Interview with Filmmaker Àlex Tejedor (SERGI & IRINA)

SERGI & IRINA was the winner of BEST SOUND & MUSIC at the April 2021 ROMANCE Film Festival.

1. What motivated you to make this film?

It was a decision inspired by the previous ‘version’ of “Sergi & Irina”, because originally it was created as a piece of Microtheatre (pieces of 15 minutes made in a small place for a small audience done in varios sessions) in the year 2012. That Musical Microtheatre piece was originally inspired by the place where the event was held, some very magnificent and gorgeous gardens called ‘The Alfabia Gardens’ that reminded me kind of the sets used in the old 30s, 40s and 50s Hollywood Golden Age of films that I loved watching when I was very young. When the show was done, a lot of people liked it and asked me why didn’t I write an entire musical based on the story, and I thought to myself ‘Well, it was inspired by these wonderful Hollywood Films, so if anything, “Sergi & Irina” should be a film’. So these were the events that lead to the decision to make the film.

2. From the idea to the finished product, how long did it take for you to make this short?

For me, it took me about 8 years to accomplish! As I said, I wrote the story in 2012, so from there I rewrote the script to make it more visual and spectacular and after a few years doing other professional projects, I started pitching my film in 2017, where I knocked a lot of doors with a script, a usb with the songs in it and a dossier underneath my arm.

3. How would you describe your short film in two words!?

‘Flying dream.’

4. What was the biggest obstacle you faced in completing this film?

Financing it. The way I saw this film was not as ‘a short film’, but as ‘a short feature film’, meaning that even if the film was only 24 minutes long, it had to be as big as I could, because these Hollywood films it was inspired by, were BIG, so we needed a decent amount of money to be able to pay the two leading actors, the 30+ dancers, the 30+ musicians, the creative, technical and production team and all the endless rest of things, and so it took a lot of phone calls, convincing, negotiations, trips, meetings, discussions, paper work, headaches and many other tedious and boring things to be able to get all the money I needed. But it was woth it. I must add that I was also lucky that I had the help from my brother Cristian and my colleague and Co-director of the film Miquel Verd that believed in the project and helped me gather a team of people to make it so.

5. What were your initial reactions when watching the audience talking about your film in the feedback video?

I have to be honest. I got emotional, I had goosebumps and I smiled the whole time because there’s nothing that pays off more than seeing these kind of positive reactions from an honest audience who had no previous contact with me and didn’t have to fake anything at all. I made this film because I obviously love films, I love musicals, I love to write, I love to act and sing and I love all the creative process involved in it, but I also do it because I try to tell a story as good as I can, and I try to reach people’s hearts to make a positive and emotional impact in them.

Watch the Audience FEEDBACK Video:

6. When did you first realize that you wanted to make films?

I think it was when I was a little boy and I watched a show called “That’s Entertainment – Part II” presented by my two most admired Hollywood stars Fred Astaire and Gene Kelly. That show was a review of the best 30s, 40s and 50s musical films that had a profound impact in my inner artist. From there I wanted to be an actor, I wanted to sing, dance and also direct films.

7. What film have you seen the most in your life?

It’s hard to know. I love many films from many genres and many nationalities. I don’t have a ‘fetish movie’ that I watch compulsively, but rather a very large catalogue of films I admire and could watch over and over again from very strange and experimental to very common, and from any genre and nationality. If I like it, if it catches my imagination, heart, mind or soul, I just enjoy it.

8. You submitted to the festival via FilmFreeway, what are you feelings of the submission platform from a filmmaker’s perspective?

For me, FilmFreeway is the best platform for filmmakers in the entire market, because their page has a very good searching engine with great filters and great results. It’s easy to navigate in its environment, it has plenty of info of the festivals and finding festivals is easy, fun, attractive and satisfactory.

9. What is your favorite meal?

My mother’s Danish smørrebrød with salmon with yellow curry sauce that she makes for Christmas. It’s once a year, but it makes my eyes roll back.

10. What is next for you? A new film?

Well, “Sergi & Irina” was also born with the idea to become a feature film. It’s some sort of ‘presentation letter’ for possible investors and producers. So, hopefully, my next project will be the feature musical film of “Sergi & Irina”.

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