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Madrid, above the Moon

A few summer days in the life of Madrilean photographer who is not doing so well lately. He is house-sitting for someone who is out of the country and decides to pass himself off as the owner of the house as a way to seduce female tourists.

  • Miguel Santesmases
  • Miguel Santesmases
  • Miguel Santesmases
  • Víctor Vidal
    Key Cast
  • Rocío León
    Key Cast
  • Melissa Riggal
    Key Cast
  • Graciela Doniz
    Key Cast
  • Alberto Pareja
    Director of Photography
  • Rodrigo Carrasco
  • Eduardo Esquide
  • Project Type:
  • Runtime:
    1 hour 33 minutes
  • Completion Date:
    April 6, 2015
  • Production Budget:
    20,000 USD
  • Country of Origin:
  • Country of Filming:
  • Language:
    English, Spanish
  • Shooting Format:
  • Aspect Ratio:
  • Film Color:
  • First-time Filmmaker:
  • Student Project:
Director Biography - Miguel Santesmases

Born in Madrid in 1961, where he lives.
He has a Master on Fine Arts (MFA) and a Degree on Physics.
After working for many year in television, he made his directorial debut in 1991 with "The yellow fountain". Then he directed "Love and other curiosities" (2002) and "Blue days" (2006).
Since 2009 he is Associate Professor of Film Studies at the University Carlos III de Madrid.
"Madrid, above the Moon" (2015) is his forth film as writer and director, but it's the first one he writes alone. It is also the first one that he produces.

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Director Statement

I have had this plan for long, shooting a ultra low budget movie without a final script, and without asking any permission for shooting it, without showing the script to anyone first to get their help or attention to get all to produce it.

So, at the beginning, I had only an idea, a photographer with a house for a few days, and a place: Madrid. I started test shooting on the first procession of the Holy Week of 2012. At that time, I planned to shoot the movie entirely with my Canon 5D on that same week, next year 2013 and maybe the year after, because there was suppose to be a procession on the story. But the hand held shots were very disappointing, and also the situation, too many people around was not the smallest problem. All that made me thought the movie had to happen during the summer, to have more time. But I felt then that the shooting had already started.

Later that year, I took a class on Meisner Acting. I had been studying Meisner technique for four years, one week session each year, and I had decided that I was going to use this technique for rehearsals, and that this one was going to be my last seminar. So at the end, I announce the first Casting Session for the movie.

That day of December 2012 I found an actress and an actor which seemed to fit on the project. They had some kind of touch together, so we decided to give a try and start rehearsing. After a month or so, six or seven sessions of work, I decided we were ready and asked them what they thought. As they felt confortable, we shooted a short video, a one shot scene improvised mostly, and with it I started the crowdfunding campaign at Indiegogo. Our objective was to get 9.000€ of the 15.000€ budget.

As we succeeded in Indiegogo, in June 2013 we started preproduction. Our main actor got a job on a European TV Series, so he had less time for us, or less interest, or I felt so, and I decided we needed another actor, less busy. That is how we find Victor Vidal, who finally starred the film.

We finally had the actors, Victor and Helena Sanchis, and the little money so keep finding the team. I spoke with a lot of people. We asked all of them to join us in a cooperative way, as we had told to our crowdfunders we were going to do so. We lost a few of them on the way, but all of them who survive were the right ones, they were there because they were committed to the movie. I felt we had a great team, a small great team. Great people had joined us, offering what they had in the same conditions as the others, like a Postproduction facility from Bosalay, and the owners of a RED Epic camera, Laya and Liquid Works

As I mentioned, one of the peculiar things about this movie is that it had no final script, just a few ideas to work with. That was my way of having total control of the movie, my idea to keep deciding were to go after seeing the results of each shooting week. That was my way of hiding too this idea of making a self conscious movie, on which some characters behave as if they knew they were characters on a movie.

For each time we were going to shoot, and they were going to be 4 or 5 weeks at least, I had to decide which way to go, and write a sort of screenplay for that part of the movie only. So, at the beginning, we had 20 or so pages of the script, and most of the dialogues were only suggestions for the actor to improvise with.

The first week of principal photography took place in June 2013. We worked for a week, four days actually. We had Bernabé Fernandez as best friend of our main role. We had Alberto Pareja as DP, Eduardo Esquide on sound and Ainhoa Tilves as my AD. Although we worked slowly, choosing the proper time of the day to shoot, we finished with almost 50 minutes of movie, when first edited. I was not happy with some of the scenes, so we cut it to around 25 minutes. Then I started to think what was next. I wrote it down, and started to find the cast for that. We got some new talent and shoot again on September, for three days. We repeated this procedure the whole year. Shooting, editing, cutting the wrong parts, reshooting if possible, writing new scenes, getting new actors, and shooting again. That is how we get Melissa Riggal on board, also Rocío León and Graciela Doniz. We did that four more times, and on September 2014 we had the shooting finished. And the movie looked great, both tecnically and the narrative.

As we had little money I was decided to use all I had in hand. That included my own house, my photographs, and my self. That’s why I chose this story:

A few summer days in the life of Madrilean photographer who is not doing so well lately. He is house-sitting for someone who is out of the country and decides to pass himself off as the owner of the house as a way to seduce female tourists.

It was me who was supposed to be "out of the country", as it was my house. Madrid was one of the main roles, so we had his squares and streets to shoot too, without almost being noticed as we were so few. And every time someone offered me some place to shoot, like a bar or a house, I said yes and wrote a scene there too. The result is the story of these days with this big liar photographer, and his way of discovering his destiny in the movie.

Miguel Santesmases (August 2015)