Juan Miguel del Castillo (Jerez de la Frontera, 1979) began to fiddle a camera at the age of 13. A kind of game in which his cousins and brothers also participated. They made recreations of advertisements or comic scenes. Liked. Also at that age decided to study image at La Granja Institute in Jerez, and the game began to become more serious. He complemented his training by carrying out personal projects, creating, experimenting. And it was growing.
He later joined a high-prestige private film school in Barcelona. It was an important family effort because at home they are “working people”. At the age of 25 I was certain that I wanted to make a feature film. And more than ten years later he got it with his opera prima roof and food. Ten years of persistence and tenacity that the filmmaker spread to his interlocutor: “You have to work and strive a lot, but if you insist everything is possible,” he says.
How was the process of creating a roof and food?
The illusion and the desire were the key. I had written a script before that I moved but it didn’t work. However my dream was still making a film and premiere it in cinemas.
I got the inspiration from a neighbor. Sometimes he asked me for things for the kids. I saw her once in a while, but she disappeared suddenly. Later I met his story through a documentary: they had deshauciado. I never knew I was having such a bad moment. I realized that these people did not verbalizan their situation out of shame. They live it from doors to inside. All this I had a lot of fiber and began to write with great desire. These were reflected in the script and get the illusion of the people who bet on him.
“The illusion and the desire were the key”
and the production?
The producer saw that we had something important to tell. Natalia Molina had the same thing happen to her. He said, “I want to be there.” And little by little, more people were joining.
The subject of the film was very political and we knew that we were not going to receive public funding. We didn’t care. We created a crowdfunding campaign that gave to feed the team and little else. Then private investors were found. In the end the project went forward. The shooting was very hard because we had very little money. 25 days. Everything in Jerez.
When we finished, to our surprise, we presented it at the Malaga Festival and we were rewarded. It was very successful and we found distribution. We premiered in all the cinemas, we went to the Goya… We shot to the crazy, with very little money, only 150,000 euros, but with great desire.
What are you working on right now?
The maneuver of the turtle, a police thriller with violence macho as a backdrop. It is an adaptation of the novel Homonym of the author Cadiz Benito Olmo. I read the book after I made roof and food. I liked it very much, I communicated it to some producers and they bought the rights of the novel. It is wheeled in Cadiz capital. That’s what we’re up to now.
“Whenever I can try to shoot in Cadiz”
How do you see the situation of the Andalusian cinema?
We’re at a good time. I work a lot in Sevilla. The nucleus is there. In 2017, for example, seven or eight films were shot, in addition to the Plague series. Such was the level of production that there were not enough technicians. Many things happen in Malaga too.
With the new VOD platforms they are looking for and moving new projects. I myself have worked pretty much to order after roof and food. For the way things were before, I think we’re at a good time. However, there is no doubt that there is much to create a solid industry, especially in Cadiz.
For my part, I try to always shoot here, use the province and that in the future we get closer in Cadiz to the level of production in Seville. Obviously that’s not up to me, but I do everything in my power.
What capacities do you think an aspiring director needs?
Mainly to be insistent. Do not desist. Try again and again. Never leave him. When you are given a chance and you look on a set of filming can get to give vertigo, but you have to trust oneself and not be afraid. We can all do it if passion moves you. We put the filmmakers recognized on a pedestal and when you know them you realize that they are people like you or me. In short, it must be launched.
From a creative perspective, I would say that the most important thing is to leave nothing to chance. Everything that comes out on the screen has to be justified. You have to wonder at all times why you make a decision and not another in relation to any aspect of the film: props, light, camera, sound… You must have a very clear idea of your vision as a director and communicate the technical team in the best possible way so that all of you row in the same direction.
“Cinema is emotion, it is feeling, and if you do not get the film lacks life”
What aspects of management do you enjoy the most and what less?
What I like most is to create the story from scratch, with the paper blank. You begin to see a fictitious world that is gestated in your head. And, of course, when all that is rolled up, it is mounted and finally projected it is a huge satisfaction.
I also really enjoy assembling. There you give shape to the film, trying different options, without haste.
Filming is rewarding but at the same time very hard. They tend to be lengthy days with very little rest in which there are decisions under a lot of pressure.
On the other hand, putting the scissors in the assembly room and disposing of material can be very painful. Sometimes it costs me days or weeks to understand that removing a sequence that has special affection will allow the film to work better. In the end you do but it hurts like a son.
What kind of cinema is it that excites you?
I like the social issues, the injustices, the vindication. I also enjoy watching commercial movies as a spectator, even if it’s a line of work I’m not interested in.
It seems to Me fundamental that the film is counted in images, which I call truly cinematic moments: when, in silence, the tape is capable of transmitting an idea and making the spectator excited, without dialogues. Because at the end of the day the cinema is emotion, it is feeling, and if that is not achieved the film has no life.