The Valdivia International Film Festival was my first festival experience. Kiltro, my debut full-length, was invited to the feature competition, and it was the first time I could speak directly with the audience, not only at the Q&A, but also on the streets, in bars, and at restaurants. I was impressed with how the city became immersed in cinema. I remember that time, I arrived in Valdivia with the idea of a superhero without superpowers, a kind of impoverished Batman, and, at a soda fountain, Rocco (the composer of my films) and I developed the story that would become Mirageman.
That week in Valdivia, I wrote most of the script. Maybe there is a mystical connection with what would happen a year later. In 2007, the premiere of Mirageman was possibly the most exhilarating moment of my career. The audience gave a standing ovation, with an applause that would not die down; Zaror broke in tears – I will never forget it.
After that, we were received with incredible warmth and with many expectations. I remember I felt the responsibility of not disappointing that cinephile audience I also felt a part of. With the premieres of Mandrill and Tráiganme la Cabeza de la Mujer Metralleta, I got the feeling that people were waiting to see what movie was I bringing now, and that sensation is one of the most gratifying things for a filmmaker.
My latest passage through Valdivia was with two movies: Redentor and Santiago Violenta (which had never screened before: it was its “world” premiere). I always dreamt of repeating what happened with Mirageman, and with Santiago Violenta something very similar happened. It had the best reception possible and took away the Audience Award.
The Festival has been a key instance to meet people that truly love cinema, meet colleagues, critics, producers, and distributors, learn about cinema, make friends and become inspired for new films. I am anxious to return with my next project.