Home Student Life Exclusive Interview: Film School Alum’s First Feature Competes in the 2019 SITGES Film Festival

Exclusive Interview: Film School Alum’s First Feature Competes in the 2019 SITGES Film Festival

by Mariebelle Alagbate

Film school alum Juan Diego Escobar Alzate heads to the 2019 SITGES Film Festival’s main competition with his first feature film, Luz.

And we say not bad. Not bad at all.

We were lucky enough to have him answer some questions in an exclusive interview, talking about this project, how Academy of Art University contributed to his artistic development, as well as the filmmaking challenges he had to overcome while creating Luz.

In case this is the first time you’re hearing of the SITGES Film Festival, it only happens to be the Oscars equivalent for the horror and fantasy genres. So as far “big deal film fests” are concerned, this is definitely one of them.

Among the previous contenders of the Oficial Fantástic Competición include topnotch filmmakers such as Darren Aronofsky (Black Swan), Guillermo del Toro (Pan’s Labyrinth, The Hobbit: Desolation of Smaug, The Shape of Water), Takashi Miike (13 Assassins, Ichi the Killer, Audition), and Park Chan-Wook (Old Boy, The Vengeance Trilogy).

Introducing Luz

Luz, written and directed by Alzate, tells the story of how a small mountain community, led by a preacher named El Señor, faces destruction and redemption upon the arrival of a child believed to be their messiah. As the events unfold, El Señor’s three daughters grapple with their own questions on God’s origin; pleasure, love, femininity, inner freedom, and ultimately, the Devil.

Poster of Luz by Juan Diego Escobar Alzate

As Alzate himself describes the film and his inspiration for it:

I love nature and heavily believe that the world is build up by dualities. I had ayahuasca previous the writing of the script and through it I connected deeply myself with the spirit of nature. I don’t believe in God at all but I do believe in Spinoza’s idea of God.

Through those times I began to think about a story and was finally when the idea behind Luz crossed my mind. Luz is a nostalgic, intimate and poetic portrait that addresses and deepens issues such as faith, hope, purity, love, femininity and the deep communion that exists between man and nature.

What’s the Big Deal?

Understandably, he is very excited about being selected for SITGES:

Most filmmakers dream about the Oscars, but not me; I have been always a horror film geek and a fantasy freak. I devour this kind of films since my early childhood and I began to dream of SITGES since a very early age.

For me being selected to premiere my debut feature film Luz, or Luz: The Flower of Evil, which is the name that the film will receive in North America, is a dream come true. SITGES is like the Oscars for genre and fantasy films and directors. There is nothing like it in the world.

Meanwhile, he gives a shout-out to some of his professors in Academy of Art University, whom he credits for helping him with his creative growth:

Nothing in the world of arts is what people tell you is correct. Sometimes being wrong is right. San Francisco opened my mind a lot and it was pretty open back then. Academy of Art helped me to explore myself as an artist, and professors such as Donna Laemmlen, Kris Boxell and Mark Kohr I loved and still.

Head over to the Academy’s main website for the full interview, watch the trailer, and know more about Alzate’s Luz.

The 52nd SITGES International Film Festival is happening in Catalonia, Spain on October 3-13, 2019.


Ready to pursue your filmmaking career like Juan Diego Escobar Alzate? Apply now at the Academy’s School of Motion Pictures & Television. Our admissions representatives are also ready to provide answers when you request information on our degrees and programs.

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