The Piñata King: Interview with Co-Director Paul Storrie
15th May 2019 by Will Stewart
A lovely, quirky little film about a town in Mexico that has become Piñata Mecca. What one family started 50 years ago, the whole town has now become involved in. All the while the piñatas themselves have grown in size and ambitiousness. Needless to say, the ridiculous photo opportunities in this film are plenty to be had.
Co-director Paul Storrie was kind enough to answer some of our questions about The Piñata King. If you’d like to see your film on MadeGood.tv, then please feel free to make a submission.
MadeGood – Please tell me a bit about yourself as a film maker, and how you got into film making. I see you’re part of a collective called Tripod City, and two other directors are credited in this film. Tell me a bit about that, and what your working relationship is like between the three of you.
Paul – The three of us have been friends since college and have collaborated on various projects since. Tripod City was born out of a shared desire to travel and explore misrepresented and heavily stereotyped areas, with the aim of presenting a more authentic documentation of such places. I primary focus was always photography, but filmmaking has become a bog part of these projects too. When we are producing / shooting / editing these pieces, it’s always a very fluid process. We work well as a team, mucking in wherever possible to get the best from a particular shoot. Working together has become so natural now that there’s no red tape or navigating egos, and that really makes shooting films like this so much more enjoyable.
MadeGood – I suppose in many ways this little town is just like many others that are dominated by a single industry, but there’s something bonkers about the fact that everyone is making piñatas. How did you find out about this town, and what compelled you to make a film about it? Did it take long to build trust with the community, so that they would allow you to film them?
Paul – You can’t avoid seeing the huge slew of piñatas hung up on the ceilings of stores all across Mexico. We became curious about where and how they were made, which led us to ask around and to a bit of digging. Luckily, we were told about our town and got put in touch with Francisco (our main subject). He was so warm, welcoming and casual about us visiting so it made the whole process feel surprisingly easy. When we finally got to the town, everybody we met was just as lovely, just as open and willing to share their stories and show us around.
MadeGood – The film is in Spanish (it’s in Mexico after all!). Did you work with a translator, or do you speak Spanish? Did you have any issues with the language barrier
Paul – This was a huge challenge actually. I have a basic level of Spanish, luckily, just about enough to conduct an interview and understand enough of a response. We didn’t work with a translators, fixer or native Spanish speakers during the production. I was a case of getting help and contacts from friends we made out there to set us in the right direction. We did however work with a translator for the post production process to ensure no mistakes were made.
MadeGood – Your main protagonist is obviously quite smart, creative, and comes across as a little bit philosophical too. He’s started an industry that keeps the whole town in work through an art form- that’s an incredible achievement. As a film maker balancing art with business, where you able to learn from him?
Paul – It’s always a difficult balance when your passion is also your means of income. It can be easy to lose sight of why you got into a particular project in the first place, but I think you just have constantly be aware of what you want to achieve from every project and continue doing things you enjoy. Francisco did what he loved and found a way to make it work as a business.
MadeGood – What are you working on next?
Paul – Each of us are working on a nice variety of projects across photography and film. Personally I have a short film in the pipeline and a few other fictional projects that are currently in development.
MadeGood – Thanks Paul! Remember to send us that short when it’s finished, can’t wait to see it.