Filmmakers Interview

Roger Villarroya

Roger graduated in audiovisual production and continued his studies at the New York Film Academy in Los Angeles, where he studied film directing.
His solo directional debut, the short film Capicúa (Palindrome), was an official selection in festivals around the world, winning awards in various countries after receiving the Jury Grand Prize in the VIII Annual Jameson Notodofilmfest. The film was also chosen candidate for the Goya Awards (Spanish Cinema Academy) for Best Spanish Documentary Short.

Roger has made several award-winning shorts, including Espectadores (Spectators), Morales or Una cuestión de etiqueta (A Question of Tagging). His recent short film Nana (Lullaby) is currently in the festival circuit.

We had the great pleasure of interviewing him for  the July 2020 Edition

[MIS] You said that  “Capicúa” gave you the opportunity  to visualize yourself at an older age, how did you come up with the idea of Lullaby and what was the message?

[Roger] The idea of Lullaby arises from the need to talk and express about subconscious and its emotions. The short film starts with an image: a baby who cries intensely. Emanating from that point the story was born, its characters and the bond that unites them. Lullaby is a mother-child encounter that transcends space and time.

[MIS]  You combined two languages in your script,  Spanish and French, can explain that to us?

[Roger] Yes, I thought it was more interesting for the main idea of the short film that the characters of Alba and Aina were from different countries. This gave us more deepness to the concept about what we wanted to express and talk about.

We chose France because Nico’s character ends his life in Spain and we were looking for a close country. Also we had some French films as an influence for this project.

[MIS]  What was the hardest artistic choice you made in the making of this film ?

[Roger]  Probably the choice to give to the audience some space for imagination and complete the film. Maybe it was not a hard decision but I think it was the most important one.

 

[MIS]   You handled  perfectly the technical parts in the making of Lullaby…changing the color palette of the sequences to differentiate the past from the present, the framing from behind the characters  to introduce them … the head spaces… can you explain us why these choices were taken?

[Roger]  That’s correct, the different palette between past and present was to express the emotions in the actions of the different times. Past is a part of the story that leads us to light and love so we express it in warm colors, a perfect combination to highlight these feelings. On the other hand, the present characters and action show us shadows and doubts so we chose a cold palette to express this.

Also, the emotions of the characters in different moments of the story are linked by the empty spaces of some frames and the angle that was chosen for every shot.

[MIS]   The scenes between  Alba Garcia and  Joseph Alejandre were a success!!, tell us more and how did you choose the cast?

[Roger]  Thanks, I appreciate it.

They were very beautiful scenes to film. I gave some direction to the actors before starting and they just… used all their talent to connect to each other. We filmed long takes and I just gave them space to play with the characters.

I chose the cast looking at the characters. It was easy for Alba and Aina, they just appeared in my mind during the writing process. About young Nico, I did a casting and we chose Yann. Later, I found Josep M. Alejandre on Facebook and after checking his work and due to his physical similarity with Yann, I realized he was the perfect actor for the role.

[MIS]     The calm scenes in “Lullaby” reminds us of the “the Mirror” by Andrei Tartovsky… is it true? and  which filmmaker are you influenced by?

[Roger]  I like to give space in the acting and the scenes providing the chance to enjoy the details. I’m a very contemplative person and I feel that this is reflected in my work.

I was also influenced by  ‘Café de Flore” 2011 by Jean-Marc Vallé.

[MIS]     Who was your favorite character in “Lullaby” and Why?

[Roger]  Honestly speaking, I don’t have a favorite one. Somehow I believe all the characters work as one.  It is the micro universe of the characters that makes the story.

[MIS]      What do you feel it is missing in the Independent Filmmaking today?    

[Roger]  Well, I think there are very interesting independent films today and they probably will be in the coming years. Every difficult moments and situations in life and history make creativity explode and I’m sure it is the moment for screenwriters and independent filmmaking to show their skills and talent.

[MIS]      What can you tell us about your upcoming projects?

[Roger]  At this moment I’m writing my first feature film and just finished my new short film STAINS, hopefully coming soon in film festivals. Fingers crossed.

[MIS]      Any final thoughts at the end of this interview?

[Roger]  Thank you so much for your interest in my work and your aim to support independent filmmakers.

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