15th BFI FUTURE FILM FESTIVAL 2022 
17-20 February 
Interview

Willy Suárez 
+1

Section: We Are Not Our Trauma 
willysuarez.com

A young man who is partying receives bad news on the phone.

 

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

 

At first it was complicated, one feels self-conscious. However, I feel very strong, eager to create and live. 

 

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

 

For me the pandemic has inspired me to carry out +1, which has made me known as a filmmaker putting me on the map. Getting millions of views on social networks and selections in several festivals.

 

You have had an incredible festival run with your award-winning short +1, did you imagine you would get this type of reaction to your film?

 

Not at all. It was a surprise for the team and for me. Our intention was simply to tell a story. But cinema has the strength to reach millions of people and +1 has confirmed it to me. 

 

What does it mean to be screening +1 at the 15th BFI Future Film Festival?

 

It means a wonderful opportunity to cross the ocean and reach a different and new audience. In addition, I have always wanted to visit England, now my short has come before me...

 

+1 is going to be in the We Are Not Our Trauma Section of the festival, will there be any nerves ahead of the festival?

 

Obviously, although it makes me more nervous the fact that it is exposed and liked by the public. 

 

Can you tell me a little bit about how +1 came about, what was the inspiration behind your film and what was the message you wanted to convey with this short?

 

I am from the Canary Islands and sooner or later I will leave the archipelago. I've always been afraid of getting a call from my mom telling me that my grandmother is going to die and not be able to be there. I've used that pandemic-set fear to +1. 

The message I wanted to convey is that actions have consequences. Also call for individual responsibility regarding the global pandemic.

 

When working on a short film like this how flexible do you allow yourself with your screenplay?

 

I particularly like to leave a certain freedom to the actor. Certain silences, even the beginning of the +1 short is improvised. But I also think it is key to follow a guide and directions to get the message across. 

"Don't be afraid to face a shoot. And that to tell good stories you don't need a great team behind it but something to tell the world."

corto-covid-U04216821401vLC-1200x630_abc.png

What has been the biggest challenge you've faced bringing +1 to life?

 

Interestingly, +1 has been the short that has generated the least problem on set. It is a simple short that we did not take long to shoot.  Perhaps the most complicated thing was to pretend that there were more people behind the scenes than there really were. That is why we generate a lot of movement from the extras. 

 

Where did your passion for filmmaking come from?

 

Since I was a child I have had the idea of trying to "Change the World". When you become an adult you realize that it is a utopian idea. However, cinema has shown me that it is an art with a lot of strength to reach the public and contribute your grain of sand.

 

How much has your approach to your films changed since your debut short?

 

I think the stories are maturing. The conflicts that are narrated grow with me along with my vision of life. 

 

Do you think filmmakers should continue to push the boundaries of the stories they want to tell and what would you say has been the most important lesson you have taken away from making +1?

 

Boundaries are necessary and I think we need to explore them. I think it's the best way to get to know ourselves as artists and for the public to know how far we can go.

 

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

 

Maybe it's a bit typical, but I would tell them to record a lot. Don't be afraid to face a shoot. And that to tell good stories you don't need a great team behind it but something to tell the world.

 

And finally, what do you hope people will take away from +1?

 

Let people be aware of their individual responsibility. Also that you remember your most vulnerable loved ones and take care of them.