Earlier this year, the experimental documentary Living Stars premiered at the Sundance Film Festival to much fanfare. A fun peek into different people’s homes in Buenos Aires as they dance to well-known pop songs, the film is wonderfully infectious and ridiculously fun.
In case you missed it at Sundance, Remezcla has teamed up with Rooftop Films to bring Living Stars to New York. With a live music performance before the screening, we’ll be turning the pier in Kips Bay into a full on dance party.
Ahead of the screening, we got to sit down with Gastón Duprat, director of Living Stars. The Buenos Aires native shared how he ended up making films with his directing partner (almost by accident) and how they managed to make an experimental film that won’t bore you to death.
Where are you from?
What city do you call home?
When did you know you wanted to be a filmmaker?
I never made the decision to be a filmmaker, it just started happening little by little, without even meaning to. Together with Mariano we dedicated ourselves, almost twenty years ago, to making experimental videos and then television and soon after came the opportunity to make a film due to the fact that my brother Andres had written a script that we loved. Then came other films like El hombre de al lado (The Man Next Door) and Querida voy a comprar cigarrillos y vuelvo.
What’s a movie you are embarrassed to admit you really like?
I’m not embarrassed by them but I like films that obviously have nothing to do with my own style of filmmaking. For example, some of the recent ones are: Real Steel, Transformers 3, Iron Man 3 or Pacific Rim.
How did the idea of this film come to you?
It is based on a concept that we developed for a television program that I made with Mariano. It was called Television Abierta (Open Television). The idea was really innovative. It had direct on-screen participation from the audience, a sort of Youtube mixed with Facebook and Big Brother but done many years before any of them. Amongst those who called in to the program were people who wanted us to film them dancing.
How did you find the dancers?
We put out an open casting call, others had called in to the TV show and we contacted them again to participate in the film. The criteria we used to select the participants was diversity. We didn’t pay too much attention to our own personal preferences but rather to the degree of “realness” in each performance.
What sort of challenges did you face in making a film that doesn’t have a traditional narrative?
For us it’s easier to make films that are experimental in nature more so than traditional narratives since we have been experimenting with very free audiovisual forms for many years — it’s our language.
What do you hope to achieve with your film? What sort of impact do you think it will have?
I think the film achieves a very rich, idiosyncratic snapshot of Argentina. It provides a sharp, singular gaze on our way of life and aspirations, and it achieves that from a fresh, powerful and very entertaining place. Experimental cinema tends to be so severe, pompous and really boring. Luckily, that isn’t true in this case. The film has already started out really well with its premiere at Sundance and we’ve gotten requests from a lot of festivals and TV channels. It will premiere in Argentina at the end of 2014.
The outdoor screening of Living Stars on June 25, 2016 is free; make sure to RSVP via Rooftop Films to guarantee a ticket.
This interview was translated from Spanish by Jorge Bustos-Estefan.