EN ESPAÑOL

TRAILER

SYNOPSIS

Mario is driving under the rain. It's dark in a lonely road.

 

Suddenly he has to stop. In the middle of the way there's a woman. She is disorientated and covered in blood. She doesn't remember where she's been or what happened to her.

 

Mario needs to look for assistance. They stop at the first place they can find: A quiet bar called The Den. People in the bar kindly will help them out.

 

Until the truth starts to surface.

 

By then the bar won't look like a safe place anymore.

CONTACT

If you would like more information, please write to the following address: laguaridaelcorto@gmail.com

DIRECTOR'S NOTES

“The Den” comes from old and new interests that have been seasoned in my mind in the last few years with subjects such as guilt, punishment and redemption. I’ve been always attracted to push the characters to their boundaries, but now in this short film I’m trying to do it in a humanized way, questioning my self how would I react to the situation that the story raises. Those questions are faced by Mario, the main character, a rational and civilized man in contrast with the visceral people he finds in the village.

 

"The Den" is about witnessing something that’s unfair and the helpless feeling of not being able to change it. The theme can be described with a single sentence: “Cemeteries are full of brave men.” And this is why Joan Abelló and me were interested in this story: we wanted to show a hero dealing with a conflict in a way we are not used to (especially American movies).

 

You could say that “The Den” is a story about cowards. Nevertheless, it’s not a story of black and white, good or evil. This is a story interested in the grey areas of a dramatic situation that invites the watchers to wonder what would they do in that position.

 

Finally this story can be seen as a study of the atmosphere in Spain as Franco’s dictatorship was arriving to its end. That was a decadent time, extremely dark and sordid, but still the hope of the changes that were to come could be felt. Progress was finally arriving and the old manners and customs were to be analyzed. The bar could be a metaphor of that old Spain.

REFERENCES

I would define “The Den” as a cross between “Straw dogs” (Sam Peckinpah, 1971) and “12 angry men” (Sidney Lumet, 1957), an intense and claustrophobic drama/thriller that unfolds in a bar in a remote town during the Spanish transition to democracy. As with “Straw Dogs”, this short film aims to show the dichotomy and difference between conservative, rural life and more enlightened, urbane culture, wild versus rational, prudent versus visceral, simple versus complex and folk wisdom in opposition to intellectualism. And as with “12 angry men”, the aim is to create a claustrophobic and tense atmosphere with the various characters enclosed in a single space as they debate the morality of their actions. It is an atmosphere like that of other great films such as “Reservoir dogs” (Quentin Tarantino, 1992) or “Dog day afternoon” (Sidney Lumet, 1975).

 

“The Den” also takes inspiration from Spanish films such as “Furtivos” (José Luis Borau, 1975), “Los santos inocentes” (Mario Camus. 1984) and “El 7º día” (Carlos Saura. 2004). These films enable us to imagine where the story takes place, the setting, its inhabitants and forests. They are films that provide a realistic portrayal of the backwardness, misery, harshness, squalor and filth of rural life in Spain during the dictatorship and the transition to democracy. They show a small, bored community, where nothing bad happens and everyone is friends with everyone else, but they stab each other in the back nonetheless. The films tell of a sexist culture and men's power over women, from paternalism through to men's complete possession of women. The men act on base instincts and spend hours out hunting or in the bar. It is the Spain we see in the paintings of Goya and the writings of Cervantes and Quevedo, of Galdós and de Baroja. A brutish, violent Spain, a destructive Spain, well versed in confronting evil, in meeting drama and oblivion head on.

 

Most of the references I have mentioned have a common thread: they are films made in the 1970s. A unique decade, which saw the emergence of many of my favourite directors and films. It is not accidental that the story of “The Den” is set in the 1970s. I have a soft spot for this era, for this dirty, direct and realistic style, used to deal with seedy themes. The characters in those films were anti-heroes, often loners or losers who wanted to be honourable, but who struggled to survive in a brutal and nihilistic world.

