Originally published on metropolis.co.jp on September 2009
Where are you from and what brought you Tokyo?
I am from Madrid and I came on a Monbusho Scholarship to study for a master’s degree at the Tokyo National University of Fine Arts and Music.
What kinds of events have you been involved in during your time in Japan?
I did the program of Spanish and Latin films for many international film festivals around the country. During Expo Aichi 2005, I was the cultural events coordinator for the Spanish Pavilion. I also organized cultural events for the Spanish government.
Tell us about the Latin Beat Film Festival
After many years here, I realized that many people in Japan were interested in Latin culture: language, salsa, samba, flamenco, tango. There were many language schools and music events, but there wasn’t a film festival. So I started to call a bunch of people and companies that I knew in Madrid. I managed to get some funding, so I started up the festival. That was September 2004. Luckily, I opened with Bad Education, the film that opened Cannes Film Festival the same year. The producer of the film came, as did most of the diplomats from Spain and Latin America. I had no money to hire a bartender, so I did it myself with the help of three Peruvian drag queens as waiters. Of course, they went around in formal waiters’ uniforms: boring, painful, but very decent for the occasion.
Who have been some notable guests at past festivals?
We have around eight high-profile guests per year. Most of them are big celebrities in our countries—producer Agustin Almodovar, Mexican actor Diego Luna (Terminal, Milk), two-time Oscar-nominated director Carlos Saura from Spain, and Argentinean director Lucrecia Martel.
What are the highlights of this year’s festival?
I am this festival’s mother and father. Do you think a good mother or nice father would be able to choose who is the best among their children? I choose the best films from each country, and I try to bring a variation of themes. So, hop on the web, read the synopsis and choose for yourself.
What’s your recipe for a perfect day in Tokyo?
Depends on my mood. I never miss the last day of LaForet Bazar (www.laforet.ne.jp). I like the frenzy, the noise, the youth. Or a walk in the woods of Meiji Shrine. Both are very close to my home and fit my different moods.
What’s one thing everyone in Tokyo should do before they leave?
Pachinko. I have never done it, but I will do before I leave. At least once.
For more information, see www.hispanicbeatfilmfestival.com.