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Daniel Calparsoro • Director of Sky High

"The streets are a reflection of life”


- Action, music, passion and robberies liven up Sky High, the new film by Daniel Calparsoro competing at the Málaga Film Festival, and we talked to him about its secrets

Daniel Calparsoro  • Director of Sky High
(© Brian Hallet)

Sky High [+see also:
film review
interview: Daniel Calparsoro
film profile
is the title of a new work by Daniel Calparsoro, the master of adrenaline. This vibrant film is Calparsoro’s entry in the 23rd edition of the Málaga Film Festival, now on. We chatted to the filmmaker.

Cineuropa: Who is the target audience of the film?
Daniel Calparsoro: This film is mainly aimed at young people but clearly also at adults who enjoy action movies and those with a soft spot for real stories. The starting point is a true story and a reflection of today’s society, which means it is more than just entertainment.

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What does your film have in common with the Spanish delinquency cinema of the seventies, other than being shot in the suburbs and bringing together professional and non-professional actors?
We share environments and universes with works such as Deprisa deprisa or Perros callejeros but the difference lies in the plot. Sky High tells a story of ambition and how it confronts you with difficult choices that have nothing to do with survival. This film is reminiscent of gangster movies.

Scorsese, Brian de Palma and José Antonio de la Loma: which one has inspired you the most?
Martin, Brian, José Antonio… They are all a source of inspiration to me and they are all necessary. When you are shooting, you are “I and my circumstance”, but your influences are always there.

You’ve gone back to a robbery film after To Steal from a Thief [+see also:
film review
interview: Daniel Calparsoro
film profile
: are thieves the new pirates?
Sky High is a story of professional and well-trained thieves – a well-established culture in Madrid. It is a story of how the dispossessed, born in the context of the real estate bubble, decide to show up at a party. The characters we have created are epically ambitious: they have nothing, they begin from scratch and they shoot for the moon; believing in themselves makes them great.

Are the streets a source of inspiration to you when it comes to telling stories and launching projects?
The streets are a reflection of life and of the society we live in.

How has the depiction of street life changed on the big screen between your first films and this one?
Nothing is more interesting than the variety of views and perspectives, and they are equally powerful and interesting. My film is based on a social reality, portrayed with a dynamic and entertaining way.

Since your first film you have always included strong female characters in your works. How would you describe the three female characters of Sky High (played by Carolina Yuste, Asia Ortega and Patricia Vico)?
They are three women with a life of their own: they are all linked to Ángel but each of them has her own goal. Their relationship is based on exchange. I think it is important that in a story of “macho thugs”, women have a power that fits perfectly with the harshness of the environment. Sky High tackles the story of a series of characters who exist and work in a mostly male environment, although the film clearly highlights the weight of female characters. They are the ones defining the story at different levels. That is what these men are like – and the women, too!

Could we say that this film includes elements of your previous works?
Sure those elements exist, since cinema is a continuum. Sky High is a gem that I have coveted for years and one that I have managed to polish at last. The plot is widely known: a Spanish gang of professional criminals who prepare their attacks thoroughly and who know how to make history. Shooting it exactly where those things happen and where these criminals live is an aesthetic decision which gives an attractive and sophisticated touch and keeps it real. This film will give you a real adrenaline boost: first the images assault your eyes, then it goes for the gut and finally punches you right in the chest."

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(Translated from Spanish by Marcos Randulfe)

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