10th Ca' Foscari Short Film Festival
International Competition
Francisco Fernández Andrew
Sonreír | Smile
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The protagonist, Fabián Aguirre, is a professional killer, but also a comedy lover. Fabián is in charge of killing the man whom he has admired all his life: the “Cuquis”, the last great Mexican comedian, who is indebted to Fabián's boss, Gabino Mendoza. The protagonist will have a big dilemma, since his esteem and admiration for “Cuquis” are unbridgeable. It will be at this moment that Fabián will take the risk to make his dream come true.

Hi Francisco thank you for talking to TNC, how are you holding up during these very strange times?

Hello!  Sadly  my country keeps reporting  cases of Covid 19 , but I'm healthy, following health standards, hoping these terrible situation will end soon! 

Has this time offered you any creative inspiration?

The seed of creativity is always there. These times have served to water and cultivate that seed more than usual. The lockdown makes the mind ramble and in the midst of this,  big and beautiful ideas come. 

Congratulations on having Sonreír / Smile selected for this year's Ca' Foscari Short Film Festival, what does it mean to you to be part of such an amazing lineup of films?

it is an honour to be part of the festival, Venice is a beautiful city with a lot of history.The fact that  my short film is seen in such an important city fills me with pride. It's great to see so much great work from different parts of the world. Ⅰ also have to say that being part of an incredible selection of international shorts excites and moves me. 

Sonreír / Smile is in the International Competition, does this added any additional pressure on you?

You always have some pressure when participating in a festival.  We always want to respond positively to the public expectations, but I think the important thing is to enjoy the moment, meet other filmmakers and continue to create and inspire. 

Sonreír | Smile

"We have to  really think about why we want to be filmmakers, why we want to tell stories and why  we want to keep making films."

Can you tell me a little bit about Sonreír / Smile, how did this film come about?

SMILE  tells us the story of Fabian Aguirre, a hit man who decides to abandon his life of crime in order to follow his dream of being a comedian. Everything arose from the reality of my country, a wave of endless violence that has been following us for decades. I wanted to address this issue and  put my finger on the problem but in an entertaining way, that is why I added a  comedic  element, I want people to be entertained  and have fun but at the same time,  I want them to think about the reality that plagues our  country and land. 

What inspired the screenplay?. 

Really the inspiration came from several real stories I heard during my childhood. Bad people who wanted to given up their lives of violence to have normal lives, that echoed in me and I thought those were the stories that were worth telling. 

Looking back is there anything you would have done differently in this film?

I think it's common in the filmmaker to want to go back in time and do something different in their project. It's normal  to see  our mistakes and faults,  and ignore our little moments of success,  but after all, It was a transformative experience for me, so I don't think I  would really change anything. Making this film made me grow as a filmmaker and as an artist. 

Where did your passion for filmmaking come from?

From other filmmakers . For me the inspiration is always in my  role models. Martin Scorsese has always been a constant inspiration to me. 

But one also finds inspiration in literature and painting. Several compositions in the short film are inspired by Renaissance  artists like Michaelangelo or Caravaggio.  I think we always have  to be consuming all kind of  art, it is a primordial  part of inspiration and part of the creative process.

What has been some of the best advice you’ve been give? 

Someone told me once, ¨to just  be yourself¨  I think that has always been a constant in my life and in my job as a filmmaker. I think it is a pretty good advice for everyone, no matter what job or skill you have. 

Should filmmakers continue to push the boundaries of the films and stories they want to tell?

Absolutely, I think it's paramount to keep breaking moulds. That's what we need, fresh and original stories that inspire us to keep creating and keep making movies.

Do you have any tips or advice you would offer a fellow filmmaker?

I  think my advice would be to follow your instincts, be patient, and keep your mind and heart in the right place. We have to  really think about why we want to be filmmakers, why we want to tell stories and why  we want to keep making films. 

And finally, what do you hope people will take away from Sonreír / Smile

I want the audience can  understand the context in which we live. Somehow, I want you to know that we live in a perpetual wave of violence,  but there must always be a moment  to forget these  violent actions and thoughts and laugh a little, even at our own misfortunes.

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