Benito Zambrano • Director of Out in the Open
"Culture will never receive enough support"
- With his fourth film, the Spanish western Out in the Open, Benito Zambrano returns to Spanish cinemas and festivals after an eight-year break
Benito Zambrano has not made a film since 2011, when he directed The Sleeping Voice [+see also:
film profile]. Therefore Out in the Open [+see also:
interview: Benito Zambrano
film profile] — starring Luis Tosar and Luis Callejo, based on the novel by Jesús Carrasco, and opening the 64th edition of the Seminci (Valladolid International Film Week) — marks his reunion with the public and with film events, as he will present the film next week in his native land, during the 16th Seville European Film Festival. Cineuropa met up with the director of Solas and Habana Blues [+see also:
film profile] in the cafeteria of the Olid hotel, during the Valladolid festival, to discuss his fourth feature film.
Cineuropa: Are you happy to premiere Out in the Open here, and to then bring it to Andalusia?
Benito Zambrano: Yes, we will see how each audience breathes the film in and makes it its own. That is the interesting thing when you travel the world with a film and start seeing different people. Furthermore, it will also be projected it in my city, Lebrija (Seville), on the 16th, a special screening for my people.
The film is a co-production with Portugal.
We have to try to make a cinema as international as possible, and co-production is a way to contribute to this internationalisation. Co-production is also necessary because finding the financement for a film in a single country is very expensive. The most important thing for me is that the film opens itself to the public, and that helps the film take flight, because I want people all over the world to see it.
Out in the Open received production support from the ICAA, as did your next project, Pan de limón con semillas de amapola, based on the homonymous novel by Cristina Campos (read the news).
I am not simply happy — it will be a miracle that I presented a film in November and will start preparing another in December. I am a director and I love directing: I do not like waiting eight years between projects. It isn’t something that makes me proud or satisfies me, among other reasons because you cannot make a living shooting movies. We will always have to ask for more help, because cinema, of all industries, is the least subsidised: it does not receive as much support as some people say, if you compare it with other sectors. When you are given a grant of €300,000 in Andalusia, for example, you're bringing a production of three million to that region. If, from these three, one and a half — as it happened with Out in the Open — remains in the region, with over a hundred people working during that season, with the shoot in Granada, then the community has already recouped that support, at least in taxes. That is how an industry is created. Cinema, like culture, will never receive enough support, especially if we want to be more competitive internationally and generate jobs.
Moreover, films with spectacular locations, such as Out in the Open, help promote places which are worth knowing and visiting.
There are two important things in cinema: one is this one, it helps people discover landscapes and places; and then we tell our stories: if we leave cinema in international hands, even if they use our landscapes, they will not tell our stories.
Out in the Open is practically a western. Solas was a personal drama. And The Sleeping Voice was a historical film. Do you feel at ease in any genre?
Regarding genre, it is one thing to write it and another thing to direct it. I may not know how to write genre, but as a director, if the script is good, I can direct it. I do not know how to direct the films of Amenábar, Almodóvar, Bayona or Álex de la Iglesia, because everyone has their strengths. The idea is always of making a cinema of quality, which the audience will like, a cinema that is entertaining and with a weight, not something superficial: something that goes deeper.
Out in the Open takes place during the post-war period and deals with serious issues.
The history of Spain is wonderful: the Arab-Muslim era of the Iberian Peninsula, the Romans, the French invasion and the end of the 19th century, with the loss of the colonies, then the republic and the civil war… This country has a History with a capital H, although it is a painful story that is sad and one of looting and invasions, is some cases. This country wasn’t born yesterday, we have a long story which can give us a lot to do in cinema. And the after-war period is something we experienced, I was ten years old when Franco died, and I come from the city, I worked in the countryside and I know the world of foremen and farms. The years in the 1940s-1950s, after the civil war, were terrible.
(Translated from Spanish)
Did you enjoy reading this article? Please subscribe to our newsletter to receive more stories like this directly in your inbox.