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Profile - Jaume Balagueró

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Jaume Balagueró

Name Jaume Balagueró

Born 2 November 1968, Lleida, Spain

Background Having studied media at university in Barcelona, Balagueró worked in radio before cutting his filmmaking teeth on several shorts. His feature film debut came in 1999 with an adaptation of British horror writer Ramsey Campbell’s The Nameless, and was followed, three years later, by box-office success Darkness. After a brief foray into music documentaries, most notably OT: The Movie with fellow horror director Paco Plaza, Balagueró returned to his preferred genre in 2005 with Fragile, starring Calista Flockhart.

What’s he up to now? He’s currently winning plaudits for his latest horror feature, [REC], co-directed with Plaza. Set in Barcelona, the Blair Witch-style film follows a TV reporter and her cameraman as they tag along with the city’s firemen on a late-night emergency call to a block of flats, where they’re trapped and attacked by zombies. [REC] was one of Spain’s biggest earning domestic titles of 2007, and picked up two Goya Awards, as well as four awards at the Sitges International Film Festival, including Best Director. A Hollywood remake, Quarantine, has already been shot by The Poughkeepsie Tapes director John Erick Dowdle. Balagueró is now working on his next film, based on a book by Spanish author José Carlos Somoza.

What he says about [REC] ‘We wanted professional actors, but not well-known ones because it was very important for the audience not to recognise them. We tried to make the film as real as possible. Paco and I created a fake reality, put the actors inside it, and let them make a real report about this fake reality. The actors never got the script. We worked a lot with them on their roles, and when they knew them perfectly, we put them in the scene and let them improvise.’

Interesting fact Both Balagueró and his [REC] co-director have made films based on Ramsey Campbell novels.

[REC] is on general release from Fri 11 Apr.

[REC]

  • 4 stars
  • 2008
  • Spain
  • 85 min
  • 18
  • Directed by: Jaume Balagueró, Paco Plaza
  • Written by: Jaume Balagueró, Paco Plaza, Manu Díez
  • Cast: Jonathan Mellor, Óscar Sánchez Zafra, Ariel Casas, Alejandro Casaseca, Pablo Rosso, Pep Molina, Andrea Ros, Ális Batllori, Pau Poch, Juli Fábregas, Nico Baixas, Javier Botet, Carlos Olalla, Manuela Velasco

Handheld zombie movie in which a troop of firemen, with a TV presenter in tow, are called out to an unusual emergency. This all-out zombie fest, shot from the hip, is cementing Spain's position as a hotbed of horror talent.

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