‘Alcarràs’ Director Carla Simón Interview — Contenders International –

Director and co-writer Carla Simon tells a story that is close to her heart. Alcaras, Spain’s entry into the international feature Oscar race. The story of peach farmers facing eviction and losing more than their home won the Golden Bear at the Berlin Film Festival earlier this year.

In the film, the Soli family spends every summer in a Catalan village picking peaches from their orchards. But this year’s harvest could be their last as new plans for the land include cutting down trees and installing solar panels, causing a rift within the large, tight-knit family.


During’s Containers Film: International Awards Season event, Simon told us that his uncle’s peach farm was an inspiration for the film. “The idea came to me when my grandfather passed away and I first thought about what would happen if these trees he planted in the space we all share as a family.”

The tradition of farming in a small family group is “one of the oldest jobs in the world,” Simon said. But this is “not sustainable anymore… people are leaving their land and don’t want their children to continue to farm the land. This conspiracy can happen to anyone.

While Simon believes the innovation of environmentally friendly power is a positive, the displacement of families is a troubling consequence. “It’s a more complex problem that they have. They have to give up the land to someone who wants to put in green energy, which is a good thing. To me, that’s the complexity of life,” he tells us in the film. , “We’re with people who want to keep the land because they’ve been farming it for years so you can understand the family, but you can also understand the part of the family that wants to go. . Work for solar panels.”


Simon worked with a large ensemble of non-professional actors which was “a challenge”, but had “beautiful moments.” His desire was to show people who had “a real attachment to the land… you can see when someone is truly a farmer, you see it on their skin, on their hands, in the way they move in the fields, can see.”


Moreover, in the Alcarràs region, a very specific dialect of Catalan is spoken, so “it makes sense to go with the locals.” Simon and his team spent a year (pre-Covid) looking for the cast and saw about 9,000 people, he explained.

Eventually, the actors started a family of their own. “They still call each other mom and dad” and spend the holidays together, Simon said.


“My desire was to make a film about a big family and to express in a cinematic way what it means to be a part of a big family.”

Check back Monday for the panel video.

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