Shoot! director, Xavi Jose, talks about his short film Hands and his inspiration to become a film maker.
Given the PlayStation stimulus word Play, Xavi decided to film Hands - a shocking and gripping tale of two friends with a dangerous secret that threatens to tear them apart - on the streets of New York, with help from Montxo Armendáriz as Executive Producer.
Why did you want to become a director?
To become a storyteller, to express an idea and also because I think that cinema, in the directing area, is a place where you can say things you can't express with words. For me it is also really nice to become part of a crew. As a stills photographer or an artist you are with yourself and your demons, alone in a room and then you have to create. I think it is much more interesting to be in a crew and work with different people and arrive at the same point. The director is the person who has to decide, but at the same time it is good to have input from different people, work together, travel, and have this kind of gypsy life that I really like.
What are your major influences?
Mainly it comes from different points, it comes from the street. It's kind of a strange thing, normally when everyone tries to create an idea they sit in front of a computer or at home. Ideas come to me when I walk around, I see people and it inspires ideas, which I then write down. Also it comes from my travels, because I really like to travel, and I think it is a great idea to try and understand other cultures, and also, because I really like to read, it comes from books and poetry.
Looking to different directors I like David Lynch and Werner Herzog; more offbeat independent movies. Also, it comes from cinematography, so there is a lot of input from that side, and paintings also.
When I was a kid I wanted to become a painter, I always want to reach the highest levels, but I became a little frustrated when I realised I was not so good at drawing, so I tried to find another way to capture reality and then I began to learn photography.
So how did you become director?
I come from an anarchist family; my grandfather was in the civil war and was in jail. Afterwards, through a friend from the jail, he got involved as a projectionist. So when I was a kid, I grew up with him as a projectionist; also my father was going to the cinema quite often, so it was a family thing. Right from the beginning everyone wants to understand what is going to happen in a movie, once you've seen so many movies; it is like you know who the bad guy is, this movie is going to end like this, this movie is about this, or something. This has always been with me.
Also, when I realised painting was not my thing [laughs], I had to choose another thing and stills photography was one and I also had a band, had a lot of artistic friends, was in an artistic environment, and a friend of mine was studying direction and he asked me to help him out on a short film and I became interested in it.
What is your short film Hands about?
It's about two pickpockets who are sentimentally involved, they work together and right from the beginning of the short film you don't see that is happening. There are two persons, they walk, they meet each other, it seems more of an anagram, more like a rough story, but there comes a point when you realise they know each other, see all the things they have done and in the end they're like pickpockets.
Do you have any advice for anyone wanting to get into film making?
The main thing for me is that they have to be passionate. They have to love it. I think everyone has a romantic view about what it is like to work in cinema, it is really nice, but at the same time normally you have to sell yourself, you have to wait always for the next project; you never know when it is going to happen. Normally you're a freelancer, so you have to have this kind of spiritual outlook that everything is going to be alright, that you're not going to stress out, that you're going to make it, to keep going, to keep going and always believe in yourself. Be constant and try to meet as many people as you can as contacts are really important.
What is the most valuable thing you've learned as a director?
You begin with a project by yourself but by the end you're going to make it with a lot of people, so you have to think that everyone has the same importance and also you have to delegate. You have to know that you're working with an art director, cinematographer, scriptwriter, production, casting, catering or whatever, you have to delegate, you have to know that everyone will give you an input and you have to enable collaboration.
Download Hands, as well as interviews and a behind the scenes video by signing into PlayStation Store on your PlayStation 3 or PSP.