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May 24, 2006 7:53 AM
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CANNES L'ATELIER '06 INTERVIEW: Santiago Palavecino: "The idea for this film was born during a time

A scene from Santiago Palavecino's feature film project "Tarde." Photo courtesy of L'atelier du Festival.

Every day through the end of the 2006 Festival de Cannes, including weekends, indieWIRE will be publishing interviews with filmmakers participating in the L'Atelier du Festival, which according to Cannes, "was created in 2005 to reveal a new generation of filmmakers through the world, whose works, still at the project stage, might one day be honoured by being selected for the Cannes Film Festival." Eighteen filmmakers were given the opportunity to participate in an e-mail interview, and each was sent the same questions.

Director Santiago Palavecino is at L'Atelier with his feature film project, "Tarde," a story set in Buenos Aires about a teenager who borrows his father's car and gets into an accident. While he is on the verge of death, the film unfolds to show how the accident will influence a number of lives.

Please tell us about yourself and your background, including where you were born and grew up, as well as how you became a filmmaker.

I was born 31 years ago in Chacabuco, a small town 200 kilometers from Buenos Aires. I moved to Buenos Aires when I was 18 and have been living there ever since. When I was a child I always thought I would be a musician and I studied music for as long as I could remember. But when I finally moved to Buenos Aires it was to study film, although I ended up earning a degree in literature from the University of Buenos Aires. While my passion for film was born in my early adolescence, it was solidified during my time studying at a film school and making a number of short films. But I feel like I truly became a director recently, in 2002, when I filmed my first feature length film, "Otra Vuelta" ("Another Turn").

Please tell us about your previous work and other creative projects.

"Otra Vuelta" was filmed in 2002, during the famous Argentine economic crisis, with an extremely limited budget and using truly artisanal methods. It was very much an independent film and made freely without any commercial pretensions whatsoever. Despite this, it did get into a number of festivals (Buenos Aires, San Sebastian, Montreal, and Toulouse) and when it opened in Buenos Aires it was received very well, in spite of its being shown on a limited number of screens. But since it doesn't have any international distribution or budget, the existence of "Otra Vuelta" is still practically speaking a secret.

Please tell us about your new project. What is it about and what inspired you to pursue this new project?

I won't go into great detail about the story of "Tarde" ("Late") because you surely know the Livre de projets (projects catalogue) of the Atelier. I will simply note that the idea for this film was born during a time of extreme, personal pessimism in my life, and it took shape from a number of things that I began to become aware of in Argentine society, particularly small town society: the risk of an imminent energy crisis and profound cultural changes (a generation of adolescents becoming prematurely jaded due to the crisis, while the adults of my generation continuing in a kind of never-ending adolescence). Also, there are a number of more intimate obsessions: the mysteries of paternity and identity, the passing of time (in this case a number of hours) and the way in which sickness and death create less change in those who suffer from them than in those who are near them.

"Tarde" director Santiago Palavecino. Photo courtesy of the filmmaker.

What do you hope to accomplish for the project while you are in Cannes? What are your specific needs to continue developing your new project?

I don't know very well what it is that I hope to accomplish at the festival; perhaps a producer could better answer this question. But I can say that I do hope for everything that can help the film to be shot and completed in a reasonable manner, and then have the opportunity to reach its public. On a personal level, being here is an enormous satisfaction: the script for "Tarde" was developed in the Cannes Film Festival Residence, and the fact that they have selected it for the Atelier means, among other things, that they do not regret the decision they made to support me in 2005.

What are some of your favourite movies and influences, including other films and filmmakers, as well as other creative influences? Which films are you most interested in seeing at this year's Festival?

I am not sure who my influences are, but I can say that I love Godard, Bresson, Antonioni, Tarkovsky, and Hitchcock. Among more or less recent films that have had an impact on me I would name the films of Bruno Dumont, Gus van Sant's "Elephant," and Philippe Garrel's "Les Amants Reguliers." And during this festival I am hoping to see too many films! Not to be missed: Dumont's newest film, of course, Pedro Costa's film, and Nuri Bige Ceylan's.

[Get the latest from the Festival de Cannes throughout the day in indieWIRE's special Cannes '06 section.]

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