Home > News > 10/25 (Mon) Competition Section "Primary!" Press Conference: Notes & Quotes
News Index back previous next
[Event Reports]
10/25 (Mon) Competition Section "Primary!" Press Conference: Notes & Quotes

10/25 (Mon) Competition Section "Primary!" Press Conference: Notes & Quotes

Date & Time October 25th (Monday), from 15:15 @Movie Café
Appearance: Francisco Alfonsín (actor/producer/co-writer), Dan Uneken (producer)

Here are some notes and quotes:

Dan Uneken (DU): We are extremely excited to be in the Tokyo International Film Festival this year. We are a very small and humble production company so it's exciting to be among so many big companies and great movies!
©2010 TIFF

Francisco Alfonsín (FA): It's an honor and privilege that a small idea coming from an art teacher/director decides to make a film about a primary school, and that that film is now in an international film festival. This is absolutely a dream!

©2010 TIFF

Q: Are the drawings here in this room the actual drawings used in the film?
FA: Yes, they are. As I said, it all started when Iván got a job as an art teacher at a school. After a year, he wanted to show the imagination and creativity of the children. Therefore, this film is almost like a documentary—everything in this film comes from Iván's experience. The drawings here are the actual drawings of the children who were in Iván's art class during that one year. The only thing we invented was to build a ‘journey' for the adults in the film in order to give a narrative to the story. In a sense, the adults are the frame and the children are the picture.

©2010 TIFF

Q: Was most of the acting done without a script?
FA: That's right. We didn't have a script written. Iván would say "action!" and then we'd spend 30-45 minutes just having a normal class as the cameras went around the room. We used 3 small cameras, Canon Mark II, so the kids weren't aware of the cameras. There weren't any lines to learn, marks on the floor to watch for, or any frame shots designed previously. It was all coming from improvisation.

Q: Why did you choose to focus on 7, 8 year olds out of all the grades in primary school?
FA: Very simple—those were the kids that Iván taught for a year so he already knew the kids very well!

©2010 TIFF

Q: How did you come up with the situations for each teacher in this film?
FA: Firstly, a lot was taken from Iván's experience such as the meeting every 3 months, the formal language, the conflicts between the teachers, and how teachers behave. Over the course of time, we then selected 3 different types of people: bitter, proactive, and a person not from the world of teachers.
Also, we tried to draw 3 different kinds of relationships between adults and children. The first was that Jose Maria's, son died, next was that one of the teachers was a mother of 4 children and got pregnant at the end of the film, and lastly was a mother with a teenage child going through adolescence.

Q: Did the children see you as an actor or as a teacher?
FA: The first time I met the kids was when we were shooting the film, which is the opening scene. This was when I had my first class with them. Since Iván was of course on site, the children projected his image onto me so they treated me more as an alter ego of Ivan rather than as an actor. Also, because of the relation and dynamics of the shooting,
there wasn't a proper acting structure. I was actually teaching and talking to them. So I think in the end the kids looked at me more like a teacher.

Q: You have previously made 2 movies with Ivan. What are these films about?
FA: Primary! is the end of a trilogy about childhood. The first film was about the period between adolescence and adulthood. Then, we made a second film about lack of communication between three generations; a 10-year old child, a father just released from prison, and the grandmother. These 2 movies being quite serious and deep, I think after a year of teaching kids, Iván wanted to do something lighter.
Since his debut in 2008, Noel's third film vividly portrays the charm and extraordinary creativity of schoolchildren, which he describes as the "Great Theater of Primary School!"


Film Information

previous next
KEIRIN.JPThe 23rd Tokyo International Film Festival will be held with funds provided by Japan Keirin Association.TIFF History
22nd Tokyo International Film Festival(2009)