Santiago Mitre: “My only dream is to keep directing”
by Rodrigo García
Buenos Aires, April 19 (EFE) – Santiago Mitre has achieved his life goal: becoming a screenwriter and film director. “My only dream is to keep directing,” says the creator of “Argentina, 1985” (Argentina, 1985), the film with the most nominations, 14, at the tenth edition of the Platino Awards, which highlight the achievements of Ibero-American cinema and promote its international exposure.
“I think that every year, Ibero-American cinema produces very strong films, and they are increasingly recognized in more places around the world. The interesting thing about these awards or events that bring together films from this vast geography is the possibility of increasing knowledge and circulation,” the Argentine filmmaker tells EFE in Buenos Aires.
“Argentina 1985,” starring Ricardo Darín and boasting a slew of awards – including the Golden Globe and the Goya, as well as an Oscar nomination for Best International Feature Film – since its premiere in September 2022, recreates the historic trial that punished the commanders of his country’s last dictatorship (1976-1983). It is the favorite at the Platino Awards ceremony, to be held this Saturday in Madrid.
Mitre (Buenos Aires, 1980), who has already experienced these awards with his films “La patota” (2015, Paulina) and “La cordillera” (2017, The Summit), does not hide his excitement about the 14 nominations for his fifth feature film. Among these are Best Ibero-American Fiction Film, Best Director, and even several names for a single category, such as Darín and Peter Lanzani for Best Male Performer.
“I grow very fond of the actors, so I was very happy to see that many of them were being recognized in the nominations,” says the director, eager to see his team with the award in hand: “And, of course, I would also like (to be awarded) because I have my vanity,” he adds with a laugh.
The gala comes after “very intense, exciting, and happy months,” during which he dismisses any disappointment for not winning the Oscar: “Rather, joy and pride for everything the film achieved and the way it connected with audiences around the world.”
Regarding the other films nominated for the Platino Awards, he prefers not to single out any particular one “because they are all deserving and have enough strength” to win the award, just as there are other “excellent films that operate in different distribution circuits” and are not nominated.
“I celebrate these kinds of events because I think they establish connections and help films that may have been popular in one country but not so much in neighboring ones to gain traction. (…) I would like to see future exhibition strategies that can make these films and many others circulate more within the region,” he emphasizes.
THE FUTURE AFTER SUCCESS
Mitre believes that “Argentina, 1985” will be remembered for its ability to bring so many people back to the movies after the pandemic, for its awards, and for highlighting the importance of memory, democracy, and justice.
“The main difference compared to my previous films is that I worked on a real event. I realized the importance of research and understanding the subject in order to accurately and respectfully reflect it,” he states. He believes that in historical films, the controversies and debates that may arise regarding the recreation of reality “only enrich the film and open up new lines of thought.”
After releasing two feature films in a year – the black comedy “Petite fleur” (Little Flower) in June 2022 – this week, he presents “Blondi” at the Buenos Aires International Independent Film Festival, the directorial debut of his partner, actress Dolores Fonzi, which he produced.
Mitre is also preparing new projects as a director and screenwriter: “I’m getting back together with my producers and with Mariano Llinás, who is my co-writer and a master I admire greatly. We are developing a couple of films that we had in progress and want to continue,” he reveals.
“My dream has been coming true for a while now. At some point in my life, I decided or imagined that I wanted to be a writer and film director, and I was fortunate enough to be able to do it, so what I desire is to keep doing it, in different ways, because making a film is going through a very mobilizing life experience,” he explains.
When asked if “Argentina, 1985” has been the most important experience of his career, he is unequivocal: “The most important experience of my career will always be my last film (laughs). And I will wish that the most important experience is the next one. So, well, until now, yes.” EFE