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17th ÉCU
The European Independent Film Festival 2022 

8th - 10th April 2022 
Interview

Daniel Rodríguez Risco 
STARCHED COLLARS

Section: Non-European Dramatic Short
ecufilmfestival.com

In the square and tidy universe of an unconventional family, Mother is the guardian of order and Junior the distorting agent. A house where everything that doesn’t fit, goes to waste.

 

Hey Daniel, thank you for talking to The New Current, how have you been holding up during these very strange times?

 

Hi! Thank you for the interview. I think the pandemic and the isolation, terrible as they were, changed my creative process. I became more artistically introspective, which can be at the same time enriching and painful.

 

Has this time offered you any new creative inspiration or opportunities?

 

Talking to fellow artists, who experienced something similar, we came to the conclusion that prioritising personal issues might be related to the proximity to death due to Covid-19.

 

Congratulations on having Starched Collars part of the 17th ÉCU Film Festival, what does it mean to you to be screening your film in Paris?

 

I’m more than happy with the opportunity that the ÉCU Film Festival has given my team and myself of screening our film in Paris and in such a prestigious festival.

 

At the moment, we are two weeks away from starting to shoot a new film with the same team that made the short, so we had the opportunity to give ourselves a celebratory hug.

 

Can you tell me how Starched Collars came about, what was the inspiration behind your screenplay?

 

The idea of the short came from my childhood memory of the toxic relationship between my mother and one of my siblings. This remembrance presented itself to me in a dreamlike way, through symbolic images, such as the starched collars worn by the characters and the gigantic puzzle. It was like daydreaming, and since my dreams usually come in black and white, that’s how I decided to shoot it.

 

When working on a film like this how close are you able to keep to your script once you start filming, do you allow yourself and you cast much flexibility?

 

Due to the nature of the short, which is about a mother that is the Guardian of Order, and her youngest son, the Distorting Agent, I decided that the rigidity of the mother should be embedded in the visual fabric of the film. I was fortunate to have a cast and crew who, with their extraordinary talent, turned these limitations into creative opportunities.

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"I think that my main evolution as a writer and filmmaker, apart from watching and studying many films and reading many books of cinema, has been to understand that you have to be honest with yourself."

What has been the biggest challenge you've faced bringing Starched Collars to life and looking back is there anything you would have done differently on this film?

 

The main challenge, outside of filming during the pandemic, was the guilt I felt for dealing with such a sensitive family issue knowing that I was going to end up exposing it publicly.

 

Now that the short has already been premiered, I feel more at ease because the viewers see it as an artistic work, unlike when I showed it to my family, where I got mixed reviews, haha.

 

Looking back, I wouldn’t change a thing.

 

Where did you passion for filmmaking come from?

 

It's a funny story, but my mom and dad used to argue a lot when I was a kid. So my dad, to lower the tension, went to the movies late at night. To prevent my mom of getting suspicious, he would take me with him in my PJ’s. I was 9 at the time, so those trips felt like the greatest adventure in the world. I think that was when my love for cinema was born.

 

How much has your approach to writing and directing evolved since your debut film?

 

I think the most important thing when making a movie is to follow your intuition and show vulnerability without the fear of being judged. I think that my main evolution as a writer and filmmaker, apart from watching and studying many films and reading many books of cinema, has been to understand that you have to be honest with yourself.

 

Do you think filmmakers should continue to push the boundaries of the stories they want to tell?

 

Of course! It’s amazing to see how the new generation of filmmakers expand the boundaries of the stories they tell each and every day.

 

For anyone out there thinking about getting into filmmaking do you have any tips or advice you would offer them? 

 

Only two things: first, be true to yourself and, second, filmmaking is not for the lazy. You have to be unrelenting.

 

And finally, what do you hope people will take away from Starched Collars?

 

I would love for people to connect emotionally to the film.