Cannes 2017 Women Directors: Meet Marcela Said — “Los Perros”

“Los Perros”

Marcela Said has worked in both documentary and feature films. Her debut feature, “The Summer of Flying Fish,” premiered at the Director’s Fortnight in 2013. She wrote “Los Perros” at the Sundance Screenwriter Lab.

“Los Perros” will premiere at Cannes’ 2017 Critics’ Week on May 18.

W&H: Describe the film for us in your own words.

MS: It’s a film about an unloved married woman who finds solace and comfort in the arms of her riding instructor, a former colonel with a shady past.

W&H: What drew you to this story?

MS: In the beginning, I was inspired by real events. But, what really drew me into bringing this story to the screen was that it offered the chance to reflect on and convey the responsibility of civilians related to the dictatorship’s human rights violations.

W&H: What do you want people to think about when they are leaving the theater?

MS: I would love them to think that the world is much more complex than we believe it to be. We cannot label people as merely good or bad.

I think we are all capable of good and bad.

W&H: What was the biggest challenge in making the film?

MS: Getting my film financed was a real challenge. It was difficult to obtain funding for a story this complex, as the main character is not a hero.

W&H: How did you get your film funded? Share some insights into how you got the film made.

MS: The script received funding from various institutions such as Chile’s CNCA, Cinemas du Monde, which is the French fund for foreign film, Argentina’s INCAA Argentina, and Germany’s World Cinema Fund.

Basically, all the funds were awarded based on the quality of my screenplay. It’s an author-driven film.

W&H: What does it mean for you to have your film play at Cannes?

MS: It’s great. It means they believe in and support my work.

Critics’ Week has always been this special place where they spotlight new filmmakers and new forms of filmmaking. I am very honored to be part of the selection.

W&H: What’s the best and worst advice you’ve received?

MS: The best advice is to write with your gut, with no fear. Be honest with yourself.

I actually haven’t received any [terrible] advice.

W&H: What advice do you have for other female directors?

MS: I would say that being a woman does not make things easier in our field of work. When financing is involved, this male-driven business tends to give the advantage to other men. But we must not give up — and we must trust ourselves.

W&H: Name your favorite woman-directed film and why.

MS: It’s a very difficult question. I would say Patty Jenkins’ “Monster.” I love these unexpected characters, and it’s a great story. Christina Ricci and Charlize Theron are amazing; it’s a very powerful film.

W&H: There have been significant conversations over the last couple of years about increasing the amount of opportunities for women directors yet the numbers have not increased. Are you optimistic about the possibilities for change? Share any thoughts you might have on this topic.

MS: I am very optimistic. I know other women directors, and they are doing great.

I think producers realized we see the world in a different way and tell stories from a feminine point of view, which is something they are not used to. Characters are different, and the storytelling is different.

I am not saying it is any better, but it offers some kind of contrast — and the audience is tired of seeing the same old stories over and over, that’s for sure.