10th Annual Cine LatinoIn Focus: Cesc Gay

By Jan Willms
Subject: Cesc Gay, director of Truman

Starting filming with a Super 8 camera which his father bought for him as a teenager, Cesc Gay has worked his way to becoming an award-winning director who will present the opening film Truman at the 4th annual Cine Latino festival.

“Some years later, I started filming in video. I used to sneak in at the engineering faculty where a friend of mine was a student. They had state-of-the-art equipment to shoot and edit, and we were working there all night long,” recalled Gay.

He studied at the Barcelona film school (EMAV) and then moved to New York. “I lived there three years. I also enrolled at the journalism school, but I left before finishing my freshman year,” Gay said.

The film Truman has been described as a wise and tender ode to friendship. Gay said he went through the same experience with someone who was very close to him. “During this time I was taking notes and writing a diary, by way of therapy,” he explained. “I realized that humorous and awkward situations came one after another.

“I put my notes aside, wrote and directed A Gun in Each Hand and, when I felt it was the right moment to do so, I decided to revisit my notes and write the script of Truman. The decision of focusing on the friendship of two men, away from a family setting, allowed me to tinge the story with humor. I didn’t want under any circumstances to produce a drama, as the story is so dramatic itself,” Gay stated. He directed his first film, Hotel Room, in New York, together with Daniel Gimelberg. This was a non-budget film inspired by the Sundance Film Festival, according to Gay.

“When I came back to Barcelona, I met Marta Esteban, my producer,” he said. “She was looking for a young director to bring to the big screen Krampack, a quite successful theatre play at the time. She proposed me to write and direct it.”

Gay said the film went very well. “We participated at Cannes’ Critics’ Week and at a lot of festivals,” he continued. “It was sold to quite a lot of countries and did well at the box office—and I think it allowed me to be able to continue writing and directing. I have also been very lucky to always work with Marta Esteban, who has produced all my films.”

Gay noted that the people who really helped him to grow and believe in himself were not from the industry.

When looking for certain qualities in an actor or actress, Gay said it depends on the character they have to play. “Besides that, I like to work with people with a good sense of humor. That always means intelligence and a good heart.”

Gay said that he always tries to write and direct comedies but his films end up being bittersweet comedies. “I don’t give up, though, and last year I wrote and staged my first theatre play, which is a comedy, and now I’m writing a TV series for Movistar+, which is a thriller. I love to direct thrillers and sci fi films, any genre in fact.”

The most challenging aspect of making a film for Gay is not to forget the first idea and the first intuition.

There is a great vitality and creativity in Latino productions, according to Gay. “It’s good news that films from this area are increasingly being screened at the main festivals and reaching international markets.”

Currently Gay is writing the thriller series for Movistar+. “I will start principal photography in March,” he said.

“We are very pleased that FilmRise, our distributor in the US, will release Truman in theaters in 2017. We hope that the American audience enjoys the film as much as in Spain and most of the countries where it has opened. We are glad that theatrical releases of Latino films are increasing year after year in the American market,” Gay added.