Tuesday, February 6, 2018

"The mystery of the King of Kinema" in FILMIN

Now you can watch my last film, "The mystery of the King of Kinema", a documentary about silent film pioneer Max Linder and his daughter, Maud, in FILMIN. The movie won the Special Mention of the Jury in the Gijon International Film Festival.


The film tells the story of a man and his daughter. Max Linder was the first movie star. He was known as "The King of Kinema". He was forgotten after his death, and his films lost. Maud Linder was his daughter. For 80 years she struggled to find the films her father made and to recover his legacy. Maud passed away last october 2017.

About the film

Maud Linder is quite a fascinating person. Because of what she is, and because she is the daughter of Max Linder. One of the most successful comic actors of the silent film era, Max Linder starred in more than two hundred films, most of which he wrote and directed himself. In 1912, he was the highest paid actor in the world, earning an astonishing one million francs that year. Max developed one of the most memorable presences the cinema had known in its short history and was worldwide famous. Pathe gave their most famous star the unique title of “The King of Kinema”.

Linder influenced everyone from Mack Sennett, Stan Laurel, Buster Keaton, Harold Lloyd, Charlie Chase and Charlie Chaplin to Fatty Arbuckle, Abbot and Costello, the Marx Bros or The Three Stooges. Chaplin wrote, as a dedication on a photo: “For the unique Max, the great master—his student Charles Chaplin.” But Max Linder failed to really conquer America. We have discovered some lost Max Linder films, and proved that some of his “disciples” copied, rather than borrowed, entire fragments of his works.

The War came and killed the European hegemony in motion pictures. And Max suffered mental sequels of his war experiences. As a possible consequence, Max Linder and his young wife killed themselves in 1924.

Now Max Linder is sadly forgotten. Many of his films have been lost forever, but Maud, now 89, has dedicated her life to rescuing her father's oeuvre. A lifetime struggle and an inexplicable love for a father who left her without parents when she was 15 months old. This film tells the story of Maud and of Max, and the story of the love/hate relationship of a daughter with the long lost father she never met. Through a rich visual edit and fascinating narration told by many voices (Maud Linder, Jean-Claude Carriére, film historians, fans, psychologists, and... Max Linder himself) we'll try to throw light on this mysterious tragedy. The Max Linder mystery.

The Mystery of the King of Kinema.

(Written by Margaret Nicoll, Executive Producer, from her introduction about the film)

...But the festival has much more to offer, from workshops with filmmakers to sections dedicated to local productions. In fact, one of the best films shown in Las Palmas this year was directed by local director Elio Quiroga, an astonishing documentary about the legendary French comedian and silent-era pioneer Max Linder, The Mystery of the King of Kinema, which was shot all over the world but funded in the Canary Islands, starring his only daughter, Maud Linder.

(Gabriel Lerman, Golden Globes member, writing about the film, when in competition in the Las Palmas International Film Festival)

Note: FILMIN works in Spain and Portugal territories only. The film is in its original version: English with subtitles in Spanish.

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

An interview about "Home Delivery"

12 years ago, Shawn S. Léalos interviewed me about my short film "Home Delivery".

I have found the interview and copied/pasted it here for your eyes only   :-)

"HOME DELIVERY" (Elio Quiroga)

He is the man behind Home Delivery Dollar Baby Film.

SKSM: Could you start with telling me a bit about yourself? Who are
you and what do you do?

Elio Quiroga: I’m born in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria (Canary Islands),
studied information engineering and participated in the development of
the Jaleo software, one of the most important digital post production
programmes; he has directed publicity throughout 7 years (spots,
institutional, industrial, tourist, architectural, etc) through his
own production company and agency Frame+Frame Films, where he also
created campaigns and designs of corporate image; he has carried out
works of experimental electronic music, short films in various
formats, videoclips, as well as videoinstalations and videocreations
presented at numerous international festivals of electronic image,
such as Expo ’92, Arco or the Bienal of Moving Image: Spanish

He received his film training from directors such as Pilar Miró and
Joaquim Jordá, scriptwriters such as Joaquín Oristrell, Lola Salvador
or Robert McKee, experts in film marketing such as John Durie and Pham
Watson, actors’ directors such as Miguel Ponce, Federico Castillo or
Tony Suárez – plus five years as theatre actor in companies in the
Canary Islands – and technicians such as Félix Bérges or Julio

He has acted as member of the Jury in international festivals like
Sitges and taught seminars on script development for the Sundance
Institute. In addition, he is an official advisor to the Government of
the Canary Islands on the creation of autonomous programmes of
audio-visual studies and is a member of the Spanish and European Film
Academies. He currently manages his own production company, Eqlipse
Producciones Cinematográficas, which also carries out development of
software for entertainment and applications to the World Wide Web.

