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Irene Albanell Mellado • Director of Silent Club

“The value in one’s life is not necessarily found in how perfectly you fit with society’s standards”


- As part of EFP’s Future Frames, the Spanish director wends her to way to Karlovy Vary with the tale of a child and her drug-addicted parent

Irene Albanell Mellado • Director of Silent Club

Spanish director Irene Albanell Mellado studied Cinema and Audiovisual Media at ESCAC (Catalonia Film School), where she specialised in editing. 

Her first short film as a director is Silent Club, which is also her graduation piece. The film follows young girl Martina, who is picked up by her mother, Alejandra, for the weekend. It soon becomes apparent that her mother is addicted to drugs and that, for Martina, shutting off the world to deny the terrible realities around her is not a new thing. Soon, Alejandra must decide what is more powerful: her addiction, or her love for her daughter. While an often dark and despairing tale, Mellado still manages to make a film that has glimpses of hope, in a work exploring the human condition and the boundaries of love and understanding.

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We caught up with Mellado as the film prepared for its International Premiere as part of European Film Promotion’s Future Frames at the 55th edition of the Karlovy Vary International Film Festival.

Cineuropa: How did Club Silence first come about?
Irene Albanell Mellado: The project was born from the fact that I do not like the way society deals with mental health, because it does so from a place of taboo and prejudice.

Deconstructing a stigma is about facing ourselves with our fears and learning that ideas we are very attached to can be wrong and prejudicial, and affect the wellbeing and inclusion of a lot of people, and even ourselves. The value in one’s life is not necessarily found in how perfectly you fit with society’s standards.

How did you cast Eva Llorach and Nicole Ferrer as the mother and daughter, knowing that their chemistry is crucial to the film?
It was very important to me that the actors and I had similar beliefs and sensitivity. To choose Martina, we were searching for a girl who had a similar intuition as the character, and Nicole totally matched this energy. For Eva, I really enjoyed her work in Quien te Cantará [+see also:
film review
interview: Carlos Vermut
film profile
: how you could sense vulnerability through her performance and body language, it really impacted me. 

During rehearsals (with the coach Daria Molteni), we worked on creating memories and common elements that we could regain during filming. Eva was also really helpful, because she was so committed that Nicole could easily let her go and play.  

How do you approach working with younger actors when you’re dealing with heavy and adult material?
We always approached the topic as a conversation about empathy and health, and we were never explicit. It was very important for us to listen to Nicole's observations, because at the end, the short film is about how a kid understands this topic. 

Was there anything that influenced your approach with the film?
What really influenced the movie is the fact that life is complex and, lots of times, contradictory. That is why one of the main elements of the short film is duality, and it is present in almost every aspect, so we could create contrasts and layers in every scene.

I knew that I wanted to make a movie that could reach anyone, so for me it was very important to not be very explicit or radical and, although the aesthetic is realistic, we didn’t want to make the images depressing or dark so we always added a touch of color and beauty. 

What are you working on next?
Nowadays I’m editing a short film directed by Iris Irish and I’m thinking about developing another project as a director. It probably won’t be a realistic movie and I would love to incorporate a little comedy. What’s certain is that it will be from an intersectional feminist point of view, about mental health and contradictory feelings.

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