Nicolás López Interview AFTERSHOCK

Nicolás López is a leading force in Chilean cinema. He started his own film festival, production company and has made several feature films. With AFTERSHOCK Mr. López has teamed up with Eli Roth and what is poised to be an excellent cinematic thrill ride. I had the opportunity to talk with Nicolás and learned among other things what the true power of cinema really is.

                                   Exclusive On Set Photo with Nicolás López and Eli Roth

You have been quite instrumental in the film scene in Chile with your production company Sobras making such films as Promedio Rojo, Santos, the Que pena trilogy and have worked extensively in the marketing of the films. What are some of the advantages of making films in Chile? What are some of the difficulties?

Making movies in any part of the world is hard. The good thing is that in Chile I have final cut and we have created a mini-studio system inside my company (Sobras International) where we can develop, fund, shoot and release a movie in less than a year. All of this is thanks to the economic recession. Let me explain, my first two movies, Promedio Rojo and Santos were co-productions with Spain (meaning, Spain paid most of the bills). Promedio was a hit, Santos was a flop. But both movies were expensive for latin america (Santos had a 6 million dollar budget). Then the economy went to hell and we had to figure out a new way of making movies. I directed my third movie with a crew of 10 and a budget of 200k, completely funded by product placement. The movie was shot with the Canon 7D but with the intention of making a movie that looked like a mainstream romantic comedy from the U.S. That's how Que pena tu vida (or Fuck My Life) was born and ended up being the highest grossing Chilean film of 2010 and inspired a trilogy (Fuck my wedding -2011- and Fuck my family -2012-). Most of the marketing that we did was internet based (we created contests and viral videos for twitter and Facebook). Que pena was a romantic comedy about love in the time of Facebook and it was release on the same weekend as The Social Network. We were number 1 at the box office.

You also created the Sobras film festival in Santiago. What kind of film festival is it? Can you tell me what type of films you programmed? What is the current status of the film festival?

We had a good time with that fest and the movies were really close to the Midnight Madness selection. We stopped doing it 5 years ago when we focused on only making movies. I also had a distribution company for a year where we released some Alex de la Iglesia's movies in Chile. I would love to do a new version of the Sobras Film Festival, with shorts and online films.

You have been quoted as saying, "I want to make auteur cinema, MTV style." How does AFTERSHOCK fit into that goal?

Well, I said that years ago, when MTV wasn't turning every tragic teenage event into a reality show. But basically, I want to make mainstream movies with a soul (If that exist). I love making movies for an audience, and I hated when my second feature flopped. I prefer sex to masturbation.

The idea of AFTERSHOCK arose from your real life experiences following the earthquake in Chile in 2010. Can you describe some of your experiences after the earthquake?

It was like living in the middle of a Roland Emmerich movie but with cheaper vfx. I was sleeping, after the first day of shooting of Fuck My Life and suddenly the earth started trembling. At the beginning I was very calm but when my Nintendo Wii flew across the room and broke my Terrance and Phillipe dolls, I freaked out. I live in a 6th floor and you can see the skyline of the city from my terrace. Suddenly, all the sky turned white because of electric explosions and right next to me, my neighbor was hugging his pregnant girlfriend while the earth continued to violently shake. At that moment, the only thing that I could think was… "this is a great plot point for a movie". Yes, I'm dumb.

You worked quite extensively with Eli Roth on this film, what did you learn about filmmaking from him?

I'm used to making comedies, so I'm very used to seeing an immediate reaction of what I'm doing and basically if people laugh, the movie is working. With a horror film it is a completely new world. Eli was really helpful in finding the tone of the movie during the writing process and when we cut it. He's a director that I admire, but beyond that, he's a real friend that's always there to help you make the movie better. This movie is a mix of sensibilities. The first act it's like one of my Chilean rom-coms and the second part is like one of his movies. We called AFTERSHOCK "Fuck my Hostel". We share the same sense of humor and more importantly, both of us believe that the power of cinema is the only way of getting laid by 21 year old girls.

On your first film Promedio Rojo loosely translated Flunking Grades one of your marketing ideas was giving people with the most F grades on their report cards free passes to the premiere. Are there any ideas for the marketing of AFTERSHOCK?

It would be great to simulate a real earthquake in Times Square and then use all the security cam footage as marketing material.

Tue., Sept. 11th, 11:59 PM RYERSON
Thurs., Sept. 13th, 6:15 PM CINEPLEX YONGE & DUNDAS 3
Sun., Sept. 16th, 3:30 PM CINEPLEX YONGE & DUNDAS 9

1 comment:

  1. The highest grossing chilean film of 2010 was OJOS ROJOS with 120k tickets sold.. Then FUCK MY LIFE with 94k... It was a specially shitty year for chilean box office.

    source: http://goo.gl/pB91D