Hit after hit, Xavier Ambrossi (Madrid, 1984) and Javier Calvo (Murcia, 1991) They have been able to build a golden professional career that shines with its own light outside and inside Spain. After Veneno has managed to shock the United States, this duo of directors and writers are more eager than ever to continue working. The Malaga Film Festival recognizes their career, and for this reason this year they will be awarded the Malaga Talent Award, which is given in collaboration with La Opinion de Malaga. We spoke with Ambrossi about what makes them proud, how they approach their work, and which projects of theirs are coming to light soon.
They are young, but they already have a consolidated trajectory. What are you most proud of when you look back?
That we started with our four hands and that we have done everything among friends. We have been able to maintain that artisan and family spirit until today. For example, Paquita Salas, a series that started among friends, grew to be on Netflix, and suddenly you are in Mexico and people say phrases from the series to you on the street. It has been a very nice trip.
Interestingly, the reviews of Veneno were more positive outside our borders than here in Spain. They have already told on occasion that even Madonna is a fan. Why do you think she has been like this?
There is a great need to tell LGBT stories, and in all corners of the world, LGBT people are looking for stories in which to see ourselves. That has helped me travel better. Sometimes I still believe that it is a dream, when I have certain calls or projects as a result of Veneno. I find it incredible how far it has come and I feel very happy and honored that such top-level people like it. When we choose a project it is because we believe in it. We try to follow the inner voice that tells us that we are doing well, to be the same as we were at the beginning and to do it with love and respect for the profession. In a project like Veneno, the component of social commitment seemed very important to us.
Are you looking to have a registered trademark with your different products or do you prefer to go with your intuition?
The brand we have is making itself. I hope that it changes over time, that we dare to do different things… We still really want to try many genres, there is still a lot to explore. You don't have to cling to what you've done so far, but be open to what can be.
They are preparing the pre-production of Vestidas de Azul, the sequel to Veneno. What are we going to find?
What I can anticipate is that it is the continuation of Valeria's journey. After Veneno, Valeria Vegas wrote a book with her reflections on the cinema and on the trans women of the 70s and 80s that preceded Veneno, so it will go on the research that Valeria does. Veneno began as a love letter to all the people who broke their necks so that the LGBT community has the rights it has now, and it seemed nice to pay homage to those pioneers.
They are not only creators, but they are also producers of series like Cardo through Sumacontent. They already had Suma Latina before, but why have they taken that step towards producing at this time?
Right now we are preparing the second season of Cardo. We analyzed the number of people who have helped us and opened doors for us in our career. Enrique Lavigne, producer of La Llamada, was the first person who encouraged us to direct. Analyzing this, we saw that more people are needed to open the door to new generations, so we are encouraged to use the good things that happen to us to use them with those who have a voice and have things to say. It is responsibility and diversification, growing as directors and as producers. It is a process in which we are learning a lot.
After the success and repercussion of Veneno, do you face creative work in a different way? More responsibility, more pressure…
We face it with more humility. Awards and success give us security in what we do, they have given us peace of mind and have assured us that projects like Veneno, which was born from a social vocation, can be great. You cannot be blinded by the lights or the checks, but you have to listen within yourself. It has made me want to face the writing of my new projects, from the place where we always do it.
This award, Malaga Talent, is awarded to people with a consolidated career but who are also young people with a long career ahead of them. How do you see your future?
I would like to continue telling stories, making series. We have yet to make a second film, which from La Llamada we want. There is a desire to do many things, something in the theater... In some time I would like to look back and see that my production company has given opportunities to minorities and that it has had a commitment to LGBT, racialized people and different voices or new. I would also like to write and shoot something in English, of course.
And do you plan to continue being on television as presenters?
Television is a very good thing because it allows you to have a free creative space. I love television and entertainment because they have been with me since childhood and adolescence. As long as they call us and the project is interesting, we will value it. At the moment we are very proud of the formats in which we have participated.