14th BFI FUTURE FILM FESTIVAL, 2021
"DON'T STOP BECAUSE OF YOU LACK OF EXPERIENCE BECAUSE YOU ARE GOING TO EARN THAT EXPERIENCE BY DOING JUST THAT."
Instructions to Let Go [Instrucciones Para Soltar]
Section: BROKEN HEARTS
Daphne and Mafer meet at a hotel. The two women find something in common that connects them in a way that would be impossible with someone they know well. The resulting moments of honesty in ordinary situations allow the characters to be truly themselves, without preconceived expectations to meet, but makes letting go of the freedom extra painful.
Hi Gustavo thank you for talking to TNC, how have you been holding up during these very strange times?
I’ve been very good, thank you. I think I'm getting used to it haha
Has this time offered you any new creative inspiration?
Yes! I think so. I think that this strange times helped me to take a pause of the busy life I was used to. Now, I give myself more time to think and to observe, and I think this has helped me in my creative process.
Congratulations on having Instructions to Let Go selected for the BFI Future Film Festival, what does it mean to you to be part of Broken Hearts section?
It means a lot to me. The short film was the final project of my Cinematography course when I was in uni here in Mexico, so I never thought it would go that far, and also to be part of a film festival organized by BFI is like a dream come true.
Can you tell me a little bit about Instructions to Let Go, how did this film come about?
I was enrolled in my last year at university and our last project was to make a short film with my classmates. At the end of the semester I couldn’t collaborate with my team, so the only option was to do it myself so I called some friends to help me. At that time, I was struggling with my feelings and with an uncertain relationship, I decided to explore this feelings and express them in the film in an honest and visceral way.
What where the biggest challenges you faced brining this film to life?
There were many. I only had a week and a half to plan and shoot the movie, because I needed to send it in for developed, and then edit it to show it in a presentation in order to graduate. I didn’t have a script, I wrote an outline the night before and we improvise a lot. Also, I had just one film roll (11 minutes of footage) so there was no room for mistakes.
Looking back is there anything you would have done differently on this film?
I don’t think so. I mean, the film is not perfect, the shooting could have been better planned, some shots could have been more precise, the script could have been better worked, but in the end I think that this improvisation in all aspects gives it a more raw, more natural and very honest feeling, so I stay with that.
What has been the most valuable lesson you have taken away from making Instructions to Let Go?
When I shot Instructions to let go, I was finishing another short film called Let people exit before boarding that we shot some months before. The previous short film was bigger, we had more budget, a bigger crew and many locations, it was great, I learned a lot and it was an amazing experience, but sometimes when a lot of people depend on you it can be a little bit overwhelming. So, with Instructions I had the chance to feel more free, to explore and to experiment a little bit more, so I really appreciate that.
Have you always had a passion for filmmaking?
Since I was twelve or thirteen I realized I wanted to become a film director. There have been moments in which I have doubted, especially because making films in Mexico outside Mexico City is hard, but until now I have not given up and it is something that I enjoy a lot, so as long as I have the chance, I will continue doing it.
What has been some of the best advice you’ve been give?
One is: always be honest with your work, sometimes we want to do what other people is doing to fit in or to please somebody, but in the end we will not feel satisfied. When you're being honest, it shows in your work and it stands out, and you will be proud of what you did because you put all your heart into it.
Should filmmakers continue to push the boundaries of the films and stories they want to tell?
Yes, of course. There’s nothing more dangerous than clinging to conventions and rules. Of course, there is a lot of knowledge to learn from, how things have been done so far and why it works. But also, we always need to question everything, explore new structures and new ways of making films.
"Don’t stop because of your lack of experience because you are going to earn that experience by doing just that."
Do you have any tips or advice you would offer a fellow filmmaker?
Take inspiration from everywhere, not just from the movies, and put it into practice. Do not wait for the perfect conditions, that’s not going to happen. Don’t stop because of your lack of experience because you are going to earn that experience by doing just that. Make, make, make a lot, get together with your friends with the resources that you have and make movies from your deepest feelings and fears.
And finally, what do you hope people will take away from Instructions to Let Go?
I hope it makes them feel something, whatever it is, that the movie resonates with them. I feel like my work is done when someone connects on an emotional level and empathizes with the film.