As the demand for Spanish content and young talent grows, so does the uncertainty of new opportunities.
As part of ECAM’s Screen Industry Platform, its incubator for independent producers is rapidly being integrated into one of Spain’s newest development labs. Eva-sized ‘House of Beasts’ is one of the works selected for this year’s edition. It stands as a promising part of subtle storytelling. Thoughtful and outspoken, Size went from screenplay to directing with her first short “Muzar Sin Hijo”, which won the Malaga Festival Audience Award in 2019.
Produced by Almina Productions, “House of Beasts” follows 8-year-old Pablo, who gained experience in the world of Madrid and the adult world with his fictional friend Lucas. Unconventional decoding from a child’s point of view, his imagination and innocence, will be a summer for the two to remember as Pablo inadvertently leaves childhood. The advent of his age, however, underscores innocence not as a lack of conscience but as an unnecessary torment.
Diversity In the ECAM Screen Incubator, Sage talks about the progress of his project.
Spain is experiencing a surge of creators who are bringing new projects to the table as the industry grows. How is your experience as a filmmaker in a fast-changing market?
I sometimes feel very lost. We all share the urge to be deeply personal in everything we do at the same time – and this is my very personal opinion – I often feel like I’m building on a system that prefers to choose me as a woman, as a woman. Person. This I think is potentially dangerous. This could lead to the making of a film that becomes more pamphleteering and less and less personal. A movie that seems to be very active trying to send the message but it sends it to a common ground where in the end the movie belongs to no one.
I have been repeatedly asked why I am not making films with girls instead of kids, and I am not just saying that it will read differently. And the question that is constantly coming out makes me think that we are a generation of filmmakers who put a lot of pressure on themselves to express their position and purpose.
And not so much content has been created yet. Doesn’t that make room for so many new ways to deal with things at hand …
I think we’re going to take part in a generation and leave a testimony to what we’re living historically, which is a beautiful thing that the film could be. But it is also clear that anyone has seen a profit opportunity, a sales center, and we are becoming more or less critical of the content we consume. Things are branded without “quality control” – their quality and what they say and how they say it. A film, regardless of its subject matter, has to speak for itself, and I think we are losing our critical decision when we are losing in terms of the subjects we feel close to. It scares me because it often feels like a system is finding new ways to stay the same and change a little.
Now that the value of screenplays and the integral role of screenwriters is better understood, they can make easier transitions in management. But how was your experience?
It was very organic. I studied the screenplay at ECAM and never saw myself being directed. But those who read my script thought I would finish it. Now when I read them I see that they are very directed and highly conditioned in their visuals. So at the end of film school I threw myself into the world of short films – because I was too young and some of my co-workers didn’t have the pressure to get a job. There was an adaptation to my favorite story while doing this but couldn’t find the right director to do it. So when a few friends suddenly formed a production company, I thought I should do it. Now as I am directing, I can understand it from the point of view of rewriting it consistently, on set, with the actors, and during editing: while the subjects are open to display. I think the ability to change the text really piqued my curiosity.
Depicting childhood always comes with a variety of questions, descriptions, perspectives, and a generation gap. How do you want to go back to childhood in “new” Spain?
I have no children around me in my daily life. I am the youngest in my family and my cousins are long enough to have children. So when it comes to childhood I mostly drink from the memories of my own society which in many ways feels much more extreme. There are some places I want to transit but I’m not sure how to communicate with them – social networks, the internet and its complex universe. Fortunately those are places that are still a bit far from the kids in the story, who are eight or ten years old. But beyond that age, everything has changed radically. The internet has made everything different and it feels more radical. We live in a deeply violent and sexual society that is still forbidden. When I was shooting my short film it was clear to me that kids really want to grow up and enter a world they don’t understand and no one is explaining them to. It fascinates me: the region of childhood where an adult repeats messages to the world where even adults are deeply lost.