There are some things you get at every Fantastic Fest: great movies. Good food. Plenty of adult beverages. Good times. And Nacho Vigalondo.
Nacho comes to Fantastic Fest every single year, whether or not he has a movie showing at the festival. He’s brought his incredible debut, TimeCrimes, and he’s brought his great short films as well. He’s a fireball of energy at the Fantastic Feud every single year - last year I thought he actually had killed Elijah Wood. Nacho is, in many ways, the anarchic avatar of Fantastic Fest.
This year he’s back with his new film, Extraterrestrial. The premise: a guy wakes up after a one night stand with the perfect woman. Things are weird the morning after, and as he’s about to leave some big news comes in - a four mile wide UFO is hovering over the city. After that - well, you’ll have to see the movie.
We’ll have a more in-depth interview with Nacho at some point during the festival, but here’s a quick email exchange I had with him this weekend:
EXTRATERRESTRIAL is a romance story set against the backdrop of aliens coming to Earth. What inspired you to mix those two genres?
As many others, I read “War of the Worlds” as a child, but it wasn’t until I read it again few years ago I realized that tale, being the mother of all alien invasions, was also incredibly modern. The main character is not a hero, nor even a guy with a key role in the fight against the Martians. He is another confused guy in the middle of events that are bigger than him. My favourite part is when the guy gets trapped with a curate in some ruins. It’s a creepy and stupid situation at the same time. For a long time I wanted to write a story in this style, an insignificant story with average characters in the middle of a sci-fi global event. And when this Julia-Julio plot came in, all the pieces came together… I also wanted to make a driven character film, instead of the the twisted maze that was Timecrimes and the movie I pretend to make now.
You write your own scripts. Would you ever direct a script someone else wrote?
Absolutely. I receive scripts from my L.A. agents, and I already showed my interest in those I fell in love with. If it didn’t happened, It wasn’t because of my lack of interest. I would also love to write for someone else. These days I’m writting a treatment for a Spanish director you know very well…
You come back to Fantastic Fest every year even when you don’t have a movie to show. What keeps bringing you back?
To keep it simple, if movies are my religion, the Alamo is my church and FF my Holy Week. I love and admire so much people around the festival, from Tim League, who is a genius in the not so common art of having fun, to each one of the passionate fans who manage to watch the whole programme.
Extraterrestrial is playing Friday September 23rd at 6:05pm and Tuesday September 27th at 6:15pm.