Exploring the all-consuming tensions of first love, Director Ibon Landa’s Spectrum of Love charts the powerful and at times explosive energy of a couple as they grapple with this universal force – unexplained by science but responsible for bringing meaning to life. DN spoke to Ibon about capturing the essence of love on camera while run and gun filmmaking on the streets of Barcelona.
What inspired you to tell this story about the heady experience of first love?
When I listened to the audio of HÆLOS’ Intro/Spectrum I was impressed with Alan Watts´ voice, but also with the combination of the cosmic sound of the track. I love the mix between these two parts, really awesome. I started to dig a little bit into Alan Watts, the lyrics and the energy of love. I found that Einstein said that love is an energy that science has not found a formal explanation for, but also that love explains everything and gives meaning to life. This was the inspiration of the project, the reason I started to think about putting images to this great piece of audio. I fell so in love with this audio that I decided to film a personal project, something like a rare videoclip that shows and explains visually the spectrum of love.
This kind of love is really powerful and really poetic, or at least we think it is when we live it.
As a filmmaker I started to think about images that would match the intro of Spectrum. So I began to visualize the project by thinking about first love. This kind of love is really powerful and really poetic, or at least we think it is when we live it. So I guess this is a mix of my own experience and the kind of love we all have in mind when we think about it.
What was your approach to production?
When approaching the locations, I tried to give the piece an international look, so the audience wouldn’t think about any city in particular. We shot in Barcelona over two days with a small team, specifically in a couple of places where we didn’t have any permission. We used an Alexa camera and Kowa sphere lenses. Because we did not have a client we shot pretty quick.
As you were at times stealing locations, what methods did you use to make sure you got what you needed but didn’t draw too much attention to yourselves?
I knew the minimum that I wanted to get in each location, so we shot what I had in mind really quickly and if we felt comfortable we started trying new shots or new action. Here Maite Astiz (DOP) was a great help, she is so great with the camera. Also, there were always just 5 people on set: Maite, Ivy Koyck (Focus Puller), Actors Virginia López and Arnau Coll, and me. If you saw us from outside, you just saw 5 friends playing with a camera – it didn’t look like a big production so that helped us a lot to be able to shoot whenever and wherever we wanted.
There’s a vibrancy to Virginia and Arnau’s on screen relationship which feels very tangible. How did you pull those performances from them?
Well, here I was very lucky. I didn’t have a budget, everything came from us. So I called a model agency that I used to work with and I asked then to send me some pictures of models that knew how to act. So I chose Virginia and Arnau from pictures. Then, before the shoot I explained the project to them very carefully and what I expected from them. And during all the shoots I was directing them all the time. They did really well.
How was the film’s energetic rhythm built in the edit?
About the editing process, the first and most important thing to do was to build the structure. For a project like this one, so open and without a straight narrative, sometimes that’s kind of hard. So Marc Balagué (Editor) and I worked for three days, all day long, finding the right direction. When we solve this, finding the film rhythm was quite easy.
What new projects do you have coming up?
Right now, I just finished a videoclip and I am writing a short film and working on an animated film about James Rhodes that talks about his favorite music memory, a project related to the Primavera Sound Music Festival.