#24/7 VALENCIA: Can you tell us something about your background and education and influences in filmmaking…
FILMMAKER PABLO CALLISAYA: I’m the son of a Bolivian father and Swiss mother who met each other while travelling through South America. My father was a street musician and my mom back then was sort of a late hippie.
I guess that mix of very different cultures is a defining part of my personality and of how I perceive things. I started my film studies in Madrid, where I did a screenwriting course with Jorge Esteban Blein, who is a very well-known figure in that field. My influences would be Woody Allen, Matteo Garrone, Thomas Vinterberg and Ulrich Seidl.
24/7 VALENCIA: What is living and working in Switzerland like for filmmakers?
It’s quite interesting. On the one hand Switzerland, in comparison to many other countries, has a well-established film funding by the government and other regional institutions as well as foundations. However, at the same time, Switzerland is not very successful with its films, neither at home nor abroad. It’s a big topic here, at film school as well as in the media. All of us are aware of that, some of us want to challenge that, others try to get a piece of the cake and just try to survive by making mediocre films. We haven’t won anything important in 30 years at any of the major film festivals. I hope we can change that.
24/7 VALENCIA: Can you tell us something more about your award-winning film, ‘Zeit und Lust’?
It was an experiment. At that time I had a summer break from my master studies in script writing, so I hadn’t worked with actors in a long time. I had this simple story about an erotic adventure that had happened in real life to my neighbour, but no screenplay. I wrote the story down in sequences and started to call cast and crew members. Everybody had time and wanted to be a part of it, so we just did it. It cost around 3500 USD which I put up myself. We shot the film in two days. It was really great and fun. Of course, now I think we could have done a way better film, if we’d had more time to write a screenplay…but then again, the film wouldn’t be what it is.
24/7 VALENCIA: What was your impression of Valencia during your visit for ‘La Cabina’ film festival?
It’s beautiful. Great food. Cool people. Beautiful women. Beautiful streets and architecture. But I never left the city centre, so I can’t give you a deep impression.
24/7 VALENCIA: What are the advantages and disadvantages of the medium-length format?
Clearly it’s pretty much impossible to attend any festivals. ‘La Cabina’ is one of the very few festivals worldwide to give this format an audience. Usually, films from 30-70 minutes are too long for short film festivals and too short for feature film festivals. I can’t see any real advantage, to be honest. I think it’s a kind of length that develops from the story, you know. I can’t imagine anyone thinking “let’s make a medium-length format“; it just ends up being that.
24/7 VALENCIA: Would it be fair to say that your work sometimes combines a Latin imagination with Swiss perfectionism?
Funny question. I don’t really think so, no. If anything, I try to combine Swiss “Zurückhaltung”, which translates as restraint with Latin “sabor” …which means something like flavour.
24/7 VALENCIA: What are your plans for the future?
Right now, we will start distributing my new feature length documentary about the Swiss schools system. It would be great to reach a global audience. The link for the trailer can be seen here: https://vimeo.com/618802060
After that, I will try to sell my feature length screenplay to one of the local directors. It’s the story of a Bolivian cleaning lady living in Switzerland, who tries to start her own restaurant.
Interview by 24/7 Valencia team
Article copyright ’24/7 Valencia’
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