KEY ASPECTS OF THE PROJECT

The script for “The Den” is the basis for the resulting short film. The plot and the characters combine to captivate the reader. Everything in the script fitted together (the atmosphere, characters, themes and plot twists) but when we came to transfer the story to the screen, I knew there were two factors that would be key to drawing the viewer into this story: style and the cast.

 

Luis San Narciso and Diego Martín held the casting for the short film and I was thrilled with the actors they found. This story required very high-quality performances and the actors needed to look as if they had just stepped out of the time and place where “The Den” was set. Actors with class and a sense of truth, unknown faces to give the piece a more costumbrist feel. This was quite a challenge for a short film but, thanks to seven wonderful actors who worked brilliantly together, the film managed to bring the story's intensity and drama to life.

 

The set decoration and costume departments helped create a realistic portrayal of the era the film was set in.

 

The costumes (by Lucía Conty) were created as an extension of each character. Each costume captures not just the setting and the time period, but also each character's personality.

 

The same is true of the set decoration (Aitor and Francisco Almuedo Esteban). If there were an eighth character in this story it would be the bar. And finding it was perhaps one of the most difficult parts of making this short film (and it was a difficult film to make), taking over a year to find the right location. It needed to be a typical Spanish bar of the time (dirty, remote) but that looked like a bar from a Western.

 

A suitable location was found but it was the work by the set decoration department that transformed the bar into one from another era and contributed in large part to the atmosphere of the film. Great attention was paid to detail: old photos, grime and a whole range of extra touches that are so well executed that they pass almost unnoticed.

 

The actors, set decoration and costume design ensured that anyone watching this short film could identify with the bar and its characters.

 

Makeup (Victor Javier Bernardos) was similarly high quality. There are some characters who almost verge on caricature but that the makeup artists' amazing work means they look thoroughly convincing, to the extent that people ask me if certain features were the actor or makeup.

 

Aesthetically speaking the story has been given a more cinematographic style than in "Furtivos" and "El 7º Día", realistic but with touches of a thriller or a Western. As this is a story about characters, the actors took the lead during filming and the camera followed them (except for certain moments which needed to be reinforced with more focused camera work). The aim was to achieve this sense of realism and it was certainly provided by Miguel Leal's photography, situating the film within the genre with a dense and detailed atmosphere using very cinematographic effects (Mitchell Superspeed Baltar, very commonly used in the 70s) and filmed in 2.35:1 (on an Arri Alexa Mini camera).

 

We began with a very classic and sober style (tripod and travelling camera and in framing terms we left plenty of room to breathe) and as we continued we began reducing the framing of the shot and using hand-held cameras to make the style and the narrative feel tenser.

 

Editing (by Martí Roca) was surprisingly quick. The structure emerged in the first edit and then the work involved finding the right rhythm to gradually build the atmosphere. As a process, I greatly enjoyed watching the performances and the story grow and watching the film gradually take shape.

 

Musically speaking, Pau Loewe quickly found the right tone: it is 100% a Spanish Western, meaning the soundtrack will make you think of a Western but with very Spanish touches (I will say no more so as not to give away the ending). Of course music does not only provide context but creates atmosphere and tension. The result is very satisfying.

 

With regards to the sound (José Plaza and Javier Ortega), the approach was similar to the cinematography: the actors led the way, but it needed a very atmospheric feel. It would be true to say that with the added sound (and the colour retouching) the film has improved with each stage.

TECHNICAL SPECIFICATIONS

Title - The Den

Year - 2018

Running Time - 15 minutes

Camera - Arri Alexa Mini

Lenses - Mitchell Superspeed Baltar

Aspect Ratio - 2,35:1

Sound - Dolby Digital 5.1

Language - Castellano

DIRECTOR – IAGO DE SOTO

After finishing his studies at ESCAC (Barcelona Film School), Iago De Soto directed short films such as “Corre” (2002) and “Corre 2” (2003).

