Illectric Sheep

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Director of Amador: 4 Tips for Aspiring Film Directors

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Osaka is not really known for it's film culture, however the Osaka European Film Festival(Nov. 18th - 23rd) is now in it's 18th year and it said to be one of the most cinematic important events in Japan and the most important showcase of European films in Asia. I was lucky enough to attend on the Saturday and was pleasantly surprised to view a great film that took me by surprise. The film I am referring to is a Spanish film named Amador, director by Fernando Leon de Aranoa. It is a drama centered on a young woman who takes a summer job caring for a bed-ridden older man, and the intimate secrets they begin to share with one another.

I believe Fernando told me this is his fifth film effort. After his graduation from Complutense University of Madrid, he worked as a screenplay writer. He directed his first feature in 1996, Familia, which was awared Best New director at the Goya Awards. International conserceration came in 2003 with this multi-awarded the third feature, Los lunes al sol(shown at the 10th OEFF), which is consider as one of the most important Spanish films of the years 2000. In 2005, he self-produced Pricnesas which had its international Premiere at Sundance Film Festival. Amador had its Internaitional Premiere this year at the Berlin International Film Festival.

The true highlight of the festival for me was actually getting the chance to ask the director, Fernando Leon De Aranoa and the producer, Patricia de Muns a question. They were both so down to earth, friendly, and really encouraging.

Q: What advice or tips would you give an aspiring film director?

1. Fernando said that in this business we must be stubborn about the vision or things that we want to say. I took it to mean basically trust in your own intuition or gut no matter how foolish your ideas may seem. We live in a very noisy world so your inner voice can be easily drowned out by the opinion of others. Stick to your guns about what you want to say.

2. His next piece of advice was on writing, particularly referring to creating characters. Fernando said that his method of script creation involves really zoning in on creating strong characters and seeing where their development takes him. He said, that for him a strong focus on character was a driving force in his creative process. This was also evident from the characters in film especially the lead actress.

3. Fernando also said, working with a good producer was essential. He was on stage with his producer, Patricia de Muns and you could easliy see that they had a great chemistry together. According to wikipedia,

the job of the producer from the first draft script, through all stages of production, to the final dub, success or failure rests largely in the hands of the producer. Experience in this field does not come overnight. Rather it is born out of long years of creative and technical know-how, and above all a love for the job and all that goes with it, together with the ability to choose the right talent with which to surround himself.

4. Fenando gave me his last piece of advice while he kindly signed my film festival program book. I asked him if he thought going to film school was worthwhile as I am now considering it. He replied that is definitely a very rewarding experience. He added that your brain will actually be oiled and produce it best ideas when you are around like minded individuals to inspire, collaborate, and create with. Also a lot of them will become your life long friends and colleagues. Not to mention you will actually learn how to make films properly.

Overall, the Osaka European Film Festival was a wonderful experience and I highly recommend it to all movie lovers for next year.