First-time filmmaker Jonathan Cenzual Burley shot his low budget debut El Alma De Las Moscas (The Soul Of Flies) in Spain, enlisting Tim Walters (Monsters Build Mean Robots/Last Days Of Lorca) to compose the soundtrack. The rural comedy-come-road movie appeared on the international film festival circuit last year, with two sold out screenings at the BFI London Film Festival. El Alma De Las Moscas goes on general release on 13th July; with director and composer both taking part in a Q&A screening at the Duke Of York’s on the 16th.
How did you become a filmmaker?
I moved to Brighton eight years ago and started doing stuff for bands like Last Days Of Lorca and 900 Spaces. Not film work per se, but projections, photos and videos. I didn’t start making films until I went to America and met a director who was on his way to Argentina. He said, “Do you want to come with me? I can’t pay you but it’ll be fun.” It was great ‘cos some of the actors in my film were people I met there. I never really went to a proper film school, I just learnt it as I went along.
How did you fund your film?
Through desperation more than anything. I went travelling, then back to my father’s house in Spain because I was broke. I was out of a job and I had the time and thought I might as well make a film. I already had the camera and the computer, but I needed a microphone so I sold a lens. There were only seven of us working on the film, so when you weren’t acting you were doing something else. I edited it with Final Cut, which is a lot cheaper than it used to be, and so easy to use. I needed money for post-production so I ended up begging to my parents, because it’s very difficult to get grants when you’re a first time director. I made this film as a presentation card: this is what I can do with no money, now give me some.
How did Tim get involved with the soundtrack?
From day one I wanted the music to be as important as any of the characters. Tim and I were talking about the music before we even shot anything. When the film was finished I gave him a rough edit and said where I wanted a certain type of music. He came back with stuff that was so much better. He learnt to play the accordion for it, and some really beautiful classical guitar. There’s two Monsters Build Mean Robots songs that they rewrote to be more acoustic, with a trumpet instead of a synth, and real violinists.
What advice do you have for aspiring filmmakers?
Just go and shoot the film. I’ve learned tons about business because my friends are musicians. With music it seems to be: get out there, show your stuff, sell your CDs and pimp yourself out, but with film, people just sit there with their script, waiting for someone to give them a million pounds. Figure out how you can make it, make it, and send it off to the festivals. Aim for the big ones first; if they don’t take it after a year, go for the small ones. If nobody wants to release it, put it on the internet. There are so many companies that will take your film and put it online, and you will get some money out of it. Not loads, but at least it’s being seen. If you want to make money, become an accountant.
Where: Duke Of York’s Picturehouse
When: Mon 16th July 2012