 

In 2008 released  “Versus” (produced by 24 Mentiras), his first full length feature. This independent action film was shown for the first time in Sitges International Film Festival and had a long haul in festivals around the world.

 

Since then he has been working as advertising producer / director (nowadays exclusively for Atresmedia).

 

“The Den” is his comeback to fiction.

CAST

MARIO

DANIEL ORTIZ

ÁNGELA

MARÍA HERVÁS

RAFA

FELIPE GARCÍA VÉLEZ

ANTONIA

MONA MARTÍNEZ

MATÍAS

PABLO VÁZQUEZ

PACO

JUAN CARLOS CASTILLEJO

MUDO

JUAN CARLOS LÓPEZ AGUSTINO

CREW

Directed by
Iago De Soto

 

Screenplay

Joan Abelló Sanz

 

Story

Iago De Soto y Joan Abelló Sanz

 

Producer

Iván Pérez

 

Co-Producer

Iago De Soto

 

Executive Producer

Raúl Cerezo

 

Production Director
Laura Mato

 

Casting

Diego Martín

 

Director of Photography

Miguel Leal

 

Production Designer

Aitor Almuedo Esteban y Francisco Almuedo Esteban

 

Costume Design

Lucía Conty

 

Makeup Designer

Victor Javier Bernardos

 

Sound Recordist

José Plaza

 

Sound Design

Javier Ortega

 

Editor

Martí Roca

 

Digital Effects

Mauricio Pellegrinetti

 

Music

Pau Loewe

 

Production Company

El Inquilino Producciones S.L

 

Distributor
YAQ Distribución

CROWDFUNDING DONORS

- JOAN ABELLÓ SANZ

- MARTA PLA MONFORT

- MARINA ABELLÓ PLA

- ÀNGELS GUDAYOL COLOMER

- RAFAEL DE SOTO ÁLVAREZ

- TONI ABELLÓ

- PILAR SANZ

- PILAR ORDOÑEZ

- EDUARDO MARQUINA

- ELISA DE SOTO ÁLVAREZ

- CARLOS MARQUINA

- LUISA HU CHEN

- CHANTADA COMUNICACIÓN, S.L.

- MERCEDES VÁZQUEZ

- MONTSE MOYA

- DAVID COSTA

- FERNANDO MATEOS GUTIÉRREZ

- IGNACIO MUÑOZ ALONSO

- CARMEN DE SOTO

- ISTEBE RUBERTE CERVERA

- DANIEL FOLCH SEGARRA

- MARI CARMEN ABELLÓ

- SEGUNDO NAVAZA BLANCO

- ELISA DE SOTO

- MONTSE ABELLÓ

- PAULA LÓPEZ VALLADARES

- MICHELE SALUCCI

- UBUNTU REFUGALLOS

- ISABEL MONTESINOS

- EDUARDO DE SOTO

- SARA ALONSO ACUÑA

- IVÁN RAMÍREZ

- PALOMA MEDINA OCAÑA

- MIKEL GARMILLA COBANERA

- ESTHER PLAZA LORITE

- CRISTINA VÁZQUEZ YEBRA

- JORGE GOMIS

- FELIPE ÁLVAREZ

- JORDI CASTELLS

- CRISTINA FERNANDEZ MARTIN

- FRANCISCO FERNANDEZ GARCÍA

- MATIES SEGURA

- MONTSE LLABATA ABELLÓ

- JESSICA FERNÁNDEZ

- CARLOS MORIANA

- GUILLERMO LAHOYA

- BERNAT MERCADER

- NATALIA M. CASTILLA

- SmartLogin

- LUCÍA GIUSTI

- VIRGINIA GIUSTI

- ORIOL MORENO MONTESINOS

- AITOR GARAY MOLINA

- LAMBERT BOTEY PRAT

- ANA GAY NOVOA

- HÉCTOR BOTEY COLOMER