“If something is off in Wounded, it is my fault”
by Alfonso Rivera
- The editor from Seville switches to directing with a brave, hard and naturalist feature film, Special Prize in San Sebastian
Fernando Franco, 37, learned tricks of the trade through making shorts and working with experienced directors such as Montxo Armendáriz and Pablo Berger, for whom he respectively edited Don't Be Afraid [+see also:
interview: Montxo Armendáriz
film profile] and Blancanieves [+see also:
interview: Pablo Berger
film profile]. The fact that San Sebastian selected him and recognised him for his debut film Wounded [+see also:
interview: Fernando Franco
film profile] – a film supported by the MEDIA programme, the ICAA and the Basque government – makes his prospects within Spanish cinema look good. His co-screenwriter on this adventure was Enric Rufas, Jaime Rosales’s faithful collaborator.
Cineuropa: How do you get such a risky project going?
Fernando Franco: Risks stimulate me, which is how this film was born. To have a team of over twenty first-class professionals, you need institutional support. Given that the laws for Spanish cinema do not encourage private investment, in terms of fiscal incentives that might encourage investment in projects, in the end all that is left are subsidies.
Above everything else, the film deals with an uncomfortable theme in these already negative times… How well is the project selling?
Thanks to passion and the idea that the film has social value. With a great amount of rigour too: the screenplay has been much appreciated. I am interested in underground little-known themes and I investigate them to learn more.
Why did you go from editing to directing with this specific theme?
I don’t make distinctions between formats, all of them seem valid and worthy to me. I thought about doing a documentary, short or long, on personality disorders, but then I realised that people with these syndromes tended to accentuate them for me because that is what I wanted to tell, so I decided to let go of that project, for moral reasons. I then thought that the best way to satisfy my interest in the theme was by making a feature length fiction film. I then transferred all the information I had in order to build a main character.
Is the film’s intention to prevent or to divulge?
The film does not pretend to be informational. I do not consider myself an authoritative voice for this. I wanted to make a film about a person, not a theme. There are many books that say so much more on this theme. I am aware that I am opening people’s eyes to a problem. I think it is interesting that cinema is not just a pastime or entertainment, but that it also raises questions.
You are among the film’s producers. Could we define you as independent?
I was 100% free. My co-producers trusted me and my screenplay, as well as the way in which it was staged from the beginning. They had faith and gave me free reign. If something is off in the film, it is my fault.
Does being a film which is below €1 million in budget mean that there is more freedom?
The level of commitment is different. We know that with this film we will not be a box office hit, which means that some concessions can be made. We do not have a sponsor or the pressure of having to come out in as many theatres as possible. We are being played in eight cinemas. We want to take care of the film: it would be absurd to compete with a commercial American film.
After San Sebastian, is there any interest from outside of Spain?
After being here, I am headed to Toulouse, to the festival. Then, the film will compete at the BFI in London and in other interesting events like Zurich. My idea is to continue working as an editor, but I am already writing my next screenplay.
(Translated from Spanish)