He has published Mar de Hombres, Ática y El Ángel del Yermo, which
received the Award for New Writing in the Canary Islands. He also
published La Música y el Cine, and collaborated in the collective book
Luchino Visconti: Los Senderos de la Pasión for the Canary Islands
Film Library; He is currently putting the final touches on the essay
La Materia de los Sueños, which has won the Accesit Award for Essay
(DMR Consulting 2003).

Quiroga is the director and writer of the controversial feature film
“Fotos” (http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0116346/) which was awarded Best
Script and the Jury’s Special Award at the Sitges International Film
Festival in 1997, where it was enthusiastically praised by Quentin
Tarantino; it was nominated to the Méliès D’Argent for Best European
Fantastic Film, to the Corbeau D’Or at the Brussels Film Festival, as
well as to the Fotogramas de Plata (Awards voted by the readers of the
most important film magazine in Spain).

He is currently working in the prost-production of his second feature
film as director, “La Hora Fria” (“The Cold Hour”)

SKSM: When did you make Home Delivery? Can you tell me a little about
the production? How much did it cost? How long did it take to film it?

Elio Quiroga: The fil was made from 2003 to 2005 in free times of the
animation studios involved. The budget has been around 180.000 Euros.

As far as the visual aspect is concerned, I’ve set out to direct this
short film with intelligent and innovative use of camera movements.
Currently, advanced use of computer tools in the process of
traditional animation allows us an amazing level of freedom for the
animator’s camera, which in the past was limited by the capacity of
the animation stands. This way, we can now use traditional animation
backgrounds as three-dimensional objects which gives us, with the
addition of a third dimension, a new universe of expressive resources
for the creators.

From the beginning, this project has been conceived as a synthesis of
“the best of both worlds”: traditional animation craftsmanship and
computer generated images. The fact that the studios responsible for
both these aspects of the film work hand in hand is absolutely
fundamental to obtaining satisfactory results without an of those
errors which stem from lack of coordination. This work would be much
more difficult if it were done by two separate studios. Fortunately,
La Huella Efectos Digitales and Sopa de Sobre Studio have been working
hand in hand for almost 10 years, complementing each other in the
language, techniques and characteristics of both worlds of animation.

However, the work has been extremely hard, especially for the
traditional animators. The extraordinary freedom that computer
generated backgrounds give the camera, which jumps over the third
dimension transforming the backgrounds from flat objects into three
dimensional worlds, greatly complicates the job of the traditional
animator who must adjust his shot by shot hand-drawn characters to the
camera’s positions and movements.

One of the most amazing experiences for me has been the day to day
work that I have done with Sopa de Sobre and La Huella Efectos
Digitales over the past two years (during the time I could spare from
other commercial projects). Witnessing how a group of animators headed
by Jérôme Debève, Juan Antonio Ruiz, Miguel Martínez, César Leal,
Santiago Verdugo, Antonio Lado, José Ramón Alonso, David Escribano or
Régis Barbey have managed to create this little short film.

Watching an animator sketch free hand and appreciating how the
animation flows, literally, from his hands or how a 3D model maker can
transfer a series of polygons on to a textured, illuminated and
“navigable” scene, is an absolutely fascinating learning experience.

SKSM: How come you picked Home Delivery to develop into a animation
movie? What is it in the story that you like so much?

Elio Quiroga: The idea came in the first adaptation stages; i thought
this was the best way to translate this tale in images. The tones of
dark comedy of the tale seduced me basically.

SKSM: How did you find out that King sold the movie rights to some of
his stories for just $1? Was it just a wild guess or did you know it
before you sent him the check?

Elio Quiroga: I had no idea. I worked firstly in a good adaptation in
spanish, a good translation of the script, and a graphic dossier
explaining our visual approach, etc.

SKSM: Was there any funny or special moment when you made the movie
that you would like to tell me about?

Elio Quiroga: Lots. People in La Huella and Sopa de Sobre are close
friends and we enjoy working very much. But most of the problems were
on the financial stages… I wrote a short story of the production I
paste you here. Hope you find it interesting.

It has been three years since I had the idea of adapting a tale of
zombies into an animated short film. Three years. And we have just
finished the short. It seems impossible. Three years of work for ten
minutes of animation. But that’s the way things are. Everything takes
its time, specially animation. Home Delivery is a short story, 30
pages long, that tells a savage social parable and to distil that down
to 10 minutes is not easy.

