We had a chance to interview Fran Casanova, a director from Spain, about the subject of film – more specifically his Indiana Jones Fan Films.
This interview was originally conducted in October 20, 2002.
Here’s the links to Fran’s Indiana Jones Movies:
Indiana Jones and the Dagger of Hell
Indiana Jones and the Memories From The Past
Indiana Jones and the Hidden Treasure
FAN FILM FOLLIES (through Christopher Moshier): Would you like to tell us about yourself?
FRAN CASANOVA: I’m Fran Casanova, I’m from Spain, the Canary Islands to be exact. I’m 24 years old and I’m taking my film studies in Madrid where I hope to become a film director some day. Both films are a tribute to George Lucas and Steven Spielberg and the great trilogy they made.
FFF: How about your relationship with Raider.net?
FC: Well with the film made I e-mailed Raiders.net and told them I had a short film of Indy. They immediately became very interested as they had never heard of anyone who had done an Indy fan film. I don’t think I was the first to make one, just the chance I got it to the right people. Many more Indy fan films will start turning up.
FFF: Was your desire to make the fan film a love for the Indian Jones franchise or a great excuse to make an action film?
FC: Really a bit of both actually. The character of Indiana Jones is just great, a figure I really admire and he also is placed in a world so full of adventure. That it is a great opportunity to make a film. I really wanted to keep the spirit of Indiana Jones, make it an adventure film, instead of going for a parody.
FFF: How is Indiana Jones perceived in Spain?
FC: Here Indiana Jones is well known by just about everyone. Even people who haven’t seen the films know who he is. He’s just so iconografic: the hat, the whip – “It’s got to be Indy!” Also people react really well to the fan movies, they accept that its an Indy movie as it’s in the same spirit of the original movies George Lucas and Steven Spielberg did a great job creating the character. Which is so epic, but also human. That’s what makes him so interesting, Indy bites the dust, he gets in trouble, he bleeds – he’s no James Bond.
FFF: What came first, Hidden Treasure or Memories from the Past?
FC: The Hidden Treasure was first. But even before the film started I already had the idea in my mind and I had done various “tests” with my camera, which later on made me take the project of the Hidden Treasure more seriously. I think it’s important to say that Hidden Treasure was the film, which made me take the decision to start studying filmmaking. When I made it I had no idea that I would end up making it my career.
FFF: Why did you only play Indiana Jones in Hidden Treasure and not Memories from the Past?
FC: (Laughs) I did it in the first movie because I didn’t have any more actors. But more importantly I wanted to play the hero, which I love so much. It was a chance I couldn’t let pass. The whole cast is all friends and family, as in most fan films, no professional actors.
FFF: Can you tell us about your other Indiana Jones, Rafa Rodriguez?
FC: Rafa is also a fan and a collector of everything Indy. He’s older than me, nearer Indy´s real age, so he fits in better, it makes the picture more mature. Also I prefer to be behind the camera and directing which is really what I’m after. Being in front and behind the camera takes away part of the good stuff you can do just having one job. Acting or directing.
FFF: Would you like to mention the other cast or crew and how they helped you put everything together?
FC: Well, two of my friends Yone Santana and Daniel Amoedo have always helped me put things together. Acting in both movies and helping in pre and post production. Jesus Diez, helped me edit the second film and add special effects. Also a special mention to my grandfather who played the old Indiana Jones in Memories of the past. And all my other friends who helped me put these films together.
FFF: Where did the props come from? Namely Guns, Blanks (Bullets), etc. I loved the tire rolling by at the end. Classic!
FC: Well, props, A bit of everything actually. All the team had something to do. Everyone would come up with stuff that could go on the film. The jeep for example belongs to my uncle, he’s also the driver, and I just asked him to take part. Also chance has a great importance, we just happened to find the tire on the actual location and it just came along naturally that we had to include it. My family and friends are of great importance in the film and have always supported me. I think they’re actually difficult to convince, but you get to know who you can always count on.
FFF: Great sound effects. Right from the movie. How did you get a hold of them?
FC: Well that’s complicated. You really can’t take the SFX from movies because they usually have soundtrack or voices in the background which spoil everything when you edit. We had to go looking for single sound files, some off Internet and others from CD’s, which have hundreds of different sounds. Fortunately there are people who collect these things.
FFF: Any funny stories or close calls you had from the actual filming of both Memories and Hidden Treasure?
