Víctor Moreno: “I have the same uncertainties and doubts, also the same convictions, when I start a project than the first time”
The 8th Lanzarote Film Festival was for three years under the direction of Tenerife-born filmmaker Víctor Moreno, who on this occasion has come to the festival as a guest to present us ‘The Hidden City’, a documentary in which the underworld, the underground and the dark labyrinths make a playground for the imagination of the spectator.
After being the director of the Lanzarote Film Festival for three years, how are you living the celebration of this edition from the other side?
In a great way. I see the Muestra very well, I would even say that it is much better to say so. The fact that Javier Fuentes has taken the reins, a person very linked to cultural management and who has directed art centers, accustomed to film projects from the field of management, is brilliant. He is doing a great job. All this within the limitations of the Muestra that under my criterion should continue to grow at a budgetary level. But the work is impeccable.
These limitations of which you speak, how are they noticed in the day to day of the Sample?
This year I can not speak, but in previous years it was noticeable in the lack of personnel. In the end the Sample is made with very small equipment and it would be necessary to be able to hire more people. I think it would be fundamental. On the other hand, I think that this year there are more guests than ever. Many of the directors have come to the island from many parts of the world. That is incredible. It is a great success of this edition.
Can the budget limitation affect the quality of the films that are brought?
Not at all, in my years it has not been like that. Within the programming line the films have always been accessible. The same could not be released because it had another festival, but it did not happen in many cases.
As we say, in this edition you have come to present your latest documentary ‘The hidden city’, how did you see the reception of the audience that saw it in the show?
The truth is very good. It was an intense debate with an almost full room. Very grateful for those feedback we had after the screening. It seems that people got quite into this experience that the film proposes. It is a very sensitive film, very let go. The impression was quite positive.
What can we find in ‘The hidden city’?
I like to define it as a hallucinated journey through a very close but unknown universe that is the subsoil of the city. A trip through galleries, transport networks, sewers, service stations. It goes through all the subterranean world that exists, a place conquered by man to the nature in which he works, transits and even inhabits that space. It is a very sensory trip, very immersive, a film very much to let oneself go through a place.
The process of creation and realization of this documentary also lived by letting go or everything was very well planned?
I have been surprised by many of the debates and discussions we have had at the Seville Festival and at the IDFA in Amsterdam, the most prestigious of documentaries, because the readings taken by the people, despite being a documentary very open to different readings, have Quite a lot to do with my initial intentions. In the end, I have let myself be carried away by that loss. First in the process of research and search for locations, and then in the filming itself and in the assembly of the documentary. While it is true that ‘The hidden city’ had to be a very controlled film because stepping on a territory as extensive as an underground city, which in extension is the same as the visible city required a lot of research work. Then there was the shooting: there were places that we could only access two hours so we had to go direct to what we needed. But it is true that in the montage we recover those feelings of loss or, as I like to define it, the flight of a bird through that territory.
It is striking that despite the fact that the shooting time was so restricted, the details are taken care of so much that at the Seville Festival they were awarded the Best Cinematography Prize.
We wanted to make an audiovisual experience and in both image and sound we take care of the details. It is a film that starts from the darkness of the subsoil and it seemed nice to us as a challenge to start working from the darkness and not from the light. In the filming everything that we found around us was a revelation: that light that appears, that sound you hear … We dedicate a lot of work to both the sound and the image. They were our two obsessions.
Do you think about how the viewer will affect the visual aspect?
You never know, but for me it is essential that the viewer be carried away by this audiovisual experience. It is a strictly cinematographic film, it has to enter into the temporal development of images, sounds, planes because that is the game that it proposes. It is a succession of hypnosis that catches you, also from the physical. We play with many elements to propose this trip.
Now, what is the path of the documentary?
It is beginning the path of festivals. The premiere in theaters is scheduled for April or May in a distribution that we hope will be as large as possible. The film has an international sales agent and already has distribution in France.
From your first documentaries, through ‘Edificio España’, until now, how have you seen your work evolve? Do you find it easier to convince others to carry out the projects?
The experience makes you know things unconsciously, but when you start a new project you are almost like the first time. I have the same uncertainties and doubts, also the same convictions and certainties, when I start a project than the first time. When it comes to getting people involved for financing, you never know. In 2015, when I had the idea of this documentary I thought that it was not going to be done, but the funding came out quickly. We have been able to do it in three years, relatively short times for Spanish cinema. As a filmmaker, I think I have taken a more ambitious step in terms of the aesthetic proposals of my previous films. It is a territory that I would like to continue exploring.
How do you see the film level of the Canary Islands today?
Very good, the Canarian filmmakers are doing excellent work. The ones we have seen in the Muestra are an example of this. At the international level the repercussion is being seen and that is quite good. There is a unique generation of Canarian filmmakers that must be seized.