give you others. Having your work seen in dozens of countries at the same time is wonderful. And it is a unique opportunity for creators. It’s like selling your soul to the devil, but you sell it very comfortably. There must be room for everything ”.
-How have you experienced the hardest moments of this pandemic?
“The first months I was very affected thinking about the number of people who died, those who were suffering in hospitals, people who lost their businesses or their jobs … In the confinement I gave myself to see movies, hundreds of classic movies. From silent films to Spanish, but also Murnau, Fritz Lang, Hitchcock, the cinema of the 70s, that of Japan, the Soviet. I usually read, but reading required a capacity for concentration of which I was not capable. I escaped with the cinema, more than with music or reading ”.