Irene Gomez-Emilsson is a London-based filmmaker who was born and raised in Mexico, with an Icelandic background. After receiving her BA in Film Studies in Paris, she enrolled in the Filmmaking MA at The London Film School, where she specialized in Cinematography and Directing. Gomez-Emilsson has directed several short film and has worked on a diverse range of productions across both the camera and lighting departments. She sees cinematography as a way of constructing meaning and reflection through technique, portraying thoughts, and making stories tangible.
On her early influences:
I was exposed to art house film early on; my parents are film lovers and over the years they gathered a good collection of VHS. When I was a teen, I remember rummaging through his eclectic collection and finding gems and classics. I just couldn’t stop watching! I was fascinated by the relationship between frame, subject, character, thought, and the filmmaker.
On Icelandic creatives she admires:
Sólveig Anspach, who sadly passed away last year, is a great example of an Icelandic female filmmaker. Although she worked a lot in France, there’s a distinct Icelandic-ness about her films. They’re very sensitive, melancholic, and delicate, and present very strong characters (often with a great sense of humor). I think she leaves behind a remarkable heritage for future generations. My favourite film of hers is Stormy Weather, with Elodie Boucher and Didda Jónsdottir.
On the making of her London Film School graduation film, Deserts:
One thing that inspired Deserts was a series of conversations with a close friend, about precisely that: friendship and human relations, generally. How we deal with each other’s desires and dreams, while we also have our own, and how they translate into a relationship…. It’s about how tension is played down through playfulness and how language is sometimes useless and has to be reinvented to be able to communicate these things.
On Desert’s visual and cinematic references:
Visually and formally, I drew inspiration from various sources. Early Godard is one—his freshness and sophistication, attention to the frame and color, and his use of space in relation to the character’s psychological state. I was also inspired by Jim Jarmusch’s humor, structure, and use of everyday poetry. I also became interested in Edward Hopper’s composition and lighting, how his characters relate to the space in wide compositions and how this generates feelings….of tension, exclusion, and melancholy.
On what’s next for her in 2017:
I have just finished a new short film, Umeshu Night. I was invited to direct it by Charles Meunier (Desert’s lead actor) and Maud Arrault, a talented actor and scriptwriter. I’m very happy with the outcome and we’re sending it to festivals. I am also developing a feature film to be shot in Mexico—a family drama tinged with thriller and science fiction elements—and a short in London, set in the canals (dark, tense, and poetic). As a DP, projects are also piling up, so it looks like it will be a good year! ★