Interview with “The Bastards’ Fig Tree” Filmmaker Ana Murugarren

Dark Star Pictures has announced a June 4, 2019 digital release for the Spanish Civil War whimsical comedy The Bastards’ Fig Tree.

Ana Murugarren’s genre-meshing masterpiece 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. Karra Elejalde stars.

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 ten 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 sixteen years of age.

-PH: Where do you come from, ma’am?

-Ana: I come from the grave underneath a fig tree…I was checking the actors still playing their rolls…hahaha…just kidding… I come from Spain on the other side of the Atlantic Sea…today a land of freedom, welfare and in many questions ahead of equality, that like the rest of the world these days has to fight with ultra right and ultra conservative parties and movements that are trying to cut the Rights we are achieving.

-PH: And how’s the filmmaking community there?

-Ana: Pretty well. Maybe too much under the dependence of the big communication groups. More private investment will be helpful. But the Spanish stories and movies are special and unique ones in many occasions. Few get the chance to come over to the States, to your theaters first and immediately to the VOD operators.

I’m really happy that “The Bastards Fig Tree” has make it.

-PH: And The Bastards Fig Tree, was it shot there?

-Ana: The whole movie is shot in Spain. We all were spanish so we decided that was the easiest… hahaha

-PH: The film has a wild concept – is it all yours?

-Ana: I think I chose the most surrealistic parts of Ramiro Pinilla’s book and then I took them to the limit. But the whole drama was inside the book. I think I have a very personal sense of humor, very black, very Spanish. And that’s good to narrate stories, good to make movies.

That allows you, like in The Bastards’ Fig Tree, to make something dramatic but pleasant and amusing to watch. Another authorial characteristic I have it’s the intensity of the rhythm. I tend to be vertiginous. That helps. I feel it’s good for the spectators.

-PH: Tell us the pitch you gave to your investors? What sold them?

-Ana: Hahaha… I told them that Guillermo del Toro’s “Pan’s Labyrinth” has made big money…

-PH: Always been a fan of the genre?

-Ana: I’m fan of all genders. Except the melodrama. I can’t stand it. And I love classics too. I think that “Invasion of the Body Snatchers” by Don Seagle, “Village of the Damned”… I have seen them hundreds of times, but also Lubitch’s “To be or not to be” or Billy Wilder’s “ One, Two, Three”.

-PH: Is the storyline personal to you?

-Ana: The Bastards’ Fig Tree is based in something that is part of the Spanish DNA: the long fascist dictatorship that subjected Spanish people during 40 years. The wounds open by the Civil War aren’t closed yet.

-PH: What do you love most about making movies?

-Ana: The whole thing! But if I have to choose I would say when I prepare the movie with the actors and the cinematographer. Rehearsals, choosing the sceneries, the wardrobe… are very creatives moments. During the shooting there is to much stress, rush… I have to behave as “General McGarren”… hahaha.

And then in post production… there there is no remedie “ alea jacta est”…hahaha

-PH: What kind of feedback are you expecting from the US?

-Ana: Since I arrived to the Fantastic Fest in Austin last fall the feedback in the US has been really enthusiastic. Even in November the Hollywood Film Festival chose it as best Spanish movie of the year. The feedback has not been possible to be better. You have got the whole feeling of the movie…God bless America!!

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.

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