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Diego Modino: "Efímera is a small fairy tale"

The director from Madrid Diego Modino is the winner at the Festimatge with his short film "Efímera", a very striking visual work, like a small fairy tale, which has already received awards in more than 30 countries. The jury at the Festimatge really enjoyed the contrast it offers between two worlds.

By: Àlex M. Franquet

- You have received more than 45 awards and the short was at a pre-selection at the Goya Awards. Did you expect to receive such a positive reaction?
- While working on the short film I was wondering which would be the public reaction would to a radical film like this one. I knew there would be a part of the public who would play the game I want them to play and some other people won't do that. To me the most important thing is not to leave anyone indifferent. But I would never expect to receive so many awards in over 30 countries. Even in my wildest dreams I would have imagined that. There is nothing more rewarding for a director to get his films seen and not ignored.

- How would you describe it? Why you contrast both worlds?
- To me, "Efímera" is a small fairy tale, in which I wanted to face the fantastic world full of innocence of childhood, with dreams still intact, with the decadent world of the adults. I think that as we mature as individuals, our dreams are transformed, perhaps diluted, and we become more pragmatic. With this story I wanted to play with the idea that part of what we were in our childhood, our way of looking at the world with fascination, it is still there. To support this idea, I created a visual style of two contrasting worlds, a rural, ecological one and another world that is decadent and industrialized. On the other hand, I think this fight is quite valid today.

- How did manage to get the participation of Asunción Balaguer, who was the wife of Paco Rabal? Did she said yes quickly?
- I was in touch with her agent but without much hope, since it was a short film and the the script was pretty cryptic, very conceptual. To my surprise, Asunción called me very soon and said that he loved the idea and wanted to do it.

- What do you think of her job?
- Being a very visual short piece, I needed actors with a very specific image and, in that sense, Asunción perfectly fulfilled what he wanted in the character, the idea of the tender grandmother from a tale. She is like the grandmother we all would have liked to have. There are no dialogues at the short film and Asunción was very good at that.

- Paula Peñalver play the part of the the young girl. She is not a small child nowadays and she wants to try a future in the movies. Do you think she is talented?
- I think she is very talented and she can make if she works hard. For her, this was her first experience. It was so positive that she wanter more. I know that she's taking acting classes. I hope everything goes well with her in the future!

- What is the origin of this short? You say that the idea comes from of a particular image.
- The origin of the short has little to do with the final result.You may be surprised. I got the idea when ETA announced a permanent ceasefire, a truce some years ago. I was struck by the image of the three hooded man sitting behind a table. It seemed a ridiculous image but, at the same time, it was frightening. It suddenly came to my mind the image of a girl in a ballet costume in front of those three men. I wondered if those who generally use violence are able to feel something about beauty. So the idea came from there, but my short is far from being political.

- The shooting lasted for a long time. Was it just because of postproduction and the special effects?
- It was because of the complexity of what we should do. I was the producer but I hadn't the financial capacity to shoot the film on a row, so we had to do it in five parts! Also, you can find about 70 shots with special effects, so you can imagine why it took so long to be finished.

- As you were in Korea, David García collected your award in Calella. He is the author of the poster of your short film. Are you happy with his job?
- His poster is very important because it is the main image that will represent your work. It must attract the attention of anyone who sees it and show the spirit of the film. To me, it's a key piece. For you to understand the importance, it took me months to find the right person to do it. Finding David García was very important. I was very lucky.

- Which are you new projects? Can you give us some details?
- I have several projects. I am developing a long version of "Efímera" as an animated film. I will develope the characters and the visual world of the film. I am also working on a fiction story, but it's very early to talk about it.

- Our festival is a unique one because we mix photography, films and cinema in the 9.5 format. We are the only one in Spain to do that. What do you think about this idea of ​​mixing disciplines?
- I think it's a great idea. There are lots of film festivals, but the Festimatge is unique because it helps us to think about the visual arts from other points of view in different disciplines. It is very rewarding!

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