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Iván Noel

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Iván Noel looking at something with longer hair and his bluish eyes visible.

Music director  En tu ausencia, Brecha, They Returned, Children of the Night, Vuelve, Primary!
Movies  En tu ausencia, Brecha, They Returned, Children of the Night, Primary!
Similar  Francisco Alfonsín, Gonzalo Sanchez Salas, Guy Ducker

Brecha (2009) Closing scene (Iván Noel).avi

Iván Noel is a Spanish producer and director, known for They Returned (2015), En tu Ausencia (2008) and ¡Primaria! (2010). In their July, 2009 journal, Camilo José Cela University compared his works to that of Truffaut and Comencini. He originally started in the arts by writing and performing his own musical compositions. The transition from music to film came from his love for combining and juxtaposing the two art forms in order to make something greater than the two by themselves.


Iván Noel They Returned39 Ivan Noel39s shocking new feature movie Indiegogo

“I was having a hard time finding the sort of films to put my own music to, so I began shooting small scenes for specific pieces of mine. From small scenes I made short movies, then eventually went on to write and produce feature films. All that just to showcase my music! There must have been a cheaper way, but it was more fun this way.”

Iván Noel Brecha

–Iván Noel

Since those first small scenes, he has gone on to release six feature films. All of the movies, despite their different plots, characters, and other thematic elements, share the commonality of confronting moral issues without yielding to the conventions of political correctness.

Milord El Baile de los Ciegos, by Ivan Noel - YouTube

Early life

Iván Noel Ivn Noel Movies Bio and Lists on MUBI

Noel was born in 1968 in Beirut. His mother is Australian and his father was of French descent. He is fluently triligual. His family was well-to-do but "nomadic resulting in him attending 8 different schools in as many countries.

Iván Noel Ivan Noel An Interview TheSkyKidCom

I started taking pictures when I was about 9 or 10. Then I bought an 8mm camera, and started shooting immediately. It was a very violent film about social injustice, acted by a crazed (11-year-old) beggar who had had enough. He took out his frustration by banging his head against tree trunks. It was a rather loose script and involved about one hundred children from my own primary school, partly shot during playtime. It ended with the protagonist’s insane run through town and forest, ending when he (my best friend) bangs against a dead-end traffic sign. I never knew what it meant."

Brecha (2009) Closing scene (Iván Noel).avi - YouTube

He has a BA in music and education from the University of York, specializing in soundtrack composition, having studied amongst others with Wilfred Josephs. and began his career as professor in the field of music, composing and giving concerts as a solo classical guitarist and piano accompanist in Paris.

Film making

Iván Noel Exclusive Interview Director Ivan Noel of En Tu Ausencia

Noel entered the audiovisual world first through the production of short films. He won important prizes in Europe both for his photography (Best New Artists at the Petit Palais’ ‘Salon d’Automn’ exhibitions, Paris), but also his compositions (finalist winner of the British Songwriting competition in 2006. In 2006 he decided to sell his house to finance the filming of his first feature film, In Your Absence (2008). About that film he said he is in debt to the realism of director Ken Loach . This film was shot between Jerez and the Sierra de Cádiz. It was a low budget production made with unknown actors, but it woke the interest of critics. The film was featured in several festivals, including Vancouver, Palm Springs, Chicago, Bahamas, Athens, etc. In Vancouver the film finished fifth out of more than 200 films. Vanguard International Cinema distributed the film in North America. Interestingly, the film has not been released or distributed in Spain.

For the next project, the director moved to a town of Seville, Lebrija. He lived there for a year to study the local people so that cast them correctly. For funding, Noel, lacking a budget, raised the money through donations. He arranged free rentals of shooting locations and the actors volunteered to work for free. It was recorded during the summer of 2008, and was released in 2009 with the title of Gap later to be changed to Brecha. It opened to small premieres in Spain, and was received with praise by its audiences.

In 2010 he released ¡Primaria!, his third feature film. He shot it in the school San Francisco de Paula in Seville. He spent a year there teaching the children art. Since it was the first time in film making history that the same teacher of the children was also their director in a film, Noel believed that this would increase the naturalness in the representation of scenes by the child actors, creating a very favorable context to get real emotions and situations experienced. In this sense, Noel likes to say this film is "a story with children where nothing is invented, even the most unlikely thing." Noel defines the film as "a comedy about the bowels of the primary starring three students, Jose Joaquin, Carlos and Carmen." The film also portrays the life of the faculty, focusing mainly on three of them. Noel manages to convey the personal lives of these teachers beyond their work without reaching the use of narration.

With Vuelve, commercially released in 2012, Noel moves into the horror genre. Filmed in Argentina , it is about a boy who loses his mother under strange circumstances. She communicates with him from beyond the grave, seeking a reunion. The film premiered on October 12, 2011 at the Festival of Unusual Cinema of Buenos Aires. His next project, Limbo was released in 2013. One reviewer noted:

Director Iván Noel is oddly missing from the roster of international directors assured an American release. Six films into his career, his curious blending of drama and uncanny elements would seem like a natural fit, akin to (but more optimistic than) Alex van Warmerdam (Borgman). He delved into horror with 2013's Vuelve, and with Limbo (to use its original Argentinian title) and this year's They Returned, it marks an interesting twist in his career.

It's undoubtedly a twist of note. He finds children of suitable maturity for the vampire orphanage and draws surprisingly nuanced performances from each of them, never relying on any one too much for the drama. No surprise for a former teacher that spent 20 years in classrooms. His tone here is of quizzical comedy, rather than existential angst. He isn't afraid to get bloody, either, with a side-plot about an ongoing war between local vampire hunters and Dracula's grandson. But he's mostly playful. After all, his vampires are not adults in children's bodies. They're very old children. Imagine being stuck in your acne phase for eternity, or never going through puberty: That's who they are, in all their chuckling glee.

They Returned turns on the strange disappearance of three children from their small town, and their reappearance three days later in a strange state.

“They Returned” is a “thriller with strong supernatural elements, drawing on a political historical context,” explained Betina Goldman, from long-running Latin America and horror specialist One Eyed. “We see great festival and critical recognition potential in the works,” she added.

When asked about how he responds to the controversy surrounding his films he said:

So why is my film deemed controversial? …Dear God, today taking a picture of your own baby child in the bath is controversial! Silly, silly values of a society gone slightly nuts: complete loss of references: hysteria that is causing voluntary amnesia about what being young was about. Again, the predominance of morally regressive values, from a bored and overly wealthy society that has nothing other to do than point fingers just to exist, and score more socially correct points than the neighbor.

List of films

  • En tu ausencia (English: In Your Absence) (2008)
  • Brecha (2009)
  • ¡Primaria! (English: Primary!) (2010)
  • Vuelve (2013)
  • Limbo (English: Children of the Night) (2014)
  • Ellos Volvieron (English: They Returned) (2015)
  • La tutora (English: The Tutor) (2016) (other names: Rodillas Quemadas, Burnt Knees)
  • References

    Iván Noel Wikipedia