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Natalia Garagiola • Director

“It all started with a single image”


- SAN SEBASTIÁN 2017: Argentine director Natalia Garagiola brings her debut film, Hunting Season, to the Horizontes Latinos section following a prize-winning turn at Venice

Natalia Garagiola • Director
(© Montse Castillo / Festival de San Sebastián)

Natalia Garagiola came away from the recent Venice Film Festival toting the Audience Award of the 32nd International Film Critics’ Week, which went to her debut feature Hunting Season [+see also:
film review
interview: Natalia Garagiola
film profile
. Now, the film is set to feature in the Horizontes Latinos section of the 65th San Sebastián International Film Festival. We spoke to the Argentine director about where she gets her inspiration, the use of light in her work and how she found the experience of co-producing between multiple different countries.

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Cineuropa: What inspired you to tell this moving father-son story?
Natalia Garagiola: Initially, it all started with a single image: two men fighting inside a cabin. From a distance, it looked like a dance that would end in an embrace. Outside, snow was falling.

Is hunting a symbol of the passage to adulthood, or does your film go deeper than that?
It is, but it also goes deeper. It’s an activity that creates a connection between the two characters, and between them and nature.

Was it easy to build up the character of Nahuel with Lautaro Bettoni, your lead actor?
Yes, in some respects it was easy, because the very first time I saw him I was certain that he was the one. There was something about him that just was that character. Lautaro is very quiet and peaceable, but I knew that he would eventually be able to bring off that violent impulse that takes hold of Nahuel at certain moments. We worked really hard to develop the character.

Apart from that stunning scenery, another thing that really stands out in the film is the camera work. Could you tell us a bit about your choices in that respect, and how they influenced the visual impact of the film? How does that tie in with the characters?
Together with Fernando Lockett, the director of photography, we had in mind working with very minimal or next to no artificial lighting from the beginning. We wanted to focus on the work of the actors within a more naturalistic register, and on the performances we were looking for based on how we conceived the characters.

I knew that Lautaro was going to be the driving force that moved us through the story, and so the character had to develop in a really involving way.

Was it easy to work in co-production with so many countries? What did you take from the experience?
I think that bringing in producers from other countries and getting their perspectives on the material helps us to clarify what is particular and what is universal in any given film. This external viewpoint also came into play in a very intense way in the series of film labs and workshops I took part in over the course of the film’s development, and it told me a lot about myself and the world I inhabit during that process. It also helped me to expand the expressive palette of the performances when I was trying to move away from the naturalism and the social contexts we typically see in Argentina. 

From another angle, I also think that being supported by co-producers from different countries can be a great help when it comes to maximising the film’s profile.

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(Translated from Spanish)

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