José Antonio Félez • Producer
by Sergio Ríos Pérez
11/01/2010 - Tesela has shut up shop after 11 years and 22 features. During that period, it has become one of the most important independent production companies, thanks to titles such as Pellet (2000), 7 Virgins [trailer] (2004), DarkBlueAlmostBlack [trailer] (2005) and 8 Dates (2008). But the story doesn’t end there. For producer José Antonio Félez, this is the start of a “new chapter”, as the torch is passed over to Atípica Films.
“At the end of 2008, Prisa [co-owner of Tesela] made a decision to focus solely on strategic business and film wasn’t included in this. So, in February 2009, I sold them my share. I’ve maintained good relations with them. If we find a way to work together, we’ll definitely do it. They were very respectful at all times. I was always able to make the films I wanted, how I wanted and when I wanted”, explains Félez.
But now it’s time to look to the future: “We’re trying to set up Atipica Films. I’m pursuing two avenues of work. On the one hand, I’m trying to secure steady financial support to be able to continue making two films per year. On the other hand, we’re involved in new projects by Daniel Sánchez Arévalo (entitled Primos), Alberto Rodríguez and Rodrigo Sorogoyen”.
These three directors previously worked with Tesela, which creates the idea of continuity: “I think Tesela was a successful experience and I don’t see many reasons to change the model. The principles at the heart of Tesela are still valid for this new stage”.
The productions have several clear characteristics, such as variety (“Tesela’s last year of production gave a good impression of our variety of approaches, with Gordos [trailer, film focus] and After [trailer]”) and the rejection of both auteur cinema that turns its back on audiences (“I think it’s a very arrogant attitude. Something as expensive as cinema can’t afford to do this”) and commercial film (“It makes me sad to see films that don’t seem to have a father figure”). As far as Félez is concerned, “it is perfectly possible to make a film that has both a definite subject matter and appeals to audiences. If the aim of cinema is to inform society that something is happening, you have to make sure they see it”.
One of the main characteristics consists of “working with new directors who are also screenwriters and building a strong relationship with them”, as in the case of Rodríguez, Achero Mañas, Sánchez Arévalo and Santi Amodeo. “[Producing a film] is a unique job. You have a very close, intense and long relationship. Instigating a relationship as an adult is always difficult, but I think it makes things a lot easier. It can work perfectly as a mirror of the other”.
Félez also stresses the importance of preparation: “I’m a great believer that films should be prepared well, from a financial point of view too. The director must have enough time to work with the actors and plan the film. There is always a proportion of unforeseen factors, but this can represent 10-15% of the film. If the remaining 85-90% is planned out, everything progresses much more quickly; everybody knows where they have to be. I don’t think this stifles creativity; on the contrary, it encourages creativity, as it allows you more time for those moments when it’s worth exploring further”.