Santiago Requejo has not only turned his hit short, “All in Favor,” into a theatrical play set to premiere in Buenos Aires in April, he’s also working on a feature film version.
The award-winning work, which was shortlisted for this year’s live-action short film Oscar, sets the scene with a friendly meeting of apartment owners discussing a new elevator that becomes increasingly tense when they find out one of the neighbors has rented his flat to a work colleague with mental health issues.
The stage adaptation, which Requejo co-wrote with Javier Lorenzo and Raul Barranco, begins with the story depicted in the short film and expands its. The play (titled “Votemos” in Argentina rather than “Votamos” as in Spain) premieres April 6 at the Teatro Metropolitan in Buenos Aires.
“I’m also writing the feature film,” Requejo adds. “I think the short has had a lot of resonance, a lot of impact. Many interesting things have come up in this process that can give more life to this story that begins with the short but which I am convinced can go much farther. I am now writing that.”
The short is based on a personal experience, Requejo explained: a story he heard from a psychiatrist friend whose patient lