Gabriel Velázquez, director of Zaniki: ‘Making this film has been a true miracle’

Gabriel Velázquez, director of ‘Zaniki’

20/10/2019.- Spanish director Gabriel Velázquez presented his sixth feature film in the Castille and León section of the 64th Valladolid International Film Festival. Zaniki, screened in the Broadway Cinema this Sunday, October 20, tells the life story of the Mayalde family from Salamanca, who are devoted to preserving traditional music and transmitting it from generation to generation.

The film focuses on the way in which Eusebio Mayalde wants to pass on his musical culture to his grandson. The protagonist has the ability to create melodies with spoons, frying pans, and all sorts of utensils. This is what captivated Gabriel Velázquez. «I knew I wanted to make a film about him from the moment I met him», he said.

The production of the film benefited from the support of the Ministry of Culture, the Salamanca City Council, the Junta of Castile and León and the Salamanca County Council. However, filming wasn’t easy — as the director himself said, «a week before we were not sure that the project was going to happen, it has been a true miracle».

The film intends to promote folklore and its traditional values, ​​and the setting chosen for that was Salvatierra, the village where Eusebio and his wife Pilar live. «It used to be the richest town in Salamanca, before people started to leave and it became deserted», said Gabriel. In addition, images shot in the municipalities of San Pedro de Rozados, where the director’s father lived, and Santo Tomé, where there are only two graves in the cemetery, were included as a tribute.

The film’s title, Zaniki, is a reflection of the way in which Eusebio referred to his grandson during the day trip they took to shoot the film. «At that very moment, Beltrán stopped being himself and became a part of Nature», said Gabriel. The filmmaker also stressed how easy it was to work with the Mayalde family owing to a simple procedure. «The system was creating a beautiful postcard, placing the characters in it, and recreating scenes, no fiction at all», concluded the director.

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