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GIJÓN 2021

Andrés Goteira • Director of Welcome to ma maison

“Everyone has their own madness and manages it the best they can”


- The Galician filmmaker has surprised everyone with an unpredictable documentary, starring an actor in search of his favourite director, exposing self-centeredness and other human defects

Andrés Goteira • Director of Welcome to ma maison
(© Carolina Santos/FICX)

Dhogs [+see also:
film review
film profile
was the–provocative– letter of introduction we received from Andrés Goteira (Lugo, 1983), a feature film screened at festivals such as Sitges, one of the stops made along the way by Igor Fernández, the young protagonist of this second film, Welcome to ma maison [+see also:
interview: Andrés Goteira
film profile
, which premiered at the Tierres en France section of the 59th Gijón International Film Festival.

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Cineuropa: You had a project underway called Monstro… (see more here). Is that anything to do with this film?
Andrés Goteira:
No, it’s a different project. Welcome to ma maison starts out as a documentary while Monstro is pure fiction, more of a thriller, more like Dhogs than this new film we are presenting at Gijón.

But the backstory to this documentary is in Dhogs, when he went to Sitges.
Yes, the main character in Welcome to ma maison was one of the journalists at that festival: we met there. He is from Lugo, like me, and his interview with me was very interesting so we agreed there and then to do a documentary, which we created in that Nicolas Winding Refn kind of searching by his greatest admirer. Igor adored Sitges, it became his world, the place where he felt good.

And so in Igor you found your Mr Hyde, a great love, your nemesis… to embark on something as complex as making a film together?
Perhaps I found a younger version of myself, lost and searching, not chasing his dreams and a little out of control. In Igor I saw someone passionate, much wiser about films than me. I saw how he talked about film, his dream, mixing the world of research and interpretation, not afraid of putting himself in front of the camera: someone brave in principle, although later on that courage changed a bit …

But when you met him, you would have noticed that he was a true cinematographic beast, and those changes would surely have played a role in encountering conflicts along the way …
I have 80 hours of raw material with Igor giving me every single possible Igor that exists inside him: he was playing himself and his idols at the same time, he gave you the most private space at all levels, and I found myself faced with something very wide and very complex. The final conflict came about because Igor saw how serious the project was and he asked me what I was going to do with him. At that moment he appeared as a different Igor, someone who was much more protective of himself, and he no longer sent me content like he had before: this journey is interesting, the film shows just the tip of the iceberg.

So it was a live documentary, that moved wherever he wanted to go …
Absolutely. A lot of what I experienced has been condensed, but there are also several masks and layers of egos: there is Igor, myself and even some onlookers who can see themselves reflected in the film; because I talk about the film with the audiences and each person gives me something different, which I find fascinating.

As well as portraying the many faces that we can have, the film also talks about pathological lying … Were you interested in this facet of your film fan friend?
Yes; particularly the dismantling of the lies: Igor loved Nicolas W.R., and we went to Bologna to see him. When he didn’t respond as Igor imagined he would, there started a whole other story. It was interesting how that lie fell apart.

This links up with the expectations that we often build up in our different relationships …
We are all great story-tellers: we create all sorts of things in our minds that are going to happen, but in the end it turns out differently. We are imagination, and if we don’t manage to control those emotions it can be chaos. Everyone has their own madness and manages it as best they can: that is why the film has been good for Igor, as well as for me, and for any sensitive audience who can empathise or identify with it.

The film, which we are not going to label in any way, is also meta-film, as it looks at the relationship between director and actor, almost like a couple in terms of how intense it can be.
Yes, that’s how it was, from start to finish, Igor and I even broke up, but we got back together, not so much in the loved-up phase, but more distant. We both grew up as a result.

So, how is the relationship going now?
Really well. Once the film is finished, you start to get approval and feedback, and you stop self-analysing so much, because there is no way of changing it: you accept it, and you can see that it wasn’t such a big deal to strip off in front of the camera; you look at it differently and everything is much friendlier. This breathed a second life into this relationship of ours.

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(Translated from Spanish by Alexandra Stephens)

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