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SxSW 2017 Interview: THE CLOUD FOREST director Monica Alvarez Franco

by Jason Whyte

"THE CLOUD FOREST portrays the life of a community dedicated to defend and take care of one of the most scarce ecosystems in the world. Beside caring for the environment, this community proposes to break with the established system, trying to redesign its life, culture, education and the way they interact in order to live a more simple and equal life." Director Monica Alvarez Franco on THE CLOUD FOREST which screens at the 2017 South By Southwest Conference.

Congratulations on your film playing in Austin at SxSW this year! Is your first time here and are you planning to attend your screenings?

This is my first time at SXSW and THE CLOUD FOREST'S international premiere. I will be attending the first two screenings of the movie and I am very excited about it.

How did you get started as a filmmaker?

I studied filmmaking and did a masters in documentary cinema and since then I have focused on documentary films. I have taken part on several projects produced in Mexico and Spain, some of them were my own projects. THE CLOUD FOREST is my first feature film.

How did THE CLOUD FOREST come together for you?

While dealing with this world crisis we are all going through I gave birth to my daughter. This event made me question the world I was bringing her into, and that is the reason I approached the Cloud Forest and Las Canadas community. It was a personal search of the best way to raise my daughter, while learning from the people who fight for change, changes that break rules and show us an even more human side of humanity.

What keeps you going while making a movie? What drives you?

I like to sleep a lot, so let us say that caffeine runs in my veins when I am working.

What was the most rewarding part of making the film for you?

My biggest challenge has been at the same time the most satisfying experience. I got to experience maternity at the same time I was working on this project. My daughter was part of the crew since she was three months old. Her relationship with the team and the characters turned into something very familiar. Neither of us will never forget this experience but personally it was a test to my temper.

Tell me about the the visual design of the movie and the film’s cinematography.

I shot the most intimate part of the film with a 5D without any crew. Although most of the final cut shown was shot with a Sony F3 by Luis Montalvo, Carlos Rossini and Marc Bellever. I tried to unify the style regarding photography and narrative, but each one of them brings a personal point of view which, in my opinion, make the film grow even more.

After the film screens at SxSW, where is the film going to show next?

We will go on with the film festivals circuit. For now it will be screening at Ambulante in Mexico and Doclands in California while we wait for news from other festivals in America and around the world.

If you could show your movie in any theater outside of Austin, where would you screen it and why?

I think that THE CLOUD FOREST proposes to empathize with the audience, subtly exposing some questions the majority of people face. Under this statement I consider the film can be welcomed in different exhibition spaces, not only the regular circuits but also places where they put focus on global conscience and environment.

What would you say to someone who was being disruptive, like talking and texting, through a movie?

Nothing. Everyone lives an experience from a very personal context, and I believe that is the most interesting point of the show. Personally I like to give each piece of art its place, regardless the discipline. I like to invite myself to understand what the artist is proposing. At the end of the day there is a great effort behind a piece of art and we, as an audience, sometimes take for granted. Although sometimes it seems we lose precious minutes of our lives thinking about the meaning of art.

We have a lot of readers on our site looking to make movies or get into the industry somehow. What is the ONE THING you would say to someone who is wanting to get into the filmmaking business?

I have always thought that this industry is for the brave ones, right or wrong, we must dare always.

And finally, what is the greatest movie you have ever seen at a film festival?

it is difficult to name just one movie, there are a great deal of independent movies rolling around the world, but I will tell you the one that blew my mind lately and that was RESTER VERTICAL by Alain Guiraudie.

Alamo Ritz 2 on Sunday, March 12 from 1:15 PM
Alamo Lamar C on Tuesday, March 14 from 11:30 AM
Alamo Lamar C on Wednesday, March 15 from 6:45 PM

Follow THE CLOUD FOREST online on Facebook!

We hope you enjoyed this SxSW filmmaker interview as part of our coverage of SxSW 2017. To see the entire series click on the Live Report sidebar on your right. We will have interviews posted all throughout the festival so be sure to visit us often for more coverage!

This is one of the many films screening at the 2017 SXSW in Austin, Texas taking place March 10-18. For more information on this film screening times, point your browser to or use the SxSW GO App for Android and iOS.

Jason Whyte,
Twitter: @jasonwhyte / Facebook: jasonwhyte / Instagram: jason.whyte

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originally posted: 03/09/17 01:49:23
last updated: 03/09/17 01:51:38
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