How did the idea for the film come about and evolve?
I had a very specific scene in my head: a melancholic girl inside a swimming pool. The story was developed from this specific image. Usually that’s the way I work. First comes an image, mood, song, or even an object and then I work the story around that element. But the cool part came after I finished the script. I had my story but now I wanted to mix that fiction with our outreach strategy. That’s when things got bigger, more complicated and more fun.
I created an outreach strategy with transmedia elements that allowed us to know more about our two main characters (played by Luz Casillas & Juan Pablo Campa) while promoting the short film. We shot small episodes of main events of their relationship that worked as teaser trailers.
For example, one episode is when he proposes to her, another one is about their first Valentine’s Day together, another one is about her bachelorette party,… Some of those episodes were interactive (through our Facebook & Twitter), were the audience/user could vote for the dress that our protagonist will wear in her bachelorette party. Also the guys that registered in our website could assist to the shoot of the bachelorette party (a real party). So this way we created an online-offline-online strategy that created a big buzz before the online release of the short film. DIVE’s story became an experience. Unfortunately, because of our very small budget, this strategy was only executed in Mexico.
Did the end result end up how you expected from the beginning or were there some tangent moments you incorporated into the film?
Well, let’s say that our outreach strategy ended up as I expected: positive numbers and reactions from our audiences, therefore a successful indie-digital project.
As for the short film… Yes it’s almost as I pictured it. I mean, I’m very happy about it but it never comes out 100% as you expected. This doesn’t mean that it’s bad. There are lots of situations and obstacles that will make it different. That’s the cool thing about filmmaking. It’s a process that is alive. Always. Always changing for good or bad.
In this case, Dive changed for good. We made the best of our most troubled situations and we took advantage of our most lucky ones. You just know that your film will change slightly or dramatically during the process. It’s the nature of the game. Always move forward. No matter what happens. Forward, there’s no other option. So Dive ended up being better than I expected.
How autobiographical is the film?
None. This time I wanted to shoot an entertaining story with a happy ending and very appealing images. So I didn’t incorporate any personal elements because I knew that if I did, it would just start becoming a more dramatic and slow-paced short film. Like my last film which has tons of autobiographical elements Happy Hour (See Related Content).
Were you behind the camera as well?
Yes. At first I asked my friend and experienced DP Cesar Echeverría to shoot it. But he got invited to a big production for a television series so I decided to step up and shoot it myself while directing it as well. I was pretty confident since I have been working with this kind of cameras (Canon 5D & 7D) for quite a while now. And since I was the editor as well, I specifically knew my needs as a DP and director. I have to thank my crew that made it easier for me during the shoot. They really worked their asses off.
What were the main challenges of the shoot?
Oh man… (laughs). The biggest challenges were the shooting schedule and the swimming pool location. We couldn’t lock down the house with the swimming pool until a couple of days before the shoot. There were a couple of weeks where the shooting schedule changed every single day. We were just waiting to lock down that very important location. It got crazy. And of course there were many issues and obstacles to deal with but as I said earlier, that’s the way it is. It doesn’t matter if you have a very low budget like ours or maybe you have millions. Just make it happen. No matter what. So you can open a very cold beer at the end of the day and say “Fuck yeah, we did it.”
What now for the film, will you be entering it into festivals?
No. Personally, I believe that festivals are a waste of time for short films. Feature length films yes, you should try to enter into the festivals circuit. But for short films… This always gets me into heavy discussions with other filmmakers. But I believe that if you want to show your work and what you are capable of as a filmmaker/artist (as I’m trying to) then you should take advantage of the digital world.
Internet it’s a great platform to show and distribute your work. I mean, you make films so people can watch them. This is my second short film that I released on the Internet and has been doing great, I meet new filmmakers that want to collaborate with me, I get great feedback from people who are currently working on commercials or feature films who started their career on the web… Traditional festivals take months in telling you if you entered the official selection, plus all the money you spend on fees, etc… Now, this is my personal opinion. But I would rather show my work and what I can offer as a filmmaker to 150,000 on Vimeo than just a small room with a big screen. Times have changed and I love being involved in it.
Are you already planning your next film?
Yes. This time I want to go back to drama. Slow paced like Happy Hour. The next film will explore the relationship between a father and his son who has never being able to ask his dad about the death of his mother. I hope to shoot it in Los Angeles this year.
Dir. Benjamin Villeda
Produced by Mariana San Esteban
Production co: Gigantic Films & MediaBrain
Produced by Kaleido Works.
Written and Directed by Benjamin Villeda.
Director of Photography, Don Frasco.