Interview with MARCH 2017 winner: David Sarrio

Today we’re asking some questions to film director David Sarrio, whose film ‘POWERLESS‘ won our March 2017 award: FILM OF THE MONTH.

AB – Congratulations on your short film “Powerless” winning film of the month at TMFF. How did you first come about working on this project?

David – It ‘s a long story. First, I developed a web series also called ‘Powerless’. The concept is to tell the story of a super hero who has lost his power and not a super hero who gets his power at the beginning. A guy who lost what made him a super hero in his eyes. I liked to break the concept of the usual Origin story. So, it was the story of Mark aka Force, a popular super hero (with an ego and narcissistic aspect and propensity to violence) who lost his power during a big fight against his nemesis that he tried to kill even if it’s not allowed by the super hero code. Saved by a former super hero, the first one who became a legend, Mark is between life and death at the hospital. Then, he falls into depression and tries to find a way to get back his powers. During this time, his Nemesis escaped from prison. The battle between them is not finished…

It was a kind of modern Abel & Cain story. A mythology story like a classic Marvel, with a realistic approach in characters and situations. It’s an unusual story because we talk about a hero who tries to recover his power before trying to save people until half of the story. A man who acts selfish.

To go forward, I decided to direct a short inspired by this project, a short story which took place in prison. However, I was not satisfied about my script, and it was also expensive. So, I asked my friend Denys Corel to write a new script. Finally, he found a new idea that changed all my project. A super hero who loses his power because he was fired as an employee from a big company. It was a great idea and I decided to let Denys write the new script. Denys is very talented so I was confident.

AB – What were your inspirations behind it?

David – I am inspired by a lot and lot of things. First, Denys wanted to talk about labor society, about learning to be independent, keeping one’s dignity and so on while I wanted to learn how a real super hero without power keeps their dignity when they become nobody. When speaking of dignity, I think of Rocky 1, which was a model for us.

You can also notice a similarity with RoboCop, Watchmen, The Boys, Supreme Power, Rising Star, etc.

AB – Were there any specific challenges you found in directing for the Action/Sci-Fi Genre?

David – Especially when I worked with Anglo-saxons comedians and tried to find good sets to get a kind of comics book city visual. I was excited about these two aspects. But I was mostly concerned about not finding good Anglo-saxon comedians in France. Finally, I found James Gerard & David Gasman, and they were perfect.

AB – How did you first find your way into directing? 

David – I discovered film at a young age with Superman, Amblin movies, Walt Disney movies, etc. I was a lover of science-fiction and horror movies too, I devoured Starfix magazine, Mad Movies magazine (kind of the French “Fangoria”)  and comics books. At the age of 15, I decided to be a movie director.

I found my way with my own will. I didn’t know exactly how to find a job in this industry, the way to be a director.  At a moment, I decided to take the plunge.

So, I earned some money and I produced and directed my first short. A few months before, I met a director who told me it was possible to borrow a camera, find people (not really experimented) who could work with me for free… and I  just needed to be very motivated to finish the short. So, In April 2000, I raised 3000 euros and shot «Daredevil – the teaser» (6 minutes) in Super 35 mm in natural settings. My goal was «to find again the emotions I had as a child when I watched film clips of superheroes». The short film was particularly mentioned in sci-fi magazines, comics magazines, and TV Shows (Canal + TV, 13 RUE TV, etc).  I won the SFX magazine Award for best short film and was selected for the International Film Festivals of Athens, Manchester, Montreal, and so on. And it was just the beginning of a long-term work because of the kind of films I wanted to make. In 2003, I made “Projet Gamma” (produced by Nomad Films), my second short based on Marvel’s character Hulk. I also received congratulations from M.Steven Johnson (Ghost Rider, Daredevil) and Guillermo Del Toro (Hellboy, Blade 2) for these fan-films, along with Louis Leterrier (The Incredible Hulk, The Clash of the Titans):

AB – As a French director, how was it like to work with Anglo-saxon comedians?

David – I guess at one point I followed my intuition. That being said, you need to know what you want and don’t’ want during the casting.  Once I chose my comedians, I talked about the characters with them, I explained what I wanted in term of emotions, meaning and dramatics effects in the scenes.

I also analysed the strong and weak points of my comedians according to what I wanted. At the end, I listened to the melody of words and I observed the expressions on the faces of the comedians during filming. With this approach, I could judge the rhythm and the emotions that I needed.

AB – What are your plans for POWERLESS?

David – I hope the short will get a good life in festivals and a good buzz when it will be available on the web. You know, in this job you are not really decided. You just have dream and you try to be in the right place at the right time.

AB – Do you have any projects up next that you call tell our readers about?

David – Lot of. I’ve got several rough drafts developed with Denys Corel (I repeat, he is very talented), especially of POWERLESS in long version. Other projects: ‘Nightly’, a fantastic/horror script rewrite by David Bourgie, ‘And Endless Time’ a project (synopsis) written with Antoine de Froberville, an atypic post apocalyptic survival film mixed with time travel, which I have been thinking for years. And thanks to Antoine it will go to the next level of quality. We can get to a very good entertainment pop movie quality with this project.

And I also direct commercials.

AB – What advice do you have for other filmmakers wishing to share their stories with the world?

David – When you have to shoot, shoot and don’t talk… and work with good scriptwriters.

AB – How can our readers follow you, and POWERLESS, to stay up to date with all its news?

David – POWERLESS’ Facebook page:

David Sarrio is a film director born in Paris, France.

Article written by Alexa Berry for The Monthly Film Festival



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