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Bruno Aveillan on a “Real Journey” to Tequila for 1800 Cristalino

Behind the Work 698 Add to collection

The Believe Media director tells LBB’s Addison Capper about a poetic portrait on the mastery of the brand and its ‘jimadores’

Bruno Aveillan on a “Real Journey” to Tequila for 1800 Cristalino
Bruno Aveillan's ambition when making this film for 1800 Tequila Cristalino was to "translate in an authentic and poetic way all the passion and amazing work of those who make an exceptional tequila". But he knew that there were endless films already made showing the process of alcohol fermentation, all very much the same as the other. So, using next-to-no VFX and shooting everything inside the 1800 Cristalino distillery, he set out to make something more artful, an arresting portrait that celebrates the mastery of the brand's 'jimadores' and makes art out of seemingly mundane elements of the distilling process. 

He told LBB's Addison Capper how he pulled it off. 

LBB> What was the initial script like and why was it something you were keen to get involved in? 

Bruno> The initial script was about the journey of a drop and to discover the entire process of making an exceptional tequila, 1800 Cristalino. Immediately, I was interested to know the process of making tequila and I liked the chance to translate that knowledge and give it a unique, premium feel, like the product. When I started to do some research, I discovered how photogenic and visually compelling this could be - the distillery, the agave fields, the jimadores. I like the fact that it’s functional and  it’s still made with tradition.

LBB> At the heart of the film is showing the process that goes into making the tequila - why did you decide to do so in this more abstract / artful way?

Bruno> It was clear that I didn’t want to make a classic documentary. We've seen many films showing how to make wine and alcohol. And, as the film was about process, I looked at a lot of films about the making of tequila. But even when it’s very well done, it’s the same kind of image. I really wanted to make something grounded, but to translate it with an artful approach, something more poetic, more intimate… and first and foremost, with emotion.

Also, with the real process of tequila-making, there are some steps that are unseen or are not so visual - the fermentation for example - that required me to find a more abstract way that illustrated the process and make it attractive. 

LBB> Everything in the film you captured from the actual process - none of it is manufactured. Can you tell us more about the shoot and how you went about capturing the imagery?

Bruno> From the outset, it was obvious that we needed to work in the real place, in the actual distillery and village where Cristalino is made, with the real jimadores in the fields. I wanted everything to be based in realness, combining an organic feel and a creative execution. That was my motivation.

About 80% of the film was shot inside the distillery. We did a couple of things in our make-shift ‘studio’, which was a barn, plus some elements with VFX. The Mexican team was amazing and worked with me like commandos - it was quite intense.

LBB> How was it working with the staff at 1800 Tequila Cristalino?

Bruno> It was great - they are very professional, collaborative and enthusiastic. They were a good team who helped along all the process with a lot of motivation and investment in the project.

LBB> Aesthetically, what were your main aims and ambitions? Where did you look for inspiration?  

Bruno> To make a film where we can see the DNA of the tequila, feel it in every frame, keep it authentic. To show a real place, like a documentary, but every time to find a more unusual way, more abstract and artistic. To describe the process with a combo of reality and the creative translation.

LBB> You touched upon this earlier, but what kind of research was involved for you? Did you visit the distillery before shooting? How was that?

Bruno> From the moment we arrived in Tequila, we conducted research and that changed everything. As soon as I arrived I felt the atmosphere and the uniqueness of the place. For instance, the subtle sugary smell of the ‘cooked agave’ is particular. It’s floating everywhere and it never leaves you when you’re staying in the little town. You know immediately that you’re in the tequila world, 24/7.

It was important to be there, to talk to the jimadores. That was the real journey. I know I would never be able to make a film like this in a studio or anywhere else. I felt very inspired by the place.

LBB> What were the trickiest components and how did you overcome them? 

Bruno> To describe and translate what was hidden and not really translatable! There are guidelines of the story but you can't always see what’s going on. A drop of liquid goes into a tube and you have to figure out how to make these elements interesting and dynamic. We had a lot of fun doing that, experimenting on set, but it’s also very much the way I like to work sometimes.
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Believe Media US, Wed, 24 Apr 2019 15:12:18 GMT