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IFFR 2021 Tiger Competition

Ainhoa Rodríguez • Director of Mighty Flash

“Every people still has its cross to bear”

by 

- The Spanish filmmaker is competing for the Tiger Award at Rotterdam with her feature debut, which won prizes at post-production forums and secured the support of Lluís Miñarro

Ainhoa Rodríguez  • Director of Mighty Flash
(© Miguel Guardiola)

Mighty Flash [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Ainhoa Rodríguez
film profile
]
by Ainhoa Rodríguez (Madrid, 1982) is currently being presented at the 50th International Film Festival Rotterdam (IFFR). This filmmaker of Extredmaduran descent took some hefty risks with her feature debut, which was filmed in the province of Badajoz and starred her neighbours in the lead roles. Her boldness did not go unnoticed by Lluís Miñarro (of Eddie Saeta), who has previously taken part in this very gathering with his own movies (Falling Star [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Luis Miñarro ­
film profile
]
), and who took on the role of co-producer alongside the director-screenwriter. We called up Rodríguez, who told us the following about the film.

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Cineuropa: Before it was finished, your feature took part in the industry strands of festivals of the likes of Abycine, REC Tarragona and Gijón. Did that help to get the film off the ground?
Ainhoa Rodríguez: Yes, it gave it the all-important final push. At Abycine Lanza, it won a €7,000 prize, which for an independent film is a considerable amount of money, especially when there are still parts left to finance. At Gijón, we also picked up a technical award, which helped us with the process, and we got something similar at REC, which meant we could send it to other festivals.

At what point did Eddie Saeta come on board the production?
During post-production. They saw it at MECAS, at the Las Palmas International Film Festival, when the edit was at an advanced stage, and there, the coordinator, Lorena Morín, who liked the movie, showed it to Lluís Miñarro. He got excited about it and called me.

Does it make you happy that Rotterdam is being held online this year, given that it means that more people from outside the city will be able to see your feature?
No, it doesn’t make me happy in the slightest. For me, it’s a bittersweet situation because it’s beautiful just being there and enjoying such a powerhouse of a festival. It takes care of its films and you thus become part of a huge family… I feel as if I’ve been robbed of something. Furthermore, Mighty Flash is a feature of minute details; it’s very sensorial, in terms of both the images and the sound. It’s frustrating that it can’t be seen on the big screen, which is what it was made for, after all. I’m not happy about the times we’re living in: I think they’re dreadful. I know it’s even worse for other people, of course, but that doesn’t mean I can’t have my own little moan. Will the film be shown anywhere else? Perhaps more people can see it online… But in what form? I just don’t know… Because there’s nothing like enjoying the experience in a movie theatre: it’s a place where you can forget about everything and just be there with the film.

Mighty Flash whisks the viewer away to various towns in the province of Badajoz, where you grew up. Your film is the second to emerge from Extremadura this season, following María Pérez Sanz’s Karen [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: María Pérez Sanz
film profile
]
. Is there something akin to a revival of cinema from that region?
I hope this is the path we will follow and that films will be made from the Extremaduran point of view – I hope there’s no inferiority complex. I want more filmmakers to pop up and for there to be some interesting movement in that area.

Karen, much like your movie, revolves around a female figure: is it still necessary to continue fighting against the patriarchy?
Mighty Flash talks about the legacies of the patriarchy, which get passed down from generation to generation. However, it could have been shot exactly the same way in a different context, as it gives exactly the same result in completely opposite settings. It also addresses how we cling to millennia-old traditions in the face of the dawn of this globalised world, where we all dress the same and think in the same way. Or the need for any given society to invent, to move on, whether it be through religious faith, or a belief in magic and esotericism. Because every people still has its cross to bear.

What’s surprising in your movie is the acting work by women who are not professional actresses. Did you need to rehearse a lot with them?
More than anything else, I navigated the shoot using my intuition as a tool: I knew that the right method consisted of creating a very close personal bond. That’s why I went to live in Puebla de la Reina [Badajoz] for several months – it’s a small town that I needed to get to know well. A professional actor slots him or herself into the outfit that you’ve created previously; however, in this case, I had to tailor the outfit to the circumstances of the actresses, and not just the physical ones. Then you have to pare it down and adjust it to and fro until it fits them like a glove. And that’s a matter of time, relationships, effort, closeness and trust. In many cases, there was a text already created, while in others, it was all improvisation and just letting the story flow.

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(Translated from Spanish)

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