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LFF 2015 Women Directors: Meet Paz Fábrega – ‘Viaje’

LFF 2015 Women Directors: Meet Paz Fábrega - 'Viaje'

Paz Fábrega is an award-winning director who has studied at the University of Costa Rica, the Colegio Universitario de Alajuela and the London Film School. Her filmography includes the short “Temporal” and the features “Cold Water of the Sea” and “Cuilos.” (Press materials)

Viaje” will premiere at the 2015 BFI London Film Festival on October 11.

W&H: Please give us your description of the film playing.

PF: “Viaje” is about Pedro and Luciana, who meet one night at a party and decide to go on a trip together to a volcano. They get to know each other by being together and very far away from everything else.

W&H: What drew you to this story?

PF: I’d been in long-distance relationships for a while, and that made me start to wonder about why we get into relationships and what defines them. The film is about the opposite kind of thing — it’s all about undefined, spontaneous encounters. Both kinds of relationships are in the film, but I ended up finding the second kind more interesting, so I guess that was my answer to my own question!

W&H: What was the biggest challenge in making the film?

PF: Finishing it. After we shot it, it took me three years to finish it. I think I had a lot of growing up to do in between, and I think it was ultimately good for the film that it stayed with me this long before coming out.

W&H: What do you want people to think about when they are leaving the theater?

PF: About simple, small things that make us feel alive. I think the film talks about an unattached, unassuming way of going through life, which, for me, at least, becomes more difficult to defend as you get older. I don’t think it has to do with age at all, but we are “allowed” to be this way when we’re young.

W&H: What advice do you have for other female directors?

PF: It’s hard! It took me a long time to believe how sexist the film industry is — it’s so outrageous that a lot of the time, you think it can’t possibly be happening. And that’s the most dangerous thing — because it can make you doubt yourself to a paralyzing degree or feel incredibly pressured to be better and do more than everyone else.

If you’re finding it difficult, it’s not you, you’re not making it up — we really are up against a lot. When something bothers you, say it, call it out. Maybe it’s happening to other people too.

Think of yourself, your life, beyond your career. It really is such a struggle you might end up sacrificing way too much and [get] exhausted. Work hard, but try to make it easier for yourself: Surround yourself with people that don’t make it extra difficult for you (which doesn’t necessarily just mean work with women, because some women are used to working only for men). And don’t forget to take breaks and do things you enjoy where you’re not having to fight so hard. Try to protect the sensitive, playful part of you through more personal film projects, other kinds of work or other parts of your life: It’s what makes things worth doing, and it can be very difficult to keep it alive when everything pushes you to be harder.

W&H: How did you get your film funded? Share some insights into how you got the film made.

PF: With my first film, I won the Rotterdam Film Festival, and I used the award money to buy a camera, lights, a sound recorder and a microphone. I found a few people who really wanted to make the film and could take a couple of weeks off work to shoot and saved some money for food and gas. Then, once I had a cut, I sent it to the work-in-progress competition of the Costa Rica Film Festival and had some help from my sales agent, Figa Films, to do the post.

W&H: Name your favorite woman-directed film and why.

PF: “Ratcatcher” by Lynne Ramsay. It’s beautiful and sad, and I always want to watch it again.

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