09 · 4 · 17

XV anniversary, 15 questions to Elisa Miller

In 2006, Elisa Miller, then 24, attended the Morelia International Film Festival (FICM) for the first time to compete with her first short film Ver llover. Excited, with a certain halo of naivety, she distributed, to whoever let her, postcards and DVD’s of her film with screen printings.

After that first time that Ver llover took the award for Best Fiction Short Film, Elisa Miller returned to FICM to present the works that followed. Like other filmmakers, Elisa grew with the festival: in 2010, Vete más lejos, Alicia, her debut film, was part of the Official Selection; and in 2015, her feature film El placer es mío won the First or Second Mexican Feature Film Award.

Elisa Miller.

To commemorate FICM’s fifteenth anniversary, Elisa Miller answers these 15 questions.

1. When was the first time you attended FICM?

It was in its fourth edition with my first short Ver llover (2006).

2. How many editions of FICM have you attended?

Four.

3. What is your favorite FICM image?

I was sitting on the terrace of the hotel having coffee. Danny Trejo arrived in a festival van. He got out of the truck like a big star and, out of all the people there, he turned to look at me and greeted me as if we knew each other. It was a very nice moment.

4. What kind of movies do you like to see at FICM?

I like to watch movies that are difficult to find in other forums: independent films, short films, films that were released at other festivals such as the Cannes Film Festival or the Berlinale.

5. Name a movie you’ve seen at FICM that marked you as a viewer.

I remember seeing The Orphanage (2007, dir. Juan Antonio Bayona). It scared me. Eric Rohmer‘s films were all screened once, and I felt as if they had been programmed for me.

6. What is your favorite place at the theater? How close to the screen do you like to be?

I like it in the middle, in the middle.

7. What invites you to watch a movie? (the director, the poster, the theme, the synopsis, a recommendation, an award, etc.)

Sometimes the poster, sometimes someone recommends it to me or because I feel like it. I’m always trying to read about what movies are released.

8. What is your favorite place in Morelia?

The Jardín de Las Rosas.

9. Why do you like to attend FICM?

Before, for the parties, for the movies and to run into people. I feel that there is a community that is generated at the festivals. I like to see the people I know. Now, I confess that I don’t love going to festivals unless I must go because I have a movie or something to present. It’s a bit tiring.

10. What personalities have you met at FICM?

Nicolas Philibert, Isabelle Huppert, Quentin Tarantino. Tarantino was introduced to me outside the theater. I was wearing a Rainbow Brite T-shirt and he loved it.

11. Name a classic Mexican movie that you like a lot.

The Secret Formula (1964, dir. Rubén Gámez).

12. Name a contemporary Mexican movie that you like a lot.

We Are the Flesh (2016, dir. Emiliano Rocha Minter).

13. What have you presented at FICM?

Ver llover (2006), Roma (2008), Vete más lejos, Alicia (2010), El placer es mío (2015) and one I produced called, El regreso del muerto (2014), by Gustavo Gamou.

14. Share a special memory of FICM.

When I went for the first time with my first short, the excitement of being at the festival was enormous. In addition, the short winning was a great surprise, because, as I said at that time, I had never even won a raffle before. I said that I was not going to party at the party, that I was not going to have a single beer, but before leaving the hotel room I said to my then-boyfriend “unless I win.” We were late for the ceremony; the very intense volunteers were waiting for me and I was suspiciously seated up front. At that time, you were almost a great celebrity if your short was in the festival because it was a festival for shorts. When they announced my short as the winner, I went up to receive the award with a lot of apprehension. I think I just said thank you and cried. The Eye, the award, is very heavy, so I was carrying it around with me at the closing party, completely moved, and as I was obviously having several drinks because I won, I kept dropping it on everyone’s feet. The volunteers ended up putting it away for me until the next day.

15. What do you wish for FICM in its 15th anniversary?

I wish it a long life without forgetting its origin, the first mission it had: to give space to the new voices.