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Published on July 25th, 2014 | by Melody Cade


Roger Villarroya – Director, Writer

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By Melody Cade

Roger Villarroya is a Spanish director. His solo directorial debut was the short film Capicúa (Palindrome). It was an official selection in more than eighty festivals throughout the world and won awards in various countries after winning the Jury Grand Prize in the VIII Annual Jameson Notodofilmfest. In addition, the film aired on TV and was preselected for the Goya (Spanish Academy Awards) for Best Spanish Documentary Short.

Roger’s second film, Espectatores (Spectators), which also has a distinguished track record, having won awards in both the US and Europe was a documentary filmed in Peru with the support of the Spanish Red Cross.

Morales is Roger’s first narrative short film and it is currently showing in film festivals across the Globe with great success.

Currently he is working in Spain for his own film production company, Zum Pictures. He also works freelance as a director, writer and editor.

Q: Where did you go to school?

A: I studied at the ITES Audiovisual School of Barcelona for two years. That was the school that taught me the most about cinema and TV, and where I developed my passion for telling stories through sound and images.

Later, l was really curious about exploring the post production world. At IDEP Barcelona, I spent one year learning more about the strong influence that editing has in audiovisual expression. I really enjoyed spending one year discovering more about narrative and practical post production.

I complemented my studies by taking some private courses on post production software, as well as a filmmaking workshop at the New York Film Academy at Universal Studios in Los Angeles.

Q: Why was ITES your choice?

A: ITES is a great school. I learned the rules of how to make films, how to explain stories, and how to use audiovisual tools. I was fascinated by all the possible ways of transmitting feelings through that medium, and I discovered my future professional life while studying there.

After school, I started to work in TV and at production companies, but as soon as I started working on my first personal projects, I realized that I would need to break almost all of the rules that I learned in school in order to stand out in this industry. I started to discover my creativity as a result.

Q: Did you consider school in the U.S.?

A: Yes, I played with the idea some time after ITES, but unfortunately I didn’t have the finances to make it work. I was only able to attend a workshop in Los Angeles because it was part of a festival prize that I won in 2010 – a month-long scholarship to the New York Film Academy at Universal Studios. I would still like to study in the US, but every year it seems to become more difficult for me. I started my own production company in Spain a few years ago, so I need to be here now. Fighting to survive.

Q: Have you always wanted to be a director? Why?

A: Not always. When I was a kid, I wanted to be a soccer player, but after I broke some valuable crystal in my house, I realized that maybe soccer was not the best fit. I started to think about the possibility of working as a writer and director when I was studying.

Of course, before this, I enjoyed watching cinema a lot, and I think there was always some kind of creativity inside me that wanted to say something to the world. I like to tell stories, I like to transmit feelings, and I enjoy making films a lot. Actually, I love all kinds of artistic expression.

Q: What’s the film industry like in Spain?

A: The Spanish film industry is not doing well right now. Spanish filmmakers unfortunately need to find new ways to make films and other places to work… Although, I wouldn’t consider myself an insider of the Spanish film industry, because I funded my projects myself. I’m working on finding public and private funding for my upcoming projects, and maybe I will have a more clear point of view in a few years.

Based on the articles that I read and the opinions that I hear from others, I feel sad about some of the attitudes in our industry, but I would like to find solutions without depending on anyone else. Maybe we should stop blaming and start acting instead because if things don’t change, we need to move on by ourselves. There is a lot of talent and great ideas in Spanish cinema, so let’s try to make a strong industry with the possibilities that we have.

Q: How is it different from the film industry in the states?

A: Well, like I said, I’m not an expert about film industries because my film experience was always outside the mainstream, but as far as I can tell, these two industries are not comparable. The film industry in Spain does not exist like you understand it in states. The industry in states is almost all private, while in Spain it’s almost all financed by small public grants and some private contributions.

I wish we had a strong film industry in Spain like in the US, because we definitely have the tools. We have the weather, we have the equipment, and we have the talent. We just need to find a way without obstacles and with the understanding that it is an industry with a lot to take advantage of, just like any other industry.

Q: What kind of films would you like to see Spain produce? What is missing in their filmmaking?

A: I think there is good variety and good quality in Spain. The problem isn’t that there is a lack of range in Spanish films, but rather a lack of quantity. Of course, I would like to have some more big productions, such as action and adventure, but we also feel proud of films like, for example, ‘Lo impossible’. In my opinion, there is nothing that we should envy about what the American industry is producing, if we have the money to do the same. The problem is that we do one film like this a year, or even less. I love indie films too and we have good ones in Spain every year, but I would like to see more of everything. That will be the result of improving the film industry.

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