Victor XX is the 2nd short made by Ian Garrido Lopez (26 years old) and is selected in the Hola Catalunyaseries at this year’s Short Film Festival in Leuven. The film is a project for the Spanish Arts School ESCAC and set in Almeria, where Garrido himself comes from.
I’ ve already watched Victor XX at the Cannes Film Festival last May, where Garrido was selected in the Cinéfodation-section. There he won the 3rd prize. What struck me most though, was that jury member Cécile de Freance, a Belgian actress, asked for a standing ovation for the main actress Alba Martinez, who performs the role of Victor. A girl, who questions her gender and sexuality. In her search for her identity she gets confronted with how it feels to fall in love, while you are actually a boy in a girl’s body. Also, the film depicts the difficulties of keeping a secret in a small village in contrast to the anonimity of the big city, where you can be whoever you want to.
The entire cast consists of actors without any previous experience, which Garrido himself explains by stating “that it is there, where the magic of the story lives. The story is built with people, not characters.”
I met Ian Garrido Lopez at the Short Film Festival to talk about his film.
Alba Martinez did an excellent job in performing the role of the transgender Victor/Mari. Where you already friends with her before you started the project?
No, I did some serious castings in Almeria, where I live, because I wanted to find the suitable person to express my feelings to the world, and to kind of play ‘me’. Alba was perfect for the part, because she looks a bit androgynous. She’s tall and quite muscular, that is because she used to be the junior champion in putting the shot when she was 16 years old, so she has very strong arms and shoulders. When we started the shooting, she already turned 18.
Nice! Was it hard for her to do the explicit scenes, like those where she films herself in front of the mirror?
No, she was immediatly willing to join us in the project, once she knew what Victor XX was all about. She wanted to help me in telling the world what I was going through, namely the search for my sexual identity.
So, like I already assumed, the story is autobiographical?
Did you get any negative reactions on your film, because of the heavy subject?
Yes, of course there are always people who judge you, but nobody ever said something negative to my face. Mostly, I got positive reactions, also from other young people that struggle with their sexuality, like I did. They felt like I made it easier for them to talk about being a trandgender.
You won the 3rd prize at Cannes with your film. So what are your plans now?
I’m planning on doing another short film. But it takes time to do it properly, also the writing and collecting fundings. Although, since I won the prize in Cannes, getting funded has become easier. The money I won in Cannes, though, we split up with cast and crew. We also use it to travel around to promote Victor XX.
And also, I don’t have that much time right now to be creative, because I am doing all the travelling, which is an amazing opportunity! And I’m so grateful. Cannes was my first film festival ever, and look where I am standing now, I recently even went to Seoul in South-Korea!
Thank you, Ian, for the nice talk! I wish you nothing but the best in the near future. You’ve got my full 100% support and respect for reaching out to a thematic that is not always so easy.
Check the website for more information.