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This Argentinian Actor-Turned-Director Lets His Characters Lead the Way

This Argentinian Actor-Turned-Director Lets His Characters Lead the Way

Argentinian director Leonardo Brzezicki gave up acting for filmmaking. And so far, the decision has paid off. His first feature “Noche” was commissioned by CPH:DOX and was nominated for the Tiger Award in Rotterdam International Film Festival and his short film “The Mad Half Hour” won this year’s “Best Short Film Award” in Berlinale. Indiewire recently caught up with him in Locarno, where he participated in the Filmmakers Academy, a program which focuses on emerging filmmakers from around the world.

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Brzezicki is currently developing the script of his second feature. The struggle to make a film in Argentina has only served to motivate Brzezicki more. He said he has had to work with small budgets and finance his projects with money earned from a variety of jobs.

The shift from actor to filmmaker came naturally for Brzezicki. “I was never really thinking of being an actor, I was more trying. But my real passion was to direct so though I did a North American film I realized I was not enjoying it at all, even with the excitement of getting a job really young and getting to be very well paid.”

He isn’t very interested in acting in his own films either. Referring to Louis CK, who writes, acts, directs and edits his show, Brzezicki said, “It’s very good that some people can do that, but for me it doesn’t work, I’m not good at multi-tasking. I realized I was more interested in filmmaking and I gave up acting, but in-between this process I got to do all kind of jobs. I lived in London for a while, I worked in a bar, I did marketing research… After some time I realized that the experience was over and I had this urge to return to Argentina and to make a film.”

His first feature, “Noche” was intended as a short film, but it became clear that the story needed more space to develop. “When we started, I saw the rhythm and I saw it was very slow,” he explained. “I had 40 minutes, but without really getting to the core of the story and that’s when I decided to go back and shoot more days.”

The feature is a beautifully shot in memoriam to a sound designer who is present in the film only through his recordings. Brzezicki teamed up with prominent sound designer Leandro de Laredo to add the final touches to the film. “In post-production, we created sounds that were not there in the first place, but the majority of the sound editing was already there, since I edited the image in the first place, so when I showed the material to Leandro, he was already enthusiastic,” explained Brzezicki.

Though he hasn’t yet received any financial help from the Argentinian Film Fund, Brzezicki avoids self-pity.

“You work with what you have and this is not the problem. It is how it is,” he said.

As for finding a place for himself within the Argentinian film establishment, Brzezicki isn’t too concerned about that at the moment. “I am in a place where I am more interested in the inside than in the social context,” he explained. “Of course, that being said, Argentina influences me unconsciously, but this is the way stories come up in me; from an image, a line, an emotion I want to explore. I can’t say where I can place myself in the Argentinian film world, I think I’m still a person living outside, I don’t know where I fit, it is too early for me.”

Though he already has one feature under his belt, Brzezicki feels that, in some ways, his second one will be like starting fresh. “The first one was not well structured or very strict, it was more like a puzzle and it developed day by day, in parts,” he said. “I feel now that I am learning a lot and also I try to write chronologically, and not to try to anticipate the story. I just follow the characters and see wherever they take me.”

He hopes that his second film will appeal to a broader audience. 

“In ‘Noche,’ I made a small cut of human nature and I focused on something. This film accomplishes some emotions, but it leaves so many other things aside, that you can’t feel the complete humanity of the characters,” he explained. “I think the most important thing is to generate that moment of real emotion. It is something that the audience can feel, which is that unnamable thing, so deep that you don’t know where it’s coming from, but it takes over your body and expresses all those contradictions in life.”

This article is part of a series written by members of the 2015 Locarno Critics Academy, organized by Indiewire, the Film Society of Lincoln Center and the Locarno Film Festival.

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