The Movie Waffler Interview - THE BASTARDS' FIG TREE Director Ana Murugarren | The Movie Waffler

Interview - THE BASTARDS' FIG TREE Director Ana Murugarren

ana murugarren
We spoke to Spanish filmmaker Ana Murugarren about what’s been billed as the next Pan’s Labyrinth.

The Bastards' Fig Tree poster

Ana Murugarren’s genre-meshing The Bastards' Fig Tree provides a fresh, magical exploration of the horrors of the Spanish Civil War, showing both the brutality of war and its ability to inspire hope and change in a broken society.

Near the end of the Spanish War, a trigger happy fascist soldier turns into a hermit and gets caught up in the care of a fig tree after the look in a 10-year-old child's eyes, son of one of his victims, awakes in him the certainty that the kid will kill him as soon as he reaches 16 years of age.

ana murugarren

Do you remember where you were when you came upon the project?

I was finishing the post production of my previous feature film Tres Mentiras (Three Lies) The Bastards’ Fig Tree was a proposal of the producer Joaquin Trincado, but I was captivated by the idea immediately.

What was the initial appeal for you?

The different tunes that the movie has are exactly what makes The Bastards’ Fig Tree a unique and original movie. I’ve decided to tell the story of the horror of the Spanish Civil War from a point of view that ismagical and surrealistic. There are scenes and characters really comical, but always underneath of that humour, there is a tragic feeling. I have to say that I feel proud of having been capable to mix these different tunes.

Did the project change, if even slightly, due to budget or other creative decisions, as the shooting date approached?

I feel that the producer Joaquín Trincado trusted me 100% and gave me all the means he had.

How long of a shoot was it?

There were seven weeks of tough work, with a lot of night shooting and a lot of physical FX rain.

The Bastards' Fig Tree

Was it local? Or were parts of it filmed all over?

The whole movie was shot in the same area. Locations were not far from one another. Except the beginning of the movie when the camera flies looking for and following the car of the fascists.

How different a project do you think this would have been if it were filmed 20 years ago?

I would say that the main difference would have been the photography. 20 years ago, with so much countryside at night, the lightning would have been different. The one we’ve got in The Bastards’ Fig Tree is wonderful.

It would undoubtedly have been marketed a lot differently then, too. Tell us about some of the marketing activities conducted to promote it.

Social media has changed the way the audience gets to know about a movie. That has changed a lot.

Besides, the starring actor Karra Elejalde has a much more powerful relevance then 20 years ago. The spectators know they are going to see a performance work with the stomach, like we say in Spain.

Now he is back to the Civil War in the last film directed by Amenabar. And I can assure you that this is a very particular circumstance. His performance in The Bastards' Fig Tree is outstanding. That’s been very important for the promotion of the movie.

In the US the success in the Fantastic Fest in Austin has been really important. Definitely.

How important is a social media presence for a film?

The social media is fundamental. You will never have the power of the Studios blockbusters but you can connect with a very wide range target audience.

The Bastards' Fig Tree

What’s one thing people probably don’t realise about making movies?

It is impossible for people who have never worked on a film to get an idea of ​​the time it takes to make each shot of the film, or of the number of people working behind the camera. Whenever someone visits a film, they are amazed.

What was the initial goal of the project, for you. Has it succeeded, in terms of that goal, or is it too early to tell?

A feature film from Spain released theatrically in the States is a success in itself. It means that you have made a good movie. Hispanics are part of the US but Spain in Europe is far away from that reality. I would say that above all,  it is a complete pleasure.

Now with Dark Star Pics we are on the promotion for the VOD, coming out next June 4th. It’s very important to me because it’s gonna be a big way to get to a big audience.

What’s the future hold for you?

I will keep on making movies! hahaha. Right now I’m working with the same producer Joaquin Trincado in my next movie, García y Garcia, a fish out of water comedy that we’re to start shooting next February.

The Bastards’ Fig Tree is on Digital June 4th.