That was the first part of the job, of course, writing a short script
that held the essence of the story. Doing without episodes and
characters, trying to get to the meat of the story. While I was doing
this, around January of 2002, I called an old friend who lives in
Barcelona, Javi Rodriguez, one of the best illustrators I know, and
asked him to help me design the characters, the backgrounds, and the
atmosphere of the short film. With all that material and a finished
script, I took the next step: I asked the author of the story, Stephen
King, for authorisation to make the film.

But there was a small detail left: to find an animation studio and
finance the short film.

By the time I met Jérôme Debève, Juan Antonio Ruiz, Miguel Martínez,
Santi Verdugo, David Escribano, Jota, Antonio Lado, Marga Obrador and
other members of La Huella Efectos Digitales and Sopa de Sobre Studio
I was desperate: I had spent a lot of time searching for an animation
Studio in Spain that was capable of creating a short film like Home
Delivery, with the characters drawn in traditional animation and
backgrounds created by computer, but to no avail.

I visited a few studios, some of them looked at me as if I had escaped
from a mental institution: What is this guy doing? He made a film in
the style of Buñuel and Almodovar and now he wants to get into
animation. Go get a proper job kid, and don’t stick your nose where
it’s not wanted. Others simply declined to get involved in the project
through polite letters. By then, I had already started to send letters
asking for permits related to the short. REM had answered immediately,
granting the rights to their song “It’s the end of the world as we
know it (but I feel fine)” to the production for free.

That’s why my meeting with Jérôme and his people, organised by my good
friend, Luis Sanchez-Gijon, was my last chance. And they were exactly
what I was looking for. They were experts in combining traditional
animation with 3D animation, they knew what they were doing, they were
the best in the country. So then I asked them for a budget, of course.

200.000 Euros, without counting their own investment. Where was I
going to get the money from? They began working on the project
immediately, but it was my turn to do my bit, to find the money.

My production company is small. I could invest a third of the money
but I had to find the rest. And the rest was an odyssey. But, one has
high expectations: I have a short film project with Stephen King and
REM music, who wants to invest? One at a time please!

In Spain, nobody.

When the first official subsidies started to fall through, I told
myself: “Don’t worry, this is just temporary”.

But after a year of refusals, I started to get seriously worried. It
was obvious that the short wasn’t politically correct in Spain, that a
zombie story plus animation wasn’t what the director generals of
culture wanted, so I forgot about that alternative.

So I went after a loan. With the investment and a loan I could finance
two thirds of the short. I was almost there… But it took a year to get
the loan. Miguel Martinez would ask me how the money thing was going
every two weeks. We had separated the production payments into
instalments, so we could finance each stage and I had invested
directly in the first two. With the loan, which finally arrived thanks
to the Obra Cultural de Caja Canarias, I managed to pay for another
third of the production. But the final third was still missing.

At La Huella / Sopa de Sobre work on the short never stopped, but it
was done during free time. At several different times, they must have
run some considerable economic risks, going over their percentage,
taking on reinforcements, working during the times they got a respite
from publicity work, working through hours when they should have been
asleep…. during two years.

There were some really difficult moments. Like when we ran out of
money… completely. Neither them nor I had a single cent, and we still
had to finance the final third of the budget. That’s when Claudio
Utrera, director of the Las Palmas film Festival came to the rescue.
He brought in some of the money we needed through the Las Palmas City
Council. Then, the Canary Islands Government and the Cabildo de Gran
Canaria put in a little more and we managed to close the budget in
extremis, abusing Stephen King’s generosity. I will be eternally
grateful to him for his patience.

During the months I spent working side by side with the animators at
Sopa de Sobre and La Huella, I have admired their work, I have seen
how from a few sheets of paper and some blue pencils characters are
born, people who become alive, even if this time it’s zombies. I think
I have found friends that last, a group of good people that make art
and take it easy.

Even during the hardest times there has always been a smile, a “we’ll
resolve it, don’t worry”, and, of course, the indispensable after
lunch network game of Medal Of Honor… this, sirs, brings people

So, three years have passed. A hundred kilos of paper, 200 pencils, 60
gigabytes in designs, sketches, tests, animatics, storyboards, 100 Kw
of electricity, who knows how many hours when we should have been
sleeping, a few new grey hairs… and during all this Alba was born, a
daughter for Miguel Martinez and Lucia. So, we’ve been though

And there’s also Alfons Conde, a lovely guy, a genius of music with
unlimited patience who has composed a wonderful soundtrack, stealing
time from his own work and making a gift of his score… and the people
at Image Line, the transfer to film, and Nacho Royo, who makes music
out of sound effects… Nacho, Pelayo, you have enormous talent and are
the best of people… and Josep Maria Civit, one of the best directors
of photography in the world, who has given us the tools to create a
unique atmosphere, and Francesca Nicoll and Jeff Espinoza, the voices
behind the characters, friends, thank you. And Emilio Gonzalez Deniz…
I’ve really given you a hard time with this… thank you my friend.

