Interview with Marc Martí

INTERVIEW WITH MARC MARTÍ (with the collaboration of Sergi Páez, director and scriptwriter)
*You are here due to CifiMad's celebration, one of the major science fiction conventions of Madrid. You came last year as well to present the short “A Thousand Lives”. What do you think about CifiMad?
We are very happy to have come this year again; we have presented another short and Sergi gave a talk this morning, but we would have come anyways, given the treatment we had last year and the contacts we made.      
* Have you participated in the other activities that are offered?
Actually, we have an exhibition about UFO sightings that our art workshop prepared, with six or seven mock-ups, that people can see. This morning we have been in the talk, at night we will go to the official dinner and tomorrow to the signing with the actors; we brought our tiny figures of the actors to have them signed (Laughs).
* Can you say, after a year, that your production company -Vision FES- is progressing satisfactorily?
We think it is: from the point of view of production, we have released two episodes of a webseries, a (we might call it) spin-off of the same series, and the short “A Thousand Lives”, presented earlier this year at Hispacom, a convention of science fiction literature in Barcelona.  We haven't really stopped: between preproduction, shooting, post-production... Although Vision FES was created in February, we've been over a year and a half combining it with studies, work... Whatever we can do.
* What are the biggest obstacles you found?
It depends on the shooting; considering how we started the project of “Dr. Who”, the money. We started with crowdfunding, but we reach the limit with the fans. For others who hired us we also adjusted a lot the price because for us it means advertising. We are also collaborating with different entities: Manos Unidas and a foundation of Barcelona called Prevent. We have many ideas and we desire to do things, but we lack the means; we hope to get money with the pilot of a television program we plan to shoot and get someone to buy it, and from there, we will produce the other projects we have in mind.
* Marc, you're an architect or you worked as an architect, why did you decide to participate in this project?
Do you want the real story? (Laughs)
I have a colleague called Carles Quero; Sergi took him for the “Dr. Who” project and Carles told me he needed a hand because he was trying to build a TARDIS for “El Mundo Imperfecto”, and I accepted immediately. The day before starting to build it, he called me and said that he had found a job as an actor in Port Aventura, and I got stuck with it. In the end I finished it alone in my house... And that's how we met; we started shooting and after the good results, Sergi proposed to continue making a series. In the midst of one of those shootings, people advised us to leave aside the “Dr. Who” project temporarily. Then, we decided to start the company.  Seven months have passed, we have been in two places, and, with great desire and enthusiasm, we carry it forward.
* Why science fiction?
Within all of us there is a fan. There are sagas that left a mark on us: “Star Trek”, “Star Wars” or “Dr. Who”; they are all science fiction and the thread that has united us all, then, what better way to be true to ourselves than following this thread of science fiction. We want to proof that in Spain good movies of this genre can also be done.
* I guess you have had to sell Vision FES to many people. How would you sell it to us?
We are a production company that generates product: from a mock-up stage, a video, a montage... Our true dream is filmmaking, but we take as seriously making a movie, a project of animation, stop-motion, cosplay; as coming here and giving a talk, or going to other conventions such as the Comicon of Jerez, the Barcelona Comic Fair or Dr. Who Day.

* Let's talk about your biggest project to date: the Fan Fiction of Dr. Who. What was your initial idea?
 (Sergi Paez) One day I decided to make a short film called “Noche de Reyes” and upload it to YouTube. A few days later, it appeared on Facebook a notification that said the Dr. Who Day was going to be held, and I decided to attend. The organizers of the event found me on Facebook, they saw what I had done and asked me to make a tribute video. So I finally wrote a short film of 10 minutes, which finally lasted over 45. I knew how to make movies thank to the documentaries I had seen and the filmBowfinger” (Laughs). If we had such success was for the love and effort of the people who participated.      
(Marc Martí) That's right: we are proud of the shootings, but more of the "making-ofs" because there you can see everyone behind.
* As a small production company, how did you carry with the project?
Using crowdfunding and Sergi's credit card and mine (Laughs). The problem is that we always wanted to invest more; in the last year we spent between 10,000 and 12,000 Euros. We have tried that every actor received a salary and some of them even renounced it for the production. We want to think we have invested the money. Let's see if in a year we can say: "You know those 12,000 we invested? Look at the Ferrari I have here" (Laughs).           

* About your next project “Verses of Ice and Fire, a series of short films made by fans for fans of “A Song of Ice and Fire” by George R. R. Martin novels, what can you tell us?
The truth is that it had to be cancelled; we were into other projects. We left it when it was under crowdfunding, because we thought we were going to find the same problems as in the Dr. Who Fan Fiction: a very nice project, but thankless. I mean, for example, we did the premiere of the latest episode of the Fanfic in a theatre of Girona (Cataluña), with capacity for 250 people; there was a huge queue and the theatre was full. Admission was for free, but we tried to sell some tickets for three and five Euros to recover the investment and the rest to donate to Manos Unidas; we did not earn anything. However, from the 250 people, only 50 bought tickets. It was a shame because it was the episode that people liked the most, but if they don't contribute, there's nothing we can do. When we cancelled this project, we did not sleep for a week, we were very depressed.
* Right now you are developing your first feature film, with a completely original screenplay. How is the production stage going?
We have two projects: one is a dreamlike drama by Dani Portillo, the cameraman who works with us since the beginning of the webseries, and with whom we collaborate in all that we can; is a feature film, but on a small scale; the other one is called “Intertemporal”, a film about time travels. At first we wanted to make a movie for 300,000 Euros; two weeks after, Sergi came and told me that we might need 3 million; therefore we left it aside, and when we took it up again, it rose to 8 million. It turns out that in one of these events we usually go we met an illustrator called Mo Caró; we met with him, he was very interested in the idea and decided to be our artistic director; he met with his friends who are illustrators as well to work on the project. When we have the idea developed and a number of mock-ups and teasers made, we'll rent a movie theater, invite different producers and present them the project. As we noted, the last time that was done was with “Apollo 13”, and as it went well, we thought: why not? It really is a project that is not in front line, but it does not stop.
* How do you see the future of Vision FES?
To resist one year, we see it viable (Laughs). I think if things go a tenth of how well they have gone this year, we may have a long career.
* What about the future of science fiction?
It is never going to end. Another thing is the way to shoot science fiction. In Spain there isn´t almost any because it's barely consumed. Our intention is to shoot with Spanish companies that are already internationally known.
* Thank you for the interview, where can we find you?
In the Facebook and Twitter accounts of Vision Factory. If anyone wants to see the Dr. Who's fan fiction, you can get into the Facebook´s account “Dr. Who: Un Mundo Imperfecto”. And all videos and `making-ofs' can be found in HD on the Vimeo account of Vision Factory.                

Diego Martin

Review: Pilar Colomo