Interview with Joaquín Cambre, Director of A Trip to the Moon - Raindance

Ahead of its UK release at the ICA this March, we sat down with Joaquín Cambre, director of Argentinian coming-of-age film A Trip to the Moon, which had its World Premiere at Raindance 2017.

Trip to the Moon is your debute feature film, but you had a long career in directing videoclips and commercials before that. Which are the perks of coming from this experience and what essential lesson did you take from that? Were there any challenges you had to face?

I am essentially a music video director and that has become an amazing exercise for me. I mean, narratively speaking I´m used to tell stories in three minutes and to be fast in filming them. That filming muscle allowed me to shoot my film in twenty days. Beside that, I used to work with well-known musicians and dealing with their egos. So when I have to face an actor I am always confident. Filming a feature is more challenging in the post-production part or even in trying to manage my anxiety. I am used to a short production process and being patient was a big learning. Kind of a zen learning.


Would you share any suggestion with filmmakers that come from a similar background and are trying to direct their first feature film?

I will tell them “do it”. I realised by making my film that this will become part of my life. I loved it. I enjoyed every day of my 20 shooting days. I was very well driven, so focused on the project. I will only suggest that they get a producer, a partner who shares the same vision. I didn´t have that and post-production was a painful process because I had to do it by my own.


The moon with a girl face that peeps out in the film, the magical journey of Tomas and, of course, the title of your movie, immediately bring to mind George Méliès and his A Trip to the Moon. Was he an important source of inspiration and do you think that early cinema is still inspiring for young filmmakers?

Of course! I grew up watching Buster Keaton and Méliès. They have the essence of what I am right know. I think at that era things were more diverse and experimental. You didn´t have to be “narrative” to be a director. Films could be magical or experimental. We lost that. Cinema has become Narrative or Documentary, losing the third, and most interesting for me, “magical” part. My film is narrative of course, but I’m trying to share an experience, not only a story. I know that people crave for stories, but when you surprise the audience, that feeling is bigger than just telling a story.


In the film, Tomas finds his way to cope with a trauma taking refuge in his own world and forcing his family to follow him, while adults and psychologists are not of real help. Do you think that phantasy, artistic creation and identification can play an important role in dealing with mental issues and in real life?

Personal passions, dream and art are always part of the deal. Creativity is the key for go through this tough life. But you can´t do it without your family and friends. That´s why Tomas needs to involve his family in it. He needs his family to understand his interest and creativity. This is a very delicate topic, but I´m positive about the importance of friends and parents.


Trip to the Moon is a coming-of-age of a peculiar kid. Tell us more about how you developed the subject. Did you look at other filmmakers’ works in portraying trobuled adolescence or did you rely more on your personal experience?

Well, I really built this character with my own experiences and having chats with friends and psychoanalysts. Most of all, my aunt who is the president of the IPA, helped me a lot to develop Tomas character. The only film reference to build that was Gus Van Sant´s films. His films are amazing in building adolescent characters just through the framing and not with dialogue. Finally, the soundtrack was for me the great achievement in my film. I worked almost a year with Emilio Haro and Gabriel Barredo trying to get that childish, dramatic and twitched atmosphere.


Which was the best part and the most challenging aspect of working with really young actors? How did you prepared them for the role?

Not challenging at all. Working with young actors is a blessing. They are great, vivid, happy. They have the world ahead. I really did a good casting and worked with the family as a family in the rehearsals. I just knew that if I could build this group of diverse actors as I family, I would get good performances in the young actors.


What are your next projects? Are you going to explore again the themes of A Trip to the Moon or are you aiming at something different?

I will explore mental health or madness, call it as you like. It’s one of my obsessions. I´m working on a new film called Laundry with only three characters locked in a Laundromat, exploring mental issues, racial discrimination and violence. And in the teenage context, I´m about to film a teaser for a TV series called LFD (Last First Day), a teenage thriller.

Don’t miss the special screening of A Trip to the Moon followed by a Q&A with the director at the ICA on 22nd March. Find out more about the film here.



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