A wandering love letter to Madrid, directed by local filmmaker Curro Sánchez Varela, Voices of a City fuses a celebrity aesthetic with a charismatic populace that so often takes a backseat to photographs of the bustling metropolis inserts .
The film is a curated 24-hour journey through every urban corner that delves into the most important part of any place, the people who live within its borders, and offers an immersive look at the city’s history, culture and enduring appeal.
The sprawling shots of familiar architecture, vividly narrated by Goya Prize-winning Spanish actress Blanca Portillo (“Maixabel”), run alongside sharply focused studies of residents, from the mayor to a famous chef, from taxi drivers to artists and musicians and much more charming retired couple.
Sánchez Varela has “captured and highlighted the personal stories of local Madrileños as they go about their daily lives over a 24 hour period – they come from every corner of the city… from the Gran Vía to the Rastro to the Madrid Rio… to the City of Hall … among others – and highlighted the individual contributions they make to the fabric of the city that makes Madrid the extraordinary capital it is today while building for the future,” said James Costos, President of Secuoya Studios the presentation of “Voices”. a preview of Iberseries & Platino Industria.
“Voices of a City” was produced by the unscripted division of Secuoya Studios, directed by Eduardo Escorial. It won in the Ethnography and Society category at the 6th Terres Travel Festival – Films & Creativity 2022, held in Tortosa, Spain. It also received a Gold Star in TV Travel Magazine’s international category, awarded at the 22nd The Golden City Gate International Tourism Film Competition.
After presenting the vivid documentary at Iberseries and Platino Industria last week, Varela (“Paco de Lucía: The Search”) spoke to him diversity about the fascination of the spaces and faces of Madrid.
The film seems to encompass a group so diverse that it fully represents every corner of the city. How did you choose who you would portray in the film?
It all started with a creative ping-pong exercise between writers and directors. Everyone spoke unreservedly about what Madrid meant to them and shared that vision. We talked about perceptions and personal experiences and more abstract or historical ideas.
An example: gateways. They were important to one of the screenwriters from Barcelona. On arrival he discovered a city with a history of great gates: the Puerta de Alcalá, the Puerta de Hierro and the Puerta de Toledo. He’s also found a place with ajar doors where no one asks where you’re from or where you’re going. I found this concept fascinating.
As a Madrileño, my main claim was traditional street food, which has always existed in Villa de Madrid. After adding hundreds and hundreds of ideas, we distilled the best and went in search of the characters who best embodied those concepts. Of course, these votes from a city had to be demographically balanced.
Can you share how you envisioned this film and how that vision changed as you met the people you wanted to frame in its narrative?
When we did the first casting, we interviewed a lot of the characters. This exchange determined part of the shooting. With the retired couple we see at the beginning in the Almudena Cemetery, we loved the energy they gave off so much that we decided to reuse them in the Madrid night scene at the end. Tati, the flamenco teacher, is also more prominent in the footage than we originally intended because we all fell in love with her.
Lots of people visit Madrid, eat the food and walk the streets, but most of the time they miss the most important thing, the people. Can you share how important it is for visitors to dig a little deeper and meet the people who live and breathe the city in its entirety every day?
A city is the sum of its people, those who are and those who were. It’s difficult to find two similar people in Madrid. Perhaps that is why Madrid is an incredibly diverse and diverse city, where every street or alley has its own personality and history, not to mention the outskirts neighborhoods like Carabanchel, Vallecas and Moratalaz.
What was the most exciting thing about making a documentary about the city in the form of a 24-hour adventure?
I believe that the weight of the narrative had no ups and downs. Cities typically have peaks in activity and times when that energy ebbs a bit. It was important that each scene represented something of interest to the viewer. Like Mercamadrid, which at 3am is a market full of shoppers, full of hustle and bustle. If you look closely, you’ll realize that Madrid never sleeps and always offers collectible, living moments.
https://variety.com/2022/film/festivals/voices-of-a-city-secuoya-studios-1235392499/ Madrid Helmer Curro Sánchez Varela on Iberseries title “Voices Of A City”