Bagging a gold in the Film School (up to 10 minutes) category, Lucas Parra’s spot for the Catalonian School of Cinema and Audio, This is ESCAC, was inspired by some of cinema’s most famous frames including falling men, knives and petals.
Did you always know you wanted to be a director?
Ever since I was a little kid, I’ve been a huge fan of movies. At the age of seven, I started creating stop-motion short films with LEGO. When I was 11, I filmed my first live-action short film, and that’s when I fell in love with directing and decided I wanted to become a director.
What gives you the most satisfaction when directing?
The most satisfying aspect for me is seeing the team fully engaged and the set running smoothly. It’s a joy to witness everyone working together – bringing their talents and ideas to life. When everything clicks and the creative energy is flowing harmoniously, it’s incredibly rewarding.
Where do you draw your inspiration from?
When it comes to the stories for my short films, they are often inspired by anecdotes from people I know or family stories.
As for aesthetics and staging, my greatest influences come from directors such as Coppola, Spielberg, Kurosawa, and Polanski. Their works have greatly shaped my understanding of visual storytelling and continue to inspire my creative vision.
Where did the idea for This is ESCAC come from?
The idea for the spot This is ESCAC came from wanting to create a love letter to cinema. It initially started as an industrial video showcasing the facilities of ESCAC, the film school where I studied directing. However, as the project evolved, it gradually transformed into a journey through the school’s facilities, highlighting iconic moments from classic films.
The concept was to give the viewers a behind-the-scenes glimpse into the making of those great movies, creating a sense of nostalgia and appreciation for the art of filmmaking.
Could you tell me about the casting process?
The truth is the casting process was straightforward. We had to find people who resembled Angela from American Beauty, Danny and Jack from The Shining, Indy from Indiana Jones, Ripley from Alien, and Marion from Psycho.
Tell us about the seamless transitions between scenes.
The element that ties the entire piece together is the match-cut. Spielberg is a master of this technique, and I’ve learned a lot from studying his films.
The process I followed to design the various match-cuts was by sketching them out. Since it’s a purely visual effect, the only way to generate ideas was by drawing and creating collages with images. This approach also helped to convey my vision to the team.
Which was behind the concept for the first scene and how did everything else slot into place after that?
ESCAC gave me complete creative freedom, with the only requirement being to start with someone falling from the university tower. From that fall, the first match-cut became clear: the petal from American Beauty.
What was the most challenging aspect of the film’s creation?
This is ESCAC relied heavily on precision and attention to detail. If a match-cut didn’t work, the entire spot would lose its purpose. The shots were meticulously calculated, and we rehearsed them numerous times until they were executed perfectly.
One of the most challenging shots was the one featuring Indiana Jones, as the camera movement had to match the speed of Indy’s horse. We ended up doing 38 takes to get it right.
What was your favourite moment during production?
There were many moments I enjoyed as I was recreating my favourite movies. It was incredibly fun to step into the shoes of those great directors and experience their worlds for a brief moment. But my favourite scene was probably the flamethrower from Alien.
What does it mean to you to pick up a YDA?
It is an honour to have received this award. To me, it is a recognition of the work of an incredibly united team. We are the same team that studied together at ESCAC, and we were fortunate enough to have the opportunity to create this spot together, too.
What are you working on at the moment? And what’s coming next?
Currently, I am in the final stages of completing several short films. Each project has its unique style and storytelling approach, allowing me to explore different themes and genres such as thriller, horror, adventure, war and action.
I am also in the process of developing my first feature film titled Brucólacos. It is a horror film set in the Spanish mines during the late 19th Century. We’ve just finished shooting the teaser trailer.
Interview by Izzy Ashton shots