Quirino Awards | Chelo Loureiro: “In ‘Valentina’ I pay homage to Miliki and his songs”

After winning the last Goya for the best animated film, the film Valentinedirected by Cello Loureiro (Ferrol, 1958) and owned by RTVE, you can get this Saturday the Quirino award for the best Latin American animated filmna.

“I am very happy with the success of the film because it is the first one I have directed and it is a great pride for me -says Chelo-. I always say that It’s the best movie because I’ve had the best crew, and that all prizes go to the team. Since I am a producer, I always support debut directors with a very professional and experienced team. And I’ve done that for myself too, so I’m very happy with everything we’ve achieved with Valentine”.

Chelo has produced almost twenty animation projectsny to the Goya that he got for Valentine we must add the one that won in 2017 by Decoratedfrom Alberto Vazquez. We asked her why she wanted to make her directorial debut with Valentine: “I didn’t want to be a director or a screenwriter, because there are people who do both much better than me. But I wanted to make a children’s film with a different protagonistwho had some type of disability, but that disability was not the leitmotif of historybut one more part of the plot”.

And it is that Valentina has Down syndrome.something inspired by the personal experience that her sister got polio when they were little. “I have lived with disability since I was little and I know that everything we talk about inclusion is a lie. Inclusion does not yet exist; we do not know how to treat children or adults who have a disability. We tend to treat them like children even though they may be smarter than us. And that is very hard for the people who suffer it every day”.

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“That’s why I understood that dealing with this issue was very difficult if you hadn’t experienced it in the first person,” he adds. And also that you have to face it with courage. That’s why I decided to call her Valentina and that she had down syndrome (she is the first protagonist of a film with that syndrome) But I also think that we all, in different ways, have some disability, even if it is not as visible, such as lack of self-esteem, complexes, things that are not noticeable but that can give you work or personal relationship problems.

‘Valentina’ (2021), nominated for the Goya 2022, premiere on December 3

“Children love songs”

As for why she wanted to make a musical, Chelo confesses that: “They warned me that making a musical film was more expensive and also more difficult to sell abroadsince you have to hire singers and doing a dubbing with songs is much more difficult and expensive than a normal dubbing”.

“But I wanted to include songs because there is nothing we like more when we are children than a good song -Add-. And in Spain they continue to sing the songs of the clowns on TV and those of Miliki. How is it possible that children today do not have new songs? That’s why I wanted to create new songs and we’ve even released a CD. And the kids love Valentina’s themes.”

For this reason, the film is also a tribute to those clowns on TV and to songs like The hen Turulecawhich Chelo considers great: “Yes, there are a lot of nods to Miliki. For example, the song Doña Lola and Doña Flores is a tribute to Don Pepito and Don Jose. Because for me Miliki was a genius and Although the children no longer know who the clowns on TV were, they continue to sing their songs. And that’s why I asked Emilio Aragon to write a song for the film, because he has inherited some of his father’s magic for talking to children.”

RTVE.es premieres the trailer for ‘Valentina’

David Pintor designed the universe of Valentina

The person in charge of designing this universe of Valentina was the Galician cartoonist David Painter. “I love his stroke and what he can communicate with his illustrations -says Chelo-. I have a collection of children’s books illustrated by him and I love it”

“I even confess that for me it has been a bit frustrating not having been able to do it in 2D to get closer to its line. But that was a problem because it meant finding a lot of animators who could imitate him and that’s not easy. That is why in the end we decided on 3D and I think that what we have achieved is very beautiful and that it is very similar to what David imagined”.

“The result is very similar to what he designed and he loved it too. And that’s the most importante” -adds Chelo-.

As late as late – ‘Valentina’, the inclusion led to animation – Listen now

“In some countries, women do not fight to lead but because they are not raped”

Chelo has participated in a table of women in animation at the Quirino Awards Forum. And he assures that, although in Spain there is still a long way to go to fight for equality in the audiovisual world, in Latin America it is even worse: “When you talk to people from other countries, you see that inequality between men and women is brutal in all professional fieldsyes I am on the board of directors TOP (Association of Women Filmmakers) and we are also trying to create an organization of Latin American women”.

“Because here -he adds-, we fight to be able to make films, but there they tell us that they have to fight not to be raped at work. Because in many places they are considered bodies, only. But at that table of women in animation it was very clear to me that there are a lot of very talented young womenwith a lot of desire to make movies, and that they are going to fight for it”.

Another thing they face is the “imposter syndrome”. Because they make them feel as if it is not up to them to do that, as if they have no right to make movies. And it is that many times men are educated to be brave while girls are only taught to be good and go unnoticed.

“I teach classes and, despite the fact that most of my students are girls, when I ask them who they want to lead, only the boys raise their hands, even though the girls have better academic records. I ask them why they don’t raise their hands and they don’t even think about it. But I tell them that they have the right to direct and make mistakes. Because men have the right to do shit and learn while as a woman fails she may not have another chance. Anda that we have not swallowed shit from uncles and nothing has happened. In addition, according to my experience, when you learn the most it is from your mistakes”.

Fortunately, in Spain things are changing little by little. “Above all thanks to the measures we have taken from CIMA -says Chelo-. At first the point measurements did not change anything, until we said that we also wanted money for our projects, which would also be distributed among the women because otherwise nothing would change. And it is that the men shot the important films with big budgets, while we were left with the small and intimate ones. In Spain there were no women directing thrillers or science fiction films. And the private televisions did not have directors. The only woman who could lead large projects was Isabel Coixet”.

“But, as I say, that changed last year, when a percentage of the money was earmarked for women. And all of a sudden there were women who were making movies. And very good! There we have Carla Simón, who has won the Berlinale. Looking at the projects that come to me as a producer, men shoot the first thing that comes to mind, while women usually present me with much more elaborate and elaborate projects”.

Cello Loureiro

“’Unicorn Wars’ is brutal”

Among Chelo’s upcoming productions stands out Unicorn Wars, an anti-war film by Alberto Vázquez (Scenery, Psychonauts), which is a co-production with France and will be presented at the Annecy Festival.

What Alberto has done is brutal! Chelo assures enthusiastically. But I have to confess that we are a little worried because in these seven years we have all laughed a lot with his so critical and acid version of the war; but now, with the invasion of Ukraine, which is so dramatic, and with a protagonist who can remind a lot of Putinperhaps we will not arrive at the most opportune moment”.

Or maybe yes, because it is a brutal criticism of the war. It is also a one hundred percent feminist film and criticizes some questionable aspects of religions. He doesn’t leave a puppet with a head, but he does it in a very intelligent and funny way. And with some brutal characters and graphics. I think it’s going to be one of the movies of the year and it’s going to surprise everyone”.

As for whether she is going to repeat as director, after the success of Valentina, Chelo assures that: “I think not, because it cost me a lot to combine both things and Besides, there are so many people with so much talent that you have to make room for them.

“For example -concludes Chelo-, right now I am also producing sultana’s dreamfrom isabel helguerawhat it is a true work of art. I have about 12 projects with great people who are worth more than me. And it’s your time. I will continue producing, but my career as a director ends with Valentine”.


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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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