Toni Bestard (1973) received two nominations for the Spanish Goya awards with his short films ‘Equipajes’ (‘Luggage’) and ‘El anónimo Caronte’ (‘The Anonymous Caronte’) – in a genre which won him more than 150 prizes at national and international festivals. In 2012 he screened his first movie, ‘El perfecto desconocido’ (‘The perfect stranger’), in which Colm Meaney plays the leading role. With this movie he obtained – among others – the prize for the best international initial work at the Galway Film Festival (Ireland) and for the best leading actor at the international Festival Tiburón (USA).
Marcos Cabotá wrote the script for the movie ‘Amigos’ (‘Friends’, 2011) and also co-directed it. The film was rewarded with the audience prize at the Cinema Festival in Malaga. At the moment, Marcos is in Cancún, where he is currently shooting ‘Noctem’, a horror movie for which Toni is co-producer.
Their idea to make a documentary about David Prowse – the actor who played Darth Vader, “the most famous villain in the history of films” – arose one day when they were chatting about ‘Star Wars’. “Marcos is a big fan of the saga and for me it was one of those movies that inspired me as a small boy to become a director,” Bestard says, adding: “Everybody knows Harrison Ford, but nobody knows the actor who played Darth Vader.”
Marcos met David Prowse at the Festival in Sitges and immediately started his research. This actor, who was awarded the MBE (Member of the British Empire) by HM Queen Elizabeth II, is 80 years old today and lives just outside London with his wife. Every fortnight, he takes part in a ‘Star Wars’ convention and signs autographs. Furthermore, Marcos and Toni discovered an unbelievable story which “cannot be revealed yet” but which will be “the talk of the town” on an international level when it comes out. “Marcos has schemed something crazy with David Prowse which will fascinate all fans of ‘Star Wars’,” explains Bestard. This movie is not a biography but a proper documentary-movie – a genre which became popular with successful films like ‘Bowling for Columbine’ from Michael Moore and ‘Amy Winehouse’ from Asif Kapadia.
The movie was shot in countries including Germany, England, USA, and Spain, and includes interviews with different personalities. “We wanted to shed some light on the stories of people who hide behind masks in the movie world,” the director says.
The filming started in February 2013 and will end in September 2015. The project was achievable thanks to the film companies Nova from Paula Serra, Singular, Strange Friends – the production company which was founded by Toni and Marcos – and donations from people through the website. “After different legal complications we now hope to go live before December 16th. That´s the day when the seventh edition of ‘Star Wars’ will have its premiere: ‘The awakening of the force’. Many people are interested in our movie which we will show worldwide and have high hopes for,” Bestard says.
Although his calling as a moviemaker had already come at the tender age of 10, it was not until his 23rd year of life and after he had already studied magisterium that he moved to Madrid in order to study film direction. Then he returned to Mallorca where he received every possible support to make his dream come true. “My best short movie is ‘Foley Artist’, a project which originated in a workshop at uni and which has already won 33 prizes since the premiere. The film was even among the finalists at the Goyas 2015,” he says.
At the moment he is preparing his second movie as a director, with a provisional title for now of ‘Rabbits’. It´s an adaption of a theatre play written by the Catalan author David Desola, which is called ‘El hijo del Vecino’ (‘The son of the neighbour’). “A very radical but funny play. An absurd comedy about marriage and precarious topics such as the housing market bust, it’s a mixture of styles, something between David Lynch and Charlie Kauffman. I will launch a trailer although the movie is not finished yet. It’s more ‘indie’ and also requires a smaller budget. Nowadays you either have to submit to the big film companies which only want to make commercial movies, or you have to limit yourself financially if you don´t want to fail,” Bestard explains.
This coming November, for the 4th consecutive year, and under the stewardship of Sandra Seeling, the Evolution Mallorca International Film Festival will take place in Palma. Bestard comments: “It´s a small festival but I will always support it. Mallorca theoretically has the necessary infrastructure to organize an international film festival of the level of Venice or Cannes. Unfortunately, there was a previous attempt which failed due to a situation of corrupt politics.”
Toni, who is also a professor at the UIB and other academies, where he teaches audiovisual communications and animation, would like to collaborate with José Sacristán, whom he has already approached for ‘Rabbits’, or with Kevin Spacey or Ralph Fiennes.
More about Toni Bestart
We meet the Mallorcan film director Toni Bestard to discuss his latest movieEl Perfecto Desconocido. The movie set in the Sierra de Tramuntana mountains and starring Irish actor Colm Meaney. […] A conversation with Toni Bestard