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Iñaki Dorronsoro • Director

The Distance


Iñaki Dorronsoro • Director

Daniel is a young boxer arrested for robbery. In jail he is obliged to do something that he might feel guilty about for the rest of his life. This is the starting point of Iñaki Dorronsoro's feature debut The Distance [+see also:
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. The film is one of ten titles showcasing this year in the Variety Critics' Choice: Europe Now! sidebar at the Karlovy Vary Film Festival.

Cineuropa: Why did you choose such a thriller, such a complex genre, for your feature debut?
Iñaki Dorronsoro: That's the genre I like the most. Thrillers have a clock mechanism, always looking for something or someone, always trying to solve a case… This allows you to tell what you want to tell, to think about fear, about good and evil, and to entertain the audience at the same time. I think it's easier to amuse the public with suspense rather than with a straightforward drama.

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Daniel is a boxer about to win the national title, but something prevents him from getting it. What does boxing represent in your film?
Daniel is a character facing feelings of guilt. When he leaves jail he tries to redeem his sins; he tries to solve all the bad things he might have done and, at the same time, he destroys everything around him. This is a very Christian behaviour: trying to be good, demolishing everything around you and then leaving things worse than they initially were. Boxing has something similar to this Christian attitude. He is the type of boxer who fights at a certain distance, without taking many risks. Once he leaves the prison he changes his way of fighting; he becomes tougher. Boxing is like a metaphor for the character's attitude, for his urge to use pain to try to redeem his sins.

The boxing and action scenes might have made it difficult as a film, which was already difficult in that it is your first work. What do you recall from those days?
The lead actors were young in the business and so was I. We have to shoot those scenes, but, obviously, they were not easy. Perhaps this was not the most adequate project for a debut film, it might give big headaches, but in the end – thanks to a amazing team – we did it. It was hard, but definitely satisfactory. And very intense.

What does it mean for you to be selected for the Variety Critics’ Choice section at Karlovy Vary?
To get your film chosen as one of the ten best European titles seemed unbelievable to me. It was not a box office hit and, of course, it cannot get a prize if people don’t know it exists. When I was told the film would screen at Karlovy Vary, my first reaction was: Where did they see it? It didn't have a long theatrical distribution… It is magical to feel that someone is paying attention and enjoying your work. For me it is important that the audience, the critics and Karlovy Vary liked my film. You have the feeling you have reached part of your goal and that's the greatest joy one can have!

The draft of the new Film Law has been the subject of protests in the last couple of months. What is your view on that?
I know the draft quite well, but I can't take a position because I understand the arguments of both sides. I guess we will have to wait and see. If you understand that the situation is so bad, that piracy have placed us in a situation of extreme fragility, ok, then financing is necessary. But, on the other hand, subventions may turn into monsters and you might hear something like: "Why I am financing a work which was up to you to do?"

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