Interview with Juanjo Giménez, Director of Timecode (Oscar Nominee 2017)
SFC – Can you tell us about the background of ‘Timecode’, how did you come up with this idea?
JG – The original idea came from personal experience. Some years ago, while working for a big company, a colleague discovered that during my working hours, I spent some time writing personal texts, ideas for scripts, short stories, etc. My colleague didn’t react as Luna did in the movie. Instead, and without telling me, she used my work, and not in the best possible way. So I thought that the “Timecode” script was a good opportunity to rewrite and fictionalize this personal story. On the other hand, I’ve always had an interest in contemporary dance as a spectator. In the mixing of these two ideas lies the source of the short.
SFC – Lots of reviews mentioned about the dance in your short, however ‘Timecode’ is also a great tribute to editors and to the cinema itself.
JG – That sounds great! It’s gone far beyond my initial intention.
SFC – At the beginning of the film, we seem to be in something that could likely be a thriller, then we land in an unexpected dancing performance to finally end up with a comedy. How did you construct all this?
JG – I work as a teacher in a small school in Reus, Catalonia. I discussed every step of the creative process with my students, from the original idea to the finished script. During that time, I watched and discussed a lot of short films with them. After watching the first 2 or 3 minutes of every short, I would stop. In most cases they were able to anticipate the plot, the tone, or simply what was going to happen next. Then we started sharing a catchphrase: “avoid clichés like the plague”. And we tried to avoid that in “Timecode” at any price. When I showed the film to the postproduction team for the first time, they thought it was a zombie movie, because of Diego’s weird movements at the beginning of the film. That was great. The final result is a mixture of genres, and in my opinion it’s there where lies the true artistic risk of the short.
SFC – Are you planning to release ‘Timecode’ on the Internet? What is your online strategy?
JG – Currently Timecode is still doing the festival circuit. We have plans to release it in theaters in Spain and some other countries, accompanying a feature. After that it will be on-line. I’ll be sharing the decision with my distributor, Marvin & Wayne
SFC – Could you say anything about the state of the short film industry in Spain?
JG – It’s been a while since I made short films, but there has always been talented and original creators amongst the Catalan and Spanish short filmmakers. In recent years there have been 6 Spaniards nominated for the best short in different categories. For some time, the short film festival circuit in Spain grew dramatically. The recent crisis and a certain lack of support made things more complicated. But the diversity and quality is now higher than ever, and I say that with knowledge because I have attended a lot of festivals recently. But shorts still need to achieve film theater distribution and get slots on the Spanish public and private TV channels.