What was the trigger for the movie? How would you define gender?
The film combines two major genres such as thriller and horror, but at the same time two more specific sub-genres such as journalists’ films and occult films. The movie is full of things that I like separately, movies like “All the President’s Men”, “The Long Night of Francisco Sanctis” or “Rosemary’s Baby”, only put together in a way that aims to generate something of their own. I really wanted to make a film with hero journalists, which I love, and I thought that a threat like the one they face in “Historia de lo occult” would make it easier for me to bring together different archetypes and styles of journalism before a goal in common that it was credible, strong and threatening.
Why did you choose to take place in 1987?
As a movie buff, 1987 represents for me a great year for horror movies. Several of my favorite movies were released that year, which I had already played with in my series “The Kirlian Frequency.”
Why did you choose black and white and the changes in the aspect ratio?
Since we started planning the film, we have tried to make it unique by all possible means, but not so much because of the idea that the original is a value in itself but rather thinking about the festivals to which we aspired. We wanted the film to have certain things that were, if not unique, at least distinguishable, so that its potential viewers could easily identify it and then, at best, recommend it. Of course, with these guidelines in mind, when I began to write it these elements, a priori superficial, became an essential part of the narrative. The changes in the aspect ratio were already given from the idea of the live television program, only then the same thing happened as with black and white and they ended up being part of the story.
What programs or type of journalism were you inspired by? How much did these programs influence aesthetic and narrative decisions?
For the characters of the production team I read some journalistic investigation manuals, national and outside, and I also read the book that Woodward and Bernstein wrote on Watergate. I worked for a few years on a news channel, so there was something of the human dynamic between the characters that came out of there. As for the air, the main references were “Hora Clave” and “Tiempo Nuevo”. I really like to review national television archives of the 80s and 90s, and I feel that those programs ended up being much more representative of television at that time than others with which I would surely feel more ideologically comfortable, such as “The Other Side” or ” The Argentine Monitor ”. Not only the art and the sets obeyed these references, but the acting register of those who participate in those segments, and the dramatic arc, which was structured around the four acts with commercial breaks.
The film talks about themes that seem recurrent in the national present, such as the future of the economy, wiretapping, corruption, agreements. Is Argentina like a movie in a loop in which the themes are repeated cyclically?
There is something to that, and I think the film comes to comment on it sideways. Luckily we have been avoiding military coups, which for many years were part of that cycle, but I also feel that we are constantly repeating behaviors that tend to work against us in the long run.
How did the idea of the false commercial about tourism in the Malvinas or that “The Exorcist” star Andrea del Boca?
In both cases I wanted to choose motifs that were well known and easily identifiable as alternative. The film proposes a kind of alternative universe or uchrony, in the style of “Fringe” or “Watchmen”, and in both works a lot was always played with alternative brands, events or characters to indicate that singularity.
What makes you as a filmmaker to premiere on a streaming platform?
When we finished the film and started meeting at festivals, we dreamed of traveling and seeing the film in theaters with an audience, but Covid got in the way of our plans. However, online festivals allowed our potential audience to multiply and grow a lot. In Mar del Plata, for example, if we had been in theaters, 300 or 400 people would have seen us, but from virtuality we had 4000 entries, many times with more than one spectator per entry. With Netflix I think, I hope, something similar is going to happen. Also, almost half of the film takes place on a television show, so I don’t think it’s bad that people see it like that, at home. Either way, we are going to have a kind of revenge because “History of the Occult” is going to be released in theaters in France next year.
Did streaming, during the pandemic, acquire a new status for the audiovisual industry?
Definitely. I think it has become the center of your favorite home entertainment, a way of escape and comfort. Even now, when it’s gotten safer to go back to theaters and such, several movie studios insist on hybrid releases, so there must be some of that.
How did you get to that crossroads of thriller, supernatural horror and suspense genres?
In general, everything I write is a mixture of different things, which I like separately. It is a mechanism that has gained a lot of space in the last decades, there are almost no pure genres left, or at least not in the proposals that I consider the most interesting. Anyway, there is something about our mix in particular that I could identify as the result of being a staunch fan of “The X-Files.” As early as 93, they combined Watergate with alien invasions. Fans of horror and this type of cinema, I think that we are not only very predisposed for this type of games but we also look for them.
What other projects do you have?
In the most immediate, this October 31 we premiered the last two episodes of “The Kirlian frequency” on the Flixxo platform, which also joined as co-producer of the series; I was also writing a feature film with Lupa Films, a Brazilian production company; And now that the premiere is over on Netflix, I want to start writing something that I have in mind since before the pandemic.