Plot for Peace director praises Saffron Screen at landmark showing

16:33 13 March 2014

Jean-Yves Ollivier (left) and director Carlos Agulló.

Jean-Yves Ollivier (left) and director Carlos Agulló.

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Director of award-winning documentary Plot for Peace, Carlos Agulló, spoke exclusively to reporter Sam Tonkin after Sunday’s landmark showing at Saffron Screen.

The 39-year-old Spaniard described Uttlesford’s not-for-profit independent cinema as “a beautiful venue” and revealed that Q and As, like the one hosted after the film by Graham Stock, were his most rewarding part of the film-making process.

“Making a movie is total hell,” he said. “You fear it is going to be a disaster. It took two-and-a-half years to put together and, when you finish, it feels like you’ve spent so long on it but you haven’t done it well. I pick out little things that could have been better here and there.”

Agulló added: “It’s only when you come to the Q and As like this, and you get feedback from the audience, that you really feel you have accomplished what you set out to do.

“When people tell you how much they have been moved by the story. Then you know you have done a good job because that was the reason for making the movie.”

Sunday’s showing was a landmark moment for Saffron Screen. It was the first time the cinema has previewed a film before its general release and proved to be a sell-out event.

Praising Saffron Walden’s cinema, Agulló said: “When you see a community supported cinema, it’s amazing. In Spain, the film industry is dying – most distributors and theatres are closing.

“I heard one example of a theatre that closed and then the community decided to take it on and re-open it.

“It’s great because people get to choose the films they want to see themselves.”

He added: “Like here, people don’t just choose blockbusters, they choose independent films, and it is great to be able to live in a small town and still get an interesting variety of films.”

Agulló, who co-directed the documentary alongside South African-born Mandy Jacobson, said it was strange moving out of his comfort zone. He has edited and directed fictional films but this was the first time he had to stick firmly to a historical account.

“It was total chaos,” the director said of the research process. “We never had a list of interviewees from day one, or a script. We never had a clear timeline of events but little by little we’d interview people and it came together.”

Such has been the movie’s success, having won five awards at various film festivals, that Agulló has already been lined up to head a fictional version for the silver screen.

“We have just had the budget approved for the developmental stage, so the next step is writing the script,” he said.

Asked who he would like to see come onboard given the choice, Agulló replied: “Peter Morgan. But he may be a bit expensive! I’ve just watched Frost/Nixon and that was incredible.”

And finally, what did the protagonist himself, Jean-Yves Ollivier, make of the questions from the audience? “They were very attentive,” he said.

“Not one person left! Normally when you have a Q and A after the film a lot of the audience get up and leave. I was very impressed.”

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