With a successful professional career, the Manresa-born director David Victori, won a competition organized by Youtube. The award was a sponsorship for the completion of a web series, produced by none others than actor Michael Fassbender and director Ridley Scott. Through Zero we are introduced to a world in which, suddenly, the Earth has lost gravity.
Zero has received the Best Cinematography Award as well as the Special Roma WebFest Award at the 32nd Edition of Cinema Jove.
David gave an exclusive interview to the Festival’s medium with further details on the shooting of this adventure.
What challenges does shooting 5-minute episodes entail as opposed to shooting a longer film?
It is true that Zero has that special format as a micro-series with very short episodes, and it was a huge challenge for me, especially prior [to shooting], as I had to check out other narrative models that had followed the format and study how to manage what is normally done through longer episodes. It was a huge preliminary study of how to manage, in the first episode, for example, that the time was enough to enter the characters’ space, enter the conflict and, upon closure, that the audience was hooked enough to want to keep advancing, to click on the following episode.
Do you think there is more freedom to work on the Internet than on TV or films?
It depends on the financing and the producers. My case is so unique that I don’t think it could become a model to any other, as I come from this competition and the producers that I had… The people from Scott Free, Ridleys’ production company have really supported me through the process, but always being very respectful with the idea that I had been the one to win the award and things should be done my way.
You wrote and directed the series; how did you come up with the idea?
To tell the truth, I came up with it some days prior to knowing I was one of the finalists of the Youtube competition, while having dinner with a friend, completely randomly, when talking about science, the universe, etc. He’s a friend with whom I have these types of conversations too often (laughs). He was trying to translate to me his fascination with gravity from the point of view that it’s something we take for granted, nobody thinks about it, and it is there every day, constantly, and regulates the laws of the universe. We were joking about it and suddenly I thought – what if it stops working one day? It’s obviously impossible, but this idea linked with the feeling of impossibility we have when someone dies suddenly. These two ideas joined in my head and I thought that it would be a beautiful way to explore the world, loss and mourning.
You’ve already mentioned the project is born from a competition. We would like to know a bit more of Michael Fassbender’s and Ridley Scott’s roles in this story.
Well, Youtube organized a world-wide competition in 2012 where you could submit a short-film from anywhere. Normally at festivals you can present the short-films you’ve filmed in the last year. In this case, Youtube opened the call to gather all the short-films that had been produced in the last five or ten years. So, all the short-filmmakers of the world sent their work. At that point, I was finishing my festival tour with La Culpa, and we decided to send it to this competition. We sent it with no ambitions, because, well, it seemed pretty impossible to win. There was a first selection process. The ten most voted videos of the world through Youtube would pass to the second round. I did a small communication campaign to make my short-film known, to give it visibility. The surprise was that we made it to the finals. The competition organizers took us to the Venice Festival and there we had to present what we would film if we won. And that’s what we did. We worked on a presentation to show to the jury and were lucky and fortunate enough that, by chance, we won.
We’re speaking about world-known Michael Fassbender and Ridley Scott. How was collaborating with them and what did they tell you when the project was finished?
Let’s see, Michael Fassbender and Ridley Scott have been our godfathers. They have obviously not been there through the daily process; the ones involved in the daily process were Ridley Scott’s production company. Working with them has been wonderful. It has been a thrilling professional experience. To see how they work and to work side-by-side with them. They have really taken the project to a different level. I had the opportunity to interact with Fassbender a bit more. We had a work meeting in Los Angeles, previous to the filming. After the series was finished we spoke through chats. He says he really liked it. With Ridley I’ve never had a chance to share some sitting down time – which is the greatest shame of the project. But he did sent us editing notes, he followed the project and he let me know that he had really enjoyed it. Nonetheless, the growth and experience have been awesome, especially because his London team is spectacular.
A different working level.
Yes, of course. Every producer is a world in itself and very different. But yes, for me it has been a great experience, especially in the editing and writing processes; how they follow-up and how they worked with me has been a very good experience.
The series is a science-fiction story with a lot of special effects. Does digital technology favor these types of stories online?
Yes, the truth is that the affordable tools we have right now, the type of work that many freelancers are able to do in the world of visual effects, were absolutely unfathomable years ago without having to spend millions of dollars in production. These new possibilities awaken the imagination and, somehow, it seems as if anything you can imagine can become possible with a certain amount of money. And if you have no money, [you can achieve this] through patience and time. There are no excuses left.
How do you see the future of fiction on the Internet? It seems to be in fashion now, but it is difficult to know its boundaries or limits.
Of course, there are many issues. It ends up being that the great change is that you can do very professional productions with very little money. This is already a big revolution. That there is a dude in his house that has produced a movie on his own at a completely professional level. This will start appearing. Youtube has become the largest movie theatre in the world, the film theatre that fits the largest amount of people in the world. With anything posted on your Youtube channel, the world is the limit. This will allow people, who years ago it would’ve been impossible to contact, to have an opportunity to, somehow, present themselves to the world.
Your work tends towards science-fiction. What seduces you of this genre?
Well, what most seduces me of the genre is that it gives you the opportunity to have something extraordinary happen in daily life. In my opinion, this is its greatest strength: how something that could happen tomorrow pushes you to reassess your own boundaries and overcome your limitations as a human. This is perhaps what is most important for me in science-fiction, how through this genre you can build situations and moments where there are moral dilemmas and issues that would’ve been impossible to reach through a more realistic story-telling.
After this project you went to work at some of the episodes of Pulsaciones (a Spanish TV show produced by Emilio Aragón). How was the change? How was your experience on TV?
It went really well. Pulsaciones was a very special project and when they proposed to participate I didn’t hesitate, as I found it very appealing: the screen-writing, the story it was about… it was the genre that I am interested in and already counted on good actors involved when they proposed me to take a place in the project. It was a truly great experience. A very big learning experience. And it has been a luxury to work with the actors and professionals with whom I have shared this journey, really.
You have some feature film projects lined up. Give us some previews.
Yes, we are working on starting my first feature film very soon. I can’t tell you too much, because what is on the website is a bit confusing… We are sort of waiting to explain what we have proposed at a time soon, I’m expecting it to be shortly. But I can let you know that it is a science fiction feature film about a supernatural event that took place in Spain.