Interview with Santiago Maza Stern| director of Jab, Jab, Uppercut

5918456_300x300Introduce yourself.
My name is Santiago Maza Stern. I was born and raised in Mexico City but I’ve had the opportunity to live in other wondrous places as London, Buenos Aires, Paris and Malindi, Kenya. I am a big fan of having intense debates with friends and family about any subject, but mostly cinema. I am also passionate about football and music.

When did you start your career as a filmmaker?
I have always felt the drive to tell stories, and when I was in secondary school I realized that for me, the easiest way to imagine and create fictions was through moving image. That summer, at fourteen, I took my first course on filmmaking and since then I have never desisted in such target.

What are your artistic inspirations?
I am always looking for inspiration in the most common places. I like to think of my writing as a form of mirroring my reality so I tend to look for personal insights when I am in the subway, walking on the street or eavesdropping on quotidian conversations.

Favorite Filmmaker(s)
The filmmakers that have had the deepest impact on me are Kusturica, Trapero, Kaurismaki, Iñarritu, Linklater and Kubrick.

What made you write ‘Jab, Jab, Uppercut’?
This short film is my thesis from University. I co-wrote it with a good friend because we wanted to show, in a playful manner, the power of denial of the humankind. When otherworldly events happen in front of us, we have the chance either to run away from what we thought was impossible, or to embrace it.

How long did the creating of the film take?
The script took us about six months to write. From then on, it was a year and a half from the pre-production phase to the screening of the short film –in an unforgettably delightful party with close friends and all the crew members-.

How do you see the role of an independent artist nowadays?
I think that the most important aspect for our generation is to persevere. We have the opportunity to bring into existence our dreams and ideas more easily than in times past and we should seize it. That doesn’t mean we should shoot anything that crosses our minds, but with the proper commitment and passion to our trade, why not?

Screening films online – what are your thoughts about that?
I believe that the most important achievement when you shoot something is to have people watch it and listen to their feedback. If screening online this short film (or any one) helps me find out what someone, especially somebody from far away, thinks or feels about the film, then the project’s natural course is complete. I am convinced that online screenings are something to take advantage of, not to run away from.

Are there any other projects that you are currently working on?
I am currently about to shoot a documentary short film on a Mexican modern tradition and writing a suspense feature script that I intend to direct.

And finally, what do you think about EuroIFC?
I am very grateful of all the attention and interest that euroIFC has given ‘Jab, Jab, Uppercut’ from the first moment. I am looking forward to send them these new personal projects and find out if they enjoy them too.

Watch JAP, JAP, UPPERCUT  and other projects  by Santiago Maza  here.