Xavier Pijuan Sala
Xavier Pijuan Sala is a cinema director born in Terrassa (Barcelona, Spain). He studied architecture in Barcelona and worked as an architect for 10 years before starting his career transition to cinema. In summer 2012, he decided to take a step forward and leave his full time job to focus on his childhood dream: to become a filmmaker. He studied in the cinema school of Barcelona (ECIB) and this leap of faith soon started to pay off. His short films were selected amongst top of the class and three of them (“Kübler-Ross”, “María Fernanda in time” and “The Great Adventure of Manel and the Magic Toothpicks”) have more than 200 selections and 40 awards in several international film festivals. In October 2016, he, together with Jofre Blesa, set up LABOINA PRODUCCIONS, a little producer company where projects related to theatre, cinema and publicity are run and with which he tries to reach that dream that (almost) all filmmakers have: that one day somebody pronounces the magic words: “and the Oscar goes to… Xavier Pijuan”.
Q & A
If the world you created in your film became a reality, is that a world you would want to live in? Is there a Sci-Fi world you’d buy a one-way ticket to?
Definitely no. In my world the time is repeating every 30 seconds more or less. It would be insane to live in that “world”.
Name a Sci-Fi character you relate to on a spiritual level? Who is your Sci-Fi spirit animal/spirit alien?
Uh. I do not understand the question. What is a “spiritual level”? Do you mean my “favorite” sci fi character? It would be Bill Murray in “Groundhog Day” (I know that this is not a “standard” sci-fi movie, but it has time loops and I love the bitterness character of Bill Murray). Or if you want a standard sci-fi character… maybe C3PO. It was a sparkly idea to have created a robot with anxiety. My spirit alien is maybe the aliens of “Mars Attacks” (Tim Burton movie). I like it design. And my spirit animal… I do not know. Maybe Gizmo or the cockroach of Wall-e.
Friend or Foe: humanoid robots with advanced artificial intelligence? What if robots start making their own Sci-Fi films? Will you support them in their endeavors?
Yes. If they are “good” humanoid robots there will be no problem. I like characters like the child humanoid robot of “AI” (Spielberg movie). In fact… they have more feelings than me :’(
In 1996, Bugs Bunny recruited Michael Jordan and Bill Murray to form the greatest basketball squad of all-time, the Tune Squad; you’re Bugs, who’s on your Sci-Fi Tune Squad?
My others 4 players will be: Marty Mc Fly (Back to the future), Ellen Ripley (Alien), David (AI) and Bill Murray (Groundhog day (I know that this movie is not exactly a sci-fi movie, but it’s my favorite movie of all time)).
You’ve gotta go through some bad ideas to get to the good ones. Tell us one of your bad ideas. How do you get past the bad ones to find your spark?
You refer in my short film? One of the “bad” ideas was that, in the beginning, I wanted that the time loop was only of 5 seconds. I liked the idea of making a short film with thirty or forty scenes of only 5 seconds. But maybe it would have been stressful… and… I didn’t have so many original ideas to make 40 different scenes.
Do you consider yourself part of a sci-fi community? Or when your brain is in the future and your body’s in the present, is that isolating?
I do not consider myself part of a sci-fi community. I like sci-fi movies… but I’m not crazy for that movies. I love cinema in general. The second sentence has made me think. In fact is the opposite. My brain is always in the past (when I was a kid and I have no worries about the money and this type of adult things) and, unfortunately my body is every time more in the future.
Do you consider yourself more of an analog or digital person? What kind of balance do strike between the two? Is there a disconnect between the technology you make films about and the technology that you make films with?
I would like to think that I’m an analog person. It’s more romantic. I love the old technology. But, in fact, I’m a totally digitalized person. I enjoy with facebook and I enjoy mounting with Premiere. I wouldn’t change my Adobe Premiere for an old machine of mounting films for anything in the world. I love the analog technology in a romantic way, not in a practical way. Recently I created a little web series that reflects that love for the old things: L’Homme Triste.
When you’re creating the props and sets that make a new world, where do you look for inspiration? How do you create objects that are relatable but unfamiliar?
I search the inspirations in my favorite sci-fi movies. For example… the time machine of my short film is (more or less) R2D2.
Lightning round: Star Wars or Star Trek? Philip K. Dick or William S. Burroughs? Practical or CGI? Dystopia or Utopia? Post Apocalypse or Pre Apocalypse?
Star Wars (i never has seen the original Star Trek series). Philip K. Dick (but my favorite sci-fi book is the “Foundation series” of Asimov). Practical. I enjoy all pre-cgi sci fi movies. Like Alien or original Star Wars. And I enjoy seeing the making of of that movies. The sets, the hand made effects. Awesome! Cgi is more perfect but less pleasant. Dystopia. I like movies with horrible futures. Post Apocalypse.