Video Chats: Paloma Zapata on "El Niño" by Buffetlibre ft. We Have Band
Posted by Doug Klinger on September 17, 2013 in Interviews
Shot in Barcelona, the video for "El Niño" by Buffetlibre ft. We Have Band features a man, played by Isak Férriz, who is frustrated with life. At the time of production, it turns out director Paloma Zapata was dealing with some frustrations of her own, and she was able to channel that energy into this project. The effects-heavy video features Isak rolling around in the sand and fighting with burning furniture, actions that Paloma acted out as well in order to convey her ideas. We talked to Paloma about the video, casting Isak, and the process behind the special effects.
Doug: Where did the idea for this video come from?
Paloma: When the Buffetlibre guys asked me to direct a video for the song "El Niño," they already had clear-cut ideas about what they wanted. They wanted to portray a deeply frustrated character’s internal struggle. This uneasiness, in the form of a natural phenomenon which the character must confront, materializes in the video clip when a young boy blows a toy windmill. The child represents his own conscience. I received this project at a time when I was going through my own personal or rather professional frustration. I had had problems with a previous project which left me feeling a little dejected. Therefore I started to write the script in this state of mind, and without realizing I started to identify with the main character... a whirlwind hurls him time and time again onto the floor and he has to get up again. This is how I felt and this is the idea that I wanted to convey - when adversities knock you down, you must get back up again and keep trying to achieve what you want. At the same time, I thought it interesting that the script did not just have one fixed meaning but that everyone can interpret it in their own way. Thus, there are lots of ideas that come and go during the course of the video: the search for lost childhood, how we ignite our own inner fires... and what we feel when we put them out.
Doug: There are a variety of effects used in the video, what portion of them were done practically?
Paloma: Almost all the effects were carried out during the filming. The truth is we were very lucky as we had a very professional FX technical team who had worked on films such as The Impossible and The Last Days. We used giant fans to generate the sand storm and ropes and harnesses to emphasize some of the main actor’s falls. The only effect that was produced post-production was the fire effect.
Doug: The role of the main character requires a lot from Isak Férriz - it's a pretty complicated role to play. What was the process of casting him for that part?
Paloma: The character that Isak plays is really very complicated - therefore we knew casting well was of the utmost importance. We needed someone capable of conveying emotions, carrying the weight of the story, and at the same time someone who was not scared to literally deal with natural elements. This means not only did he have to be a good actor but he also had to have good control of his own body. Isak is a well known face in Spain who you can regularly see in TV series, in films or at the theatre. He is an actor who has interpreted action roles; if we Google him, it is not difficult to find an image of him holding a pair of pistols or riding a horse. He is a guy with lots of energy so we contacted him directly. The first time I explained the idea to him I was almost completely sure that his answer was going to be no. His role required suffering innumerable falls, rolling about in the sand, throwing himself into water dressed in suit and shoes, not to mention that it would be a day filming on the beach in the height of summer. But his reply was: "I would love to roll around in the sand". Of course I thought he was being sarcastic. But no, his response was sincere, Isak loved rolling around in the sand and he loved the part.
Doug: Did you do anything as a director to help get that performance from him?
Paloma: My job in this video clip consisted of constantly talking to Isak and Denís (the boy), to communicate to them exactly what was expected of them. A lot of the time it was about explaining actions with my own movements. Therefore, both Iñaki Gorraiz (the cameraman) and I rolled around in the sand and got into the water with Isak.
Doug: What was the process of bringing all the furniture onto the beach? Did you have a large crew to help carry everything out? Did you guys have permits or did you just hope not to get caught with a living room on the sand?
Paloma: Of course, we had a permit to do it! We couldn’t risk losing all the work by being told to leave half way through filming. Luckily it’s quite easy to do almost anything in Barcelona, provided that you leave the place just as you found it. I am very fortunate to have such a fantastic team for the set decoration and props (Triquiñuelas Escénicas) two girls that can achieve anything! It was them alone with the help of the production team that took the entire set onto the beach.
buffetlibre, el nino, paloma zapata, video chats, we have band
Doug Klinger is the co-founder/content director of IMVDb and watches more music videos than anyone on earth. You can find him on twitter at @doug_klinger.
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