HFF 2015 Interview: The Runner Director/Writer José Luis Montesinos and Actor Lluís Altés

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Five years ago the boss closed the company and fired 300 workers. The first day he goes jogging, he comes across one of them. The Runner is a 2015 Heartland Film Festival Official Selection, Narrative Short.


We spoke with Director/Writer José Luis Montesinos and Actor Lluís Altés about their film:

HF: What is your film about, and how did the project come to be?

JLM: The film is about the concept of second chances. When you have lost everything, you deserve a second chance. This project was born talking with people that had lost everything with the crisis, and how they reinvented themselves for surviving. We collaborated with PIMEC Fundation getting these real stories that inspired the short film. This foundation has helped in Spain more than 700 self-employers to get another job and another laboral way to live.

LA: The short film The Runner is a fable that talks about this hard periode of crisis in which we are living. It’s about second chances and it’s also about people who learn from falling… This Project is now a reality thanks to a magnific team made by the best professionals in my country. Talented people with many interesting thinks to say to the world.

HF: What was your role in the production?

JLM: I’m the director of the short film.

LA: I am the co-leading actor. My name is Lluís Altés and the name of the other actor is Miguel Angel Jenner.

HF: Why did you submit to the Heartland Film Festival? Have you been to the Festival before?

JLM: No. It’s the first time. We are very excited with this official selection. The festival is very known in the international circuit, so also here in Spain.

HF: This year’s tagline is “Movies That Stay with You” –what last effect will your film have on moviegoers? 

JLM: I like this year’s tagline. I hope when the screening is finished, the moviegoers think about who really deserves a second chance, about how bad is the good guy and how good is the bad one. I think this could be the story of anybody in the screening room.

LA: The sensation that everything is possible. Why not? And the sensation that even losing, you always learn something for life.

HF: What has inspired you to become a filmmaker?

JLM: Since I was young always wanted to share stories or tales. My parents took me to a karate academy when i was 10 years old (karate kid boom)… It was near from a cinema. I always arrived in front of the two doors and decided to enter in the funny option… I’m still white-belt.

HF: What is something that you know about filmmaking now, but you weren’t told when you started your career?

JLM: The most important is to write a good script, then search a good team, if they know more than you about cinema… Much better.

HF: What are some of your favorite movies? What’s your favorite worst movie (you know it’s bad, but still love it)?

JLM: Difficult question… I can talk for hours about directors like Spielberg, Kubrick, Scorsese, Brian de Palma,… And a long etc. One of my favourite movies… Goodfellas, for example. One of my worst… R.O.T.O.R.

LA: My favourite movies are, for example: Reservoir Dogs (Quentin Tarantino), Fargo (Coen), The Planet of the Apes (Schaffner) or Casablanca (Curtiz). My favorite worst movies…, it’s very difficult to answer.

HF: How many film festivals has your film been a part of? What do you like the most about the festival experience?

JLM: We have been selected in more than 70 Festivals all around the world. We have visted Montreal Film Festival, Clermont Ferrand, Sydney, Palm Springs, Seoul, Trieste, Huesca, Madrid, Barcelona, …  I like to show our work in so different countries and watch the reactions of the people in the screenings… It’s beauty when you film a story and a lot of different people get involved.

LA: I always really appreciate the answer of the audience. I think that the real clue of what we do, is in the answer of the audiende and on their expressions and comments.

HF: Heartland Film Festival moviegoers love filmmaker Q&As. Let’s say a Festival attendee wants to earn some brownie points—what is a question that you’d love to answer, but haven’t yet been asked?

JLM: The question: “What do you think about the American Dream?”

LA:  The question would be: as an actor, everything you do is true or false? And the answer would be: in cinema, everything is false, excepting the moment that goes from “action!” to “cut!”


 See The Runner in Shorts Program 3: Lean on Me

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