Alexan, born and raised in Argentina, began his career as a producer with more than 10 short films such as La Donna and Pude ver un Puma which got nominated in The Cannes Film Festival. He also produced feature films such as Juana a las 12, Paula, Juan Meisen ha muerto and El Auge del Humano films that had global recognition and gave him the opportunity to attend San Sebastian Festival. After years of developing himself as a producer, he started his career as a director with the music video called Chicos, his first fashion oriented film Nadie hace el amor en soledad and short films titled: Cosmos, Total Destrucción and Fatal. Francisco is a young Director from Argentina. He started out his career studying Film Direction at FUC (Universidad del Cine). He debuted as a Director with his Short Film Inementis, winner as Best International Film at the Beijing Academy Film Festival. Nowadays, with one foot in the advertising market and the development of upcoming projects for film & digital platforms.
Thanks to technology, we are more and more connected, we get to know each other, interact, even fall in love through digital platforms. With a fashion film aesthetics and strong and cinematic visuals, this film portrays an intimate story of two characters in the constant search of new and more sensations, with whom many of us could identify. The aesthetic care is linked to the tendency of people in their attempt to reflect the best of their personality and making visible to the world how unique they are. We open up the idea to believe there is a digital and communicative revolution that may lead to a new variety of sensations.
Alexan Sarikamichian and Francisco de la Fuente put a lot into this project, they produced it all by themselves, totally independent, and not linked to any brand and/or production company. The music score is original as well, it was composed and recorded for this film specifically. Interview.
Let’s have your Director’s view about Senses, and how did you come up with this mixture between a Fashion Film and a Short Film?
AKS: Sensed represents for me a big bet as a director, because up to now, my previous projects have been portraying more playful and youthful scenarios, working mostly in exteriors and with natural light, and in this video I wanted to step up from that, and try something more complex and different, darker, playing with colours, with montage. Senses has a very unique and detailed cinematic work both in storytelling, cinematography and art direction. We deployed a very careful and elaborated production design, in the same way as a fashion film or advertising project, we were in every detail.
FF: Senses was born like that, like a hybrid between a fashion and a short film. I think our idea has always been to work from the fashion film as a genre: the overall feel of it, the characters, the music, the movement, everything was developed bearing in mind that aesthetic since we wanted to tell a story following that world’s guidelines. We wanted to create a story that couldn’t be told unless it was told like this.
What triggered you to tell this story?
FF: The undeniable and endless reproduction of feelings that social media put forward. Telling a love story in a virtual reality setting was the challenge we set ourselves to accomplish. We wanted to tell a story in an intense way, that’s why our visual proposal was born and developed that way.
AKS: I was looking forward to working together with Fran and insisted a lot in thinking about creative triggers. When we first came up with the storyline I knew it was going to be a big project, and even though it is an independent film, we put a lot of effort into it. We knew we wanted to tell a love story, but without any physical communication, thinking about the future and imagination. Two people that can connect through other senses, using technology in favour of love. We wanted to make a step forward and open the discussion about these ongoing debates in the digital era and Virtual Reality technologies.
In SENSES, there is a magnificent cinematography work. Did you get deeply involved in these aspects of the film?
FF: I’m fascinated by cinematography in general, and a lot of what’s in the final picture we worked it early on from the script together with the DOP. We wanted to create a very specific and accentuated look, and that required designing in detail each one of the scenes prior shooting. We have a wide colour palette, we worked a lot with contrast and depth of field, camera movements, and above all, what I think was one of our biggest successes, was finding the right locations! Ale has an important past as a producer, and I think that’s one of his best attributes today as a director. Throughout the whole project we complemented each other very well, contributing from what each of us knows better and is more passionate at, but also, we took a lot of risks, and we achieved many of them!
AKS: We knew since the beginning of the project, that the film was going to have a lot of colour, and that we were going to create scenes with a very specific hue and mood. The DOPs of Senses were Sebastian Ferrari and Dani Carrizo, and since we had a lot of Interior scenes, we worked to give a specific colour to each one of them. Shooting days were long since we had a lot of art and light setup.
How was SENSES financed?
AKS: Senses was funded by us, as Directors and Producers of the Film. This time, we did not count with an agency to finance the project, but we trusted in our own possibilities. When we first started I knew it was going to be a crazy risk, but I never doubted that eventually, we would pull it through. It was a real challenge to produce and direct such a demanding project. Working independently, I had to ask many favours, of friends and people that really supported and trusted on our plan. We had 6 shooting days, and important tech and crew deployment.
FF: Exactly, the film was financed with the hard work of all our cast & crew, favours and help from our friends and relatives. We wanted to tell this story one way or the other, so we designed our production scheme in that way.
By which aesthetics references were you inspired?
FF: Well, our objective was to work mostly on fashion/advertising – like scenes and settings. In that sense, we were inspired by many other young directors of music videos, Short Films like ours, and so on. Also, for me personally, Black Mirror is beyond any doubt a clear visual and narrative inspiration.
AKS: We wanted for the characters to feel real, that’s why we had to struggle so much at the casting stage. But eventually, we achieved a very faithful result of our initial brief, leaving anything of what we dreamed of behind. From picturing the perfect locations to actually getting them and overcoming ourselves, we were always very confident in our project and our work. I was mostly inspired by Fashion, I’m more attached to Fashion magazines and working on that kind of aesthetics.
Which is the objective of the video and its distribution?
AKS: We came to realise that we work very well as a team, complementing and understanding each other a lot. The video is designed for the Internet. Our goal is to achieve the highest number of online audience as possible. By combining some aspects of Fashion Films, and Cinematic fiction-storytelling, we believe in the possibility of applying to film festivals as well, besides the online distribution in media related to lifestyle, fashion, and technology.
FF: Totally, it was our first experiment working together, and I think the final product is impeccable, it’s not necessary to add any words. The video is born by and on the internet, and it mostly pointed at that audience, but as Ale says, having quite a cinematographic look & feel, we are also considering Film Festivals!
Title: SENSES Written, Directed and Produced by Fran De La Fuente & Alexan Sarikamichian
Starring: Victoria Bugallo & Guido Carminatti
Special Appearance: Draku Solalinde
Also Starring: Dery Altamira, Clara Lopez DOP: Sebastian Ferrari & Dani Carrizo
Color grade: Sebastian Ferrari & Dani Carrizo
Art & Stylist: BUNT by Johy Turek & Dani El Cabo
Makeup and Hair Style: Rocio Noelia Marrodan for JC Agency. Orginal
Music: Joaquin Bartolomé Otero Sojo
General Production: Alexan
Films Head of Production: Verónica Manfredi
Asist Producer: Francisco Funes Casting: Alexan Sarikamichian
Additional VR Content: Juan Falco Art Assistants: Valentin Gatica, Cacu Luppi