Home Delivery has been on the verge of stopping at least twenty to
thirty times. Due to a lack of money, a lack of time, refusals from
this guy and the other, but we made it. Well, it’s only ten minutes of

We must do it again.

SKSM: How does it feel that all the King fans out there can’t see your
movie? Do you think that will change in the future? Maybe a video/dvd
release would be possible?

Elio Quiroga: It depends basically on the ideas about it of the legal
representatives of Mr. King. I hope in the future they make some
public release. It is a good idea in any case. Fortunately, Guillermo
del Toro has helped a lot to make the short more visible, specially in
Festivals, thanks to his “Guillermo del Toro Presents” label which he
has generously given to the short.

SKSM: Did you have any personal contact with King during the making of
the movie? Has he seen it (and if so, what did he think about it)?

Elio Quiroga: No. I have contacted with his representatives. I know he
has seen it, and he likes it!

SKSM: Do you have any plans for making more movies based on Stephen
King’s stories? If you could pick – at least – one story to shoot,
which one would it be and why?

Elio Quiroga: Yep, but we are in a very early stage. I prefer to keep
it for myself… :-))

SKSM: Thanks for taking the time to answer my questions. Is there
anything else you want to say to the fans that read this interview?

Elio Quiroga: Hope you see the film. It’s very short, but a work of
love. Hope you like it.

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Last days shooting "Sirena Negra"

As I have posted previously, our short film adapting the play "Sirena Negra" written by Vanessa Montfort for the project "Hijos de Mary Shelley" is now in its Festivals running, and doing pretty well! Here are a couple of photos from the last shooting days in Madrid...

A "secret" screening with the people of La Huella. We use to do that to have fresh feedback from the early editing versions. Left to right: Régis Barbey (colourist), Luis Sánchez-Gijón (behind Régis, editor and AD), Jérôme Debève (Producer and VFX supervisor), Jorge Muñoz (CGI artist), Juan A. Ruiz (Producer and VFX supervisor) and Iván Lopez (video artist and Flame specialist)

On location, preparing the shooting for next day. Left to rift: Juanlo Prada (Production director), Lati Maraña (DOP) and Luis Sánchez-Gijón (Editor,VFX designer and AD)

Luis Sánchez-Gijón (Editor and AD) with Lati Maraña (DOP) and me in the foreground :-)

The shooting day, Juanlo and Luis

Preparing a shot. Between Luis and Lati is María Gestoso (Camera Assistant)

Shooting a... sewer

Here is Áyax López Alavés, son of Iván, who has a little but important role in the film

Juanlo spending time with Ayax

Juano in a pause of the shooting

Shooting some effects footage in my apartment

By the end of the day we shot some wide shots in the Azca area

María with Lati

Suddenly the rain came and helped to have some wonderful shots

Juanlo by the end of the last day

The next morning, in La Huella, Lati and Luis

A limited screening of the film a couple of days later. Left to right: Vanessa Montfort (author), Ruth González (the star of the film) and Luis Antonio Muñoz (score composer and sound designer of the play)

Here we are, after the screening

The making of the previous photo :-)

Monday, August 8, 2016

Shooting a Pilot

Here are some images of the interviews shooting for the pilot of a new documentary series we are working on. Can't say any more for now... It's a fascinating project, by the way. 

In the photos, series director and writer Luis Sánchez-Gijón, DOP Lati Maraña (AEC) and Make-up artist Beatriz Faura during the shooting at Blueberry Studios, Madrid.

Photos by Gonzalo Arroyo.

Saturday, June 11, 2016

Painting auction

Here’s the link for the auction of my painting “Avaricia” (”Greed”) in Duran Arte y Subastas, Madrid. It was painted in 2013 in homage to actress Zasu Pitts, star in “Greed”, a 1924 silent classic film directed by Erich Von Stroheim. I painted it on a digital print obtained from a xerographic process I used as a High-pass filter. Auction open until June 23rd.

Sunday, May 8, 2016

"Science Gossip" rocks!

A piece of news! Our series "Science Gossip" has been nominated to the Rockie Awards 2016!!

"Science Gossip" is a 13x7' animated series about the lives of well-known scientists under a funny prism. Here's some info.

If you are interested, please don't hesitate to send me an email. International sales are still open!   :-)

Thursday, April 28, 2016

A Commercial for Danone

A couple of months ago, I directed this animated commercial for Danone in Spain. The character design and voice are by Joaquín Reyes. Animation by Sopa de Sobre.