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Interview with Director Producer Juan Garrafa for Debut Shortfilm "NORA" (2022)

Interview with Director Producer Juan Garrafa for Debut Shortfilm "NORA" (2022)

Mexican filmmaker Juan Garrafa’s debut short film “NORA” (2022) is a Sci-Fi story set in a world where women are becoming extinct; “Nora” could be the last. Written by screenwriters Brenda Medina and Samuel Sanchéz Tual, produced and directed by Juan Garrafa and starring Jime Ferrari, Diego Garza and Tavo del Valle, the film won the Best Sci-Fi and Audience Awards at the French Riviera Film Festival.

In a recent interview with Garrafa, here is what he had to say:

 

Have you always known you want to be a filmmaker? How did you go about becoming one?

JUAN: Since I was a child, I have had a fascination for photography, and with it, I have already created frame-like sequences where I narrated a story I had invented. My paternal grandparents lived in the mountains in the Sierra in Nayarit, and every vacation was a road trip from the south in Tabasco through the Mexican country. While I grew up, the camera was still with me, and I had many cameras until my father gave me my first video camera. It was great that I visualized myself in the world of cinema and the art of storytelling. Years later, I went to live in Madrid, where I studied specifically in Film Production Design and a master's degree in Digital Animation. I took courses in France and at film schools in Mexico. My short film debut “NORA” has indicated that I feel on the right path in cinematography.

 

What are some of the films that have inspired you most?

JUAN: I consider that French cinema with Truffaut and his film “The 400 Blows” fills me with curiosity and search for how it was made and leads me to have a contemplative look at the theme, the actors, the director, and the script. Stanley Kubrick with “2001: A Space Odyssey” leads me to admire the use of cinematographic language, just like Luc Besson with “The Fifth Element.” I like “Oslo, August 31st” by director Joachim Trier and “First Cow” by Kelly Reichardt, and I find them both inspiring. I had the opportunity to read the scripts before seeing both films, and it has been inspiring to see the transformation from paper to screen.

 

Can you tell us about your film “NORA” without exposing too much?

JUAN: “NORA,” as my first short film, I wanted to tell a science fiction story under the theme of a fictional world where women no longer exist. With the appearance and arrival of a mysterious woman.

 

What inspired you to make this film? 

JUAN: I like to combine film genres. I considered using science fiction with drama; likewise, in Mexico, the disappearance of women is a problem that has been increasing, and between the screenwriters Brenda Medina and Samuel Sanchéz Tual, we considered approaching this issue with respect and with a global approach.

 

This being your first film, was it difficult to get off the ground? 

JUAN: “NORA” was filmed in October 2022 in southern Mexico in Tabasco and Chiapas. Those times began the complications of COVID-19. I talked with the staff, the creative team, the technician, and the actors, and we took the risk of doing a shoot, thinking that the conditions were not optimal. It was even recorded with half our financial resources before the pandemic.

 

Is Sci-Fi your favorite genre?

JUAN: Sci-Fi is one of my genres where I feel comfortable, and it sparks my interest in telling stories.

 

Will you turn “NORA” into a feature? 

JUAN: This 2023 “NORA” begins pre-production and development. We are currently writing the script for the film. Since we made the short film, I thought it could be extended to a feature film.

 

Can you tell us one of the biggest challenges you've faced being a filmmaker?

JUAN: My challenges as a filmmaker are maintaining interior inspiration, being patient while seeking financing for my projects, and having the right people (creative people). 

 

You won the Best Sci-Fi and Audience Awards at the FRFF. What was that experience like?

JUAN: From the first moment I had the news of being selected for the FRFF, I did not hesitate to attend the Festival in France. I immediately confirmed my in person participation. The selection for me already represented a triumph. At the festival, I had a pleasant experience meeting the organizers, the atmosphere, and viewing the screenings in the official selection. When I knew that I had won the FRFF Best Sci-Fi and Audience Awards and received it from Nicole Muj, it made me feel happy for my whole team, the actors, and the people around the project; I was filled with emotion and knew we were on the right path.

 

What will you be working on next?

JUAN: We have finished filming a new fiction short film entitled "Cadillacs" that will begin its way to film festivals in 2023. We will also shoot the first feature film, "Manglar" and "NORA." 

 

Interview with Director Producer Juan Garrafa for Debut Shortfilm "NORA" (2022) Interview with Director Producer Juan Garrafa for Debut Shortfilm "NORA" (2022) Director/ Producer Juan Garrafa

Interview with Director Producer Juan Garrafa for Debut Shortfilm "NORA" (2022)

 

Interview by Vanessa McMahon

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