FC: Stories? Wow, enough for two DVD’s and I’m not sure I’d have enough space. So much has happened.
Making these films was an adventure itself; all was filmed on natural locations, so you had to move all the equipment to some really tight areas. Caves, coast, mountain forests – anywhere Indy might have gone for adventures. In Hidden Treasure when Indy got captured by the Nazi’s and he gets hit by a rifle. Well – that hit’s real. Luckily I didn’t break my nose. But we lost a whole week of filming until my nose got back to its original size.
In Memories when Indy traps the “Knife Bandit” with his whip, poor Yone got beaten loads of times by the whip, which was real, until Rafa finally managed to catch him by his feet and pull him down. Also at one moment we asked him to jump when he was caught so he crashed down to the floor, knocking the wind out of him, poor guy.
Loads of problems and unexpected things, which lead us to improvise a lot and tackle problems like the ones you find in a real film. Just like Indy “…I’ll think of something.” But it was always fun; you end up laughing a lot, an unforgettable experience. I’m preparing a video with bloopers an deleted scenes, which I’m hoping to put on the web for the fans. That’ll give you a better idea of what went on.
FFF: Any other plans you are excited about that you would like to share with us?
FC: I’m still learning the business. I try to get involved in all the short films I can, writing scripts to move onto movies and hoping to find someone who will give me the chance to direct, which is what I really want to do.
FFF: Are your Fan Film Movie days over or do you have something else planned for Indian Jones?
FC: I’m hoping to make my third and last film of Indy very soon; I won’t give the surprise away just yet. But I think I have to do one more to close the “trilogy.”
Fan films are a great way of learning and experimenting your own visions of how to direct. Brief clue of what’s going on the initial title of my next Indy film is “Indiana Jones and the Secret of the Templars” and in old cities of Spain, directly related historically to the plot.
FFF: I really beat this question to death in all my interviews, but I think it is an important one. Give me you view on Internet entertainment in regards to films like “Hidden Treasure/Memories from the Past”.
FC: Internet is a media, which takes finding entertainment and the possibility of offering your work to the world. People from all over the globe may of seen my films. It’s shocking to think. Short film web pages are becoming more and more popular.
FFF: What Spanish web site(s) are out there that spotlight small films in that language?
FC: minuto y medio.
FFF: As far as a marketing perspective could you give us an inside insight into what is happening in the world of online entertainment in Spain?
FC: Spain’s still taking off in the world of online entertainment, there are big projects but it’ll take a few more years to get them started. There’s no comparison to what’s going one in the States. Here Internet in mostly used for downloads and looking for web pages.
FFF: You mentioned in emailing each other back and forth that you “made other short films in my career, other shorts films about different themes.” Any information you could give me on those films?
FC: I’ve made various short films with which I tried to try things out and they’re a great way to take off and get experience. “Oportunidad” was a fantastic story highly influenced on the Matrix. “Matanza Máxima” was a fighting, martial arts short film, and tributes to some of my early work. “Tiempo muerto” had production behind it and I had real actors and a crew of people from my film school. It’s the most professional short film I’ve done.
FFF: Do you have any other relevant information you believe would be important to share with us on your future entertainment endeavors or your personal ones?
FC: I think all’s said. I’ll just go on because I want to make this my life. I live for it and nothing would please me more to be living my dream come true.
FFF: I am itching for a new Music CD. Can you suggest one?
FC: “The ultimate movie album” from universal music. It’s a great collection of all time movie soundtracks.
FFF: Give us a book we need to read before our eyes go bad.
FC: “My First Movie” by Stephen Lowenstein. It’s a collection of experiences of great directors on their first films.
FFF: If I could do anything I wanted today I would?
FC: Make a film!
FFF: The person/role model(s) that had the most influence over me to make me the success that I am is/are?
FC: Phew! Steven Spielberg, Hitchcock, Coppola, Zemeckis, Cameron, Riddley Scott…and many great directors. I really aspire to be like these people, but then I suppose everyone in the business does too.
I hope this will answer your questions and if you have any more or if there’s something more you need feel free to ask. I’d like to thank you for your time and I hope hearing from you very soon.
FFF: I thank you, Fran. I am very interested to see your other films and talk to you again about them. I really feel that these interviews with aspiring filmmakers, such as you, will help others who are interested in getting into the field or just someone who would like to add film to their life’s accomplishments. I know you and everyone I have interviewed have inspired me! I thank you again sir and we will definitely do this again.