An In Conversation recap.

One of the joys of living in a major city like Toronto is that we have the TIFF Bell Lightbox. A result of the Toronto International Film Festival, the Lightbox has been hosting events over the past few years since it’s inception in 2010. This week there was an In Conversation with director Alfonso Cuarón (Gravity, Children of Men) about his life, his work and where he wants to go next after travelling to space.

The In Conversation spanned Cuarón’s entire career, beginning with a look at his first major film Solo con tu pareja and A Little Princess. He described the experience of both as a learning experience; he still wasn’t fully realized as a director and both films offered him opportunities to grow. Solo con tu pareja is a comedy and when asked about his intense love for the genre, he got a little shady towards festivals. He said that comedies are not taken as seriously as tragedies (I agree), especially at festivals, when they should be as they are equally as cinematic, effecting and worthy of acclaim. His breakout film, Y Tu Mama Tambien, is a project he is immensely proud of and describes as “the film he wanted to make in film-school”; just him and his creative partners, telling a story they wanted to tell.

His short but illustrious resume proved his skill when it came to garnering his next project; Y Tu Mama Tambien lead to Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. He is unsure as to why such a dark film made them think he was right for the role, but he did admit he took the Potter-gig for cash to fund his next project (which would be Children of Men). When asked about the film during the audience question portion of the evening, he said he had been sent the script several times and turned it down. He called his friend Guillermo del Toro – who just happened to be in the audience that night, no big deal – and Guillermo came out as a Potterhead. Apparently Warner Brothers had also sent him the script but he passed on it as well, not because he wasn’t interested though. Cuarón said he told Guillermo it seemed silly and laughed at the idea of the franchise. He asked Cuarón if he had read the books and he said no and he called him an “arrogant prick” to which the audience roared. Cuarón then read the books as a result of being called out and decided that “okay, these are amazing”.

The evening ended with a look at his Oscar winning film, Gravity. For fans of his and the film, you may be aware of its strenuous production. He touched upon how he imagined it being a lot smaller than what the end result was, it having a smaller budget and there being a lot of wire work – he was blissfully unaware. “I can barely send an e-mail and yet I made Gravity” said Alfonso in regards to his continuing work with SFX.

As for what’s next? He said it’ll be something small and it won’t be in English.