What inspired you to come up with the idea for the film?
Ana Sofia Clerici wrote the story, it was her idea, she pitched it to me in 2006 (the same year as our lead actor was born) and I loved the idea. It took 8 years to finance our project, which gave Ana Sofia the opportunity to write 16 drafts. She’s not just my creative partner, she’s my partner in life and knows me better than anybody. So she “tailor made” the script for me to direct, in the way I wanted to tell the story. She had the patience and stamina to satisfy my needs as a storyteller without sacrificing hers.
How do you relate to your characters or subjects?
They’re like family to me, I love them despite their flaws, I try to understand them, the way they think. Their choices, good or bad, need to make sense to me.
What aspect of the story changed the most during writing and production?
Once we had the a final draft, very little changed during production. It was a very controlled and designed film. But once I got to the editing room I felt there was a lot going on in the second act, so we had to trim the film a little bit to speed up the story and get to the climax earlier.
What influenced the visual style of your film?
Wes Anderson is a personal hero of mine. His movies, especially his visual style, were a great influence on El Jeremías. In a smaller way, so did the work of the Coen brothers, Sydney Lumet, Stanley Kubrick and Quentin Tarantino.
What was the most courageous decision you or your crew made during writing and production?
Two weeks before shooting, I had a feeling that I made the wrong casting choice for Onesimo (Jeremy’s father) and I wasn’t satisfied with my rehearsals with the actor. It was one of the most difficult decisions I made but I knew I had to let him go. Then I called Paulo Galindo and offered him the part. I’m very proud of that last minute call, Paulo gave life to Onesimo like I always imagined him, even better.
Were there any risks that you faced during writing/production and how did you find a way to embrace them?
The greatest risk was working with an 8 year old boy, he´s in 99% of the film. He had to have the stamina and attitude of a professional actor, which he he did. I also worked with a great casting director, Natalia Beristain and a great acting coach, Paloma Arredondo, who´s specialized in working with kids. I’m very proud we found Martin Castro.
What risks does your story take?
It’s a mixed genre film, a dramatic comedy. The film is about tolerance and about the relation of happiness with acceptance. The risk was to approach strong dramatic issues, to criticize Mexican education, our society and make this film an “easy going” comedy as well.
How would you encourage others to tell their story or manage through the process of screen writing or film producing?
You need to find a story you love, set it in an environment you feel comfortable with so you can deal with it for a long period of time.
You need to believe in your film’s potential in order for it to happen.
Ready? Go for it!