DIAMOND FLASH – Introduction by Javier Loarte, Columbia University School of the Arts

DIAMOND FLASH - Introduction by Javier Loarte

As you all know the situation in Spain is a bit tricky. And regarding the film industry is even trickier. It doesn’t happen like in other European countries where film is seen by a vast majority like a Cultural Heritage that must be protected. Spanish cinema has no support from a big part of the country to whom is not reasonable that the film industry can be state supported. This comes from issues about history and national identity that are still bleeding us but more recently from when the Iraq war was starting: Spanish government, which was conservative, supported the US, Jose Maria Aznar was proud and ready to join Bush and Blair in their Iraqi adventure. That same month, the Goya Awards Ceremony (that is the Spanish equivalent to the Oscars) turned into a heavy vindication against the government. Since then, the film industry, with all its differences and nuances has been portayed as being a bunch of reds that don’t deserve money from the state. With this background, two years ago, the conservative party got back to power and using the economic crisis as an alibi cut almost EVERY cent for the film industry.

Under these circumstances it was a miracle to make a film in Spain in 2011. The writer and director of Diamond Flash, Carlos Vermut, coming from the world of comics, used 30 thousand dollars he earned from creating an animation series to make this film. The average cost of a Spanish film is around two million euros. But before jumping into the unknown and making the film by himself he had tried the usual way: he sent the screenplay to three producers, he waited a month and didn’t get even an answer. So he decided not to wait. He saved on art direction and crew members and gave priority to the story and the actors. He even became the Director of Photography of the film to save the last penny. But if this film is here today is not because it only cost 30 thousand dollars. This movie is here today because it is a great film.

The lack of support gave the filmmaker the freedom needed to make such a film possible. More technical quality would have required more money. More money means more investors and more investors mean more opinions. Opinions bigger than a guy in his late twenties with only a 3 minute short film in his pocket.

He made a casting through the internet. He posted an ad on the web and actors would send him tapes with scenes. Among all the candidates the director contacted 7 of them for each role and then held a more conventional casting to choose the final cast. One of the most amazing features of this film is the discovery of unknown actors that together give the best ensemble performance seen in the last years of Spanish cinema.

Maybe the most interesting thing of the film we are about to see is that it is almost impossible to classify. A puzzle whose different pieces create diverse layers that give the story a hypnotic quality where you are going be constantly challenged. Because first things first, this is not an easy movie. It’s demanding. It’s going to ask you to be active, smart, playful. It is a great journey, and as every great journey there is a price to pay.

It’s difficult to guess where this movie is going to take you. The pleasure is to keep your eyes opened and LET-YOUR-SELVES-GO.

– Javier Loarte
Columbia University School of the Arts, Film


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