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Mar del Plata: Fernando Salem on ‘How Most Things Work’

Salem's debut bows at 2015's Mar del Plata Festival

How Most Things Work” marks the first feature made by Fernando Salem. A story about a woman’s road trip on a search for her mother, Salem wanted to look for answers about life, death and love while still making the film fun and entertaining to the audience.
Can you talk about ‘How Most Things Work¡?
“How Most Things Work” is my first film. By chance I started writing this project here, in Mar del Plata in 2006 when I was screening my short “Trillizas Propaganda!” I went to the beach and started a notebook for the film. It was nine years ago. It took me that long to make this film happen. “How Most Things Work” wants to be a very deep film, but in an entertaining way and with great actors. It is a very particular coming-of-age road movie. Celina, the lead character  is looking for her mother, but is also dealing with her adulthood. It seems to me that life is like crossing a desert with incomplete encyclopaedias. We are looking for answers for love, death and apparently there are some things that don’t have an answer and that’s all. We have to deal with it as human beings, we have to live with that feeling of uncertainly. We have been highly influenced by writers such as Roberto Bolaño, filmmakers like Leonardo Favio, Wim Wenders  Milos Forman and Vincent Gallo, painters like Hooper, photographers like Alessandra Sanguinetti, Stephen Shore and William Eggleston. In these nine years of hard work, all the team had time mature the film inside them and people loved the result in this festival.
How is “How Most Things Work” different from “Trillizas Propaganda”?
“Trillizas Propaganda” is about love with a bittersweet feeling at the end. “How Most Things Work” has a very particular universe, like the short film and is about becoming an adult. For me, it is about forgiveness, maybe we learn how to be adults once we understand our parents mistakes. Most of the crew, for example cinematographer Georgina Pretto and  Juan Bernardis (music and sound designer) worked on my first short film and in this film. I believe that each director should have a “circle of trust”  where you can show your weakness or your ideas freely without being judged. It is a strong matter of confidence, I put a lot of energy into building the team, it is very important for me, to make an honest and beautiful movie like this.
Are there similarities between the two?
Both don’t  underestimate the audience and, in the same time invite them to have a nice time, to ask themselves some questions. Both had been made with an enormous amount of effort and love and they want to be remembered. Trillizas made it, How most Things work is in his way.
How does it feel to be showing your debut film?
It’s indescribable. You want to cry, anxiety, happiness, joy, the feeling of arriving at the top of a mountain after nine years of climbing.  It was an unforgettable experience because people reacted in a wonderful way. When the lights turned on, I saw a lot of crying faces. People feel very touched.
What are you hoping people to take away from the film?
That we don’t have answers, that we are all alone, that nothing makes sense, but even so there is something. We don’t know what it it…. but feeling seems to be the answer. We all have loved films, films that we carry in our hearts like we own them. I have mine, my favourite ones that speaks to me, they say like anyone the things I think, they represent my way of feeling. You have yours. This film would love to be adopted as one of those kind of films. The ones the audiences carry along with them while they live.
What do you have coming up?
My next film will be based on a novel called “Agosto” (August) , from Romina Paula. It is a beautiful book, set in Patagonia. I admire Romina Paula’s work: She has a unique voice and is a great writer, actress and theatre director. I’m working very hard on the adaptation.

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