Fernando González Molina • Director of Offering to the Storm
“We tell stories wherever we can”
- Spaniard Fernando González Molina is bringing his Baztán Trilogy to an end with the third instalment, Offering to the Storm, a thriller shot in Navarre starring Marta Etura, as in the first two films
Offering to the Storm [+see also:
interview: Fernando González Molina
film profile], which will premiere worldwide on Netflix on 24 July, concludes the Baztán Trilogy - a film series begun in 2017 with The Invisible Guardian [+see also:
film profile] and continued with The Legacy of the Bones [+see also:
film profile], all inspired by the work of writer Dolores Redondo. The books were adapted for the screen by Fernando González Molina, responsible for the TV hits The Boat and Paco’s Men, and the feature films I Want You [+see also:
film profile] and Tres metros sobre el cielo [+see also:
film profile]. The director kindly spoke to Cineuropa, fresh from working on location in Segovia.
Cineuropa: So, are you working on a new series?
Fernando González Molina: Yes, for Movistar+. It’s called Paraíso, and it’s a science-fiction mystery series, set in 1992. We stopped shooting half-way through because of the pandemic. We’re filming until 24 August.
Offering to the Storm was set to play at the Málaga Film Festival last spring, which was then delayed until August, and now the film will premiere on Netflix; the world has changed. How do you feel about the film not showing in cinemas, as your previous films did?
The circumstances are so strange and exceptional that this was ultimately the best option. The film was struggling to find the place to premiere that it deserved: it was due to open Málaga and come out in 400 theatres, so it was difficult to plug that gap, but Netflix has enabled the film to open worldwide. I think the film’s release is the right one, given the circumstances, and its budget and its ambitions. It’s strange, but I’m happy. The Legacy of the Bones started playing on Netflix during lockdown, and has now been seen around the world. People sent me so many messages about it that it seemed a good option when it came to releasing the new instalment.
Did your previous two films not get a release outside of Spain?
The Invisible Guardian was released in Germany and on Netflix, but The Legacy of the Bones has had a much bigger impact, and audiences have since caught up on the previous film, which has charted very high on Netflix in quite a few countries. That opened up a path for Offering to the Storm to premiere there.
And what about a platform for the new series you’re shooting?
I dedicated half my life to television, then I made movies, releasing the last one in December; I also have another project set for theatrical release. But Movistar+ has allowed me to make a fantasy genre series, a risky and ambitious series, which I’m delighted with. We tell stories wherever we can. I’m 44 and I’m a romantic when it comes to movie theatres, so I hope to be making films for cinemas for a long time, but I also think that platforms enable us to tell stories that can be seen at the same time everywhere around the world. That is a privilege.
It must also be a privilege to film at home, in the Navarre of your birth, with all that heritage and those great tax incentives.
Yes. The story is set in the Baztán Valley, so it made sense to film there, in Navarre. We were also spoiled with fiscal incentives and the support of various bodies. But it came about quite naturally because the story takes place there, and filming at home is an emotional and personal bonus, because you’re making it on streets you know, with the sensibility of people you know.
Is it necessary to have seen the two previous films to enjoy the end of the saga, or can you watch it on its own?
You can watch it independently, but it’s more satisfying if you’ve seen the first two films. Showing on Netflix means viewers can watch the two previous movies, which are both also on the platform. There are people who have seen it without seeing the previous ones and who understand it: that surprised me at first because I think it’s the conclusion of a complex story told over the two previous films.
The film combines horror and mythology with thriller and drama, with dramatic moments and elements of suspense. Do you feel at ease in all these genres?
I am better at dealing with the construction of characters and I feel more at ease with drama: from there I shoot action or I create suspense, but the backbone is always the characters’ conflict. But in the case of Offering to the Storm, it is true that the film jumps from enigma to horror, and from there to suspense, via the police storyline and the conflict of the characters. Starting with the story, I give the movie the brushstrokes it needs.
(Translated from Spanish by Caspar Salmon)
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