"Novice directors like me need to be given a chance”
by Alfonso Rivera
- At 37 years old, the director from Madrid takes his first steps into the world of features with Mindscape, an ambitious co-production filmed in English and aimed at a wide audience.
Jorge Dorado, who has directed several shorts, was also the assistant of filmmakers such as Enrique Urbizu, Guillermo del Toro and Pedro Almódovar, to only cite a few. His first feature, in the race for the Goya for Best Director for a First Film, was backed by the production company of Catalan producer Jaume Collet-Serra, who studied in the US and directed blockbusters like House of Wax, Esther et Unknown [+see also:
film profile], with Liam Neeson.
Cineuropa: Does Mindscape [+see also:
film profile] fit with the logical progression of your short films?
Jorge Dorado: For me, shorts correspond to an evolution, they are a way to find your own voice as a director. The shorts I directed helped me find my voice, create a fluid style that can be seen in the feature.
Did this style also develop from contact with renowned filmmakers with whom you’ve worked?
There is something autodidactic in observing the way in which a director works on a set, notably in terms of the directing and work with the actors, but I don’t consider ever having had a teacher, I mostly acquired technical knowledge. That is the kind of influence others may have had on me.
Did you modify Guy Holmes’ screenplay a lot after the first reading?
I read it for the first time four years ago. There was a logical framework and an efficient structure, very North American, with well-thought twists, but no emotion or real characters. During the first re-writing, I tried to give life to the characters. Then, with Jaume Collet-Serra, I changed many other things. Thus, we gave a European twist to a commercial movie, and it earned some character. For example, the relationship between the two protagonists didn’t exist: now there is a kind of seduction, attraction between them, but also a fatherly rapport, all at the same time.
Without the involvement of Collet-Serra, could this project have seen the light of day?
Even if they have proven their worth with shorts and spots and won prizes and nominations, novice directors like me need to be given a chance. An investor is always nervous when faced with a first feature, but in my case, Jaume played the role of mentor and he put his name before mine. This way, in front of an investor who was ready to put two million euros into this first feature, Jaume could vouch for me, give him the reassurance of his approval to put him at ease. Collet-Serra has so far had very few links with Spanish cinema, but since he created the production company Ombra Films, he is trying to build a bridge between Europe and the US to bring money closer to Spain.
Because Mindscape is a Spanish-American co-production...
Half of the budget came from Studio Canal, although Jaume’s production company is American. The starting point of the idea is American, the money is European.
The filming took place on two continents...
Yes. The film takes place is a non-determined North American city. We were looking for a reinvented and weird town. We searched for locations in several places and finally we stopped in Montreal, which is like a small New York with a certain London look and a French influence. In Bordeaux, we found the house where most of the action takes place. In Spain, we filmed the interior scenes and in the studio. In total, the filming lasted seven and a half weeks.
Did the team also have this international dimension?
The team included ne hundred Spanish members, less so in Canada. In Barcelona, on the set, people spoke Catalan, English and Spanish.
After its presentation at the latest Sitges Festival and its upcoming release in Spain, what kind of career do you think your film will have?
In spring, it will be released in France and the UK, after which it will make its way to the US. It was already pre-sold all over the world. In quite a few European countries, Studio Canal will handle the distribution. It was also purchased for South America and Canada, which are territories that follow the market for first films: if they work here, they choose according to their diffusion windows.
You therefore made up the film’s budget. How much did it cost?
4.3 million euros. It’s very little! But it feels like it cost more.