Lonely Planet follows Julia, a professional travel guide writer, as she ventures to Barcelona for an assignment. Always on the road, Julia spends all her time focused on her career. A chance encounter leads her to Pau, a relaxed Barcelona local, who soon finds out that Julia never commits to anything or anyone. And he proposes to change that by setting a time limit to their relationship.
6 questions with Lonely Planet director, Alex Burunova at the half-way mark.
Wednesday, July 19th, 2017
1Hi Alex! Thanks for being a part of our festival. First, what was the initial seed that inspired you to make Lonely Planet? It really was a spark of inspiration that started Lonely Planet. I was visiting Barcelona, walking the old streets, meeting Spaniards, having coffee at street cafes and that's when I started thinking about impermanence. Time there seems to stand still and people have such an infectious lust for life, and that's what inspired Lonely Planet.
2You leads, Nadine Nicole Heimann & Roger Batalla have such a great chemistry together. Did you cast based on chemistry, have lots of rehearsals, or are they just wonderful actors? Both!
We had a long casting process trying to match up chemistry and skill and I think we really got lucky with both Nadine and Roger and how much of their heart and soul they were willing to put into the film. We had a full week of rehearsal and yes, they are also very strong actors - so the final combination of all the factors resulted in such a strong on-screen chemistry.
3You co-wrote the script with Ignacio F. Rodo. What was that experience like and as a director, how important is the script to you? I love working and collaborating with other talented filmmakers and this collaboration was definitely wonderful. Ignacio is a talented and successful director and storyteller in his own right, he helped originate the idea and develop it to what became Lonely Planet. But after the script was done, I wanted to let the actors improvise and contribute to the story, which enriched it even more. So a good script is a must, but I don't always stick to the words on page, I try to let it breathe and develop organically, in the moment.
4Do you have a lot of experience traveling abroad? What are your thoughts on traveling? Do you think it's a way of getting in touch with yourself and growth, or do you think it's just for people trying to run away? I'm an avid traveler and at this point lost count of all the countries I've been lucky to travel to. I think travel is absolutely a way to grow and get to know yourself. When you are in a new place, in a new country - nobody knows you and nobody has any preconceived notions or expectations. You can really rediscover who you are every time you go abroad.
5I love the final shot of the film in the cab. What's your favorite scene and how difficult was it to capture? Ha! There are so many great ones. It was actually freezing when we shot Lonely Planet, so many scenes were challenging. Barcelona cold kind of gets into your bones. But my favorite scene... It's really hard to pick, but I think the one where Nadine looks at the ipad at the end... Or the goodbye scene. I cried on set, and so did a few crew members. It was really special.
6What's next? I have two features in development and preproduction at the moment - one I wrote and which takes place in India - that one is a lustrous Buddhist dramedy. And another one is more like Lonely Planet, it's a hot and steamy romance between two married people who used to date 10 years ago. That one is set in Charleston, SC.
About the Interviewer: Ben Hicks
Ben Hicks is a writer/director and co-founder of Fandependent Films. Ben is currently working on making Fandependent Films awesome and is finishing up his first feature film entitled Kids Go Free to Fun Fun Time which was selected for the 2017 IFP Narrative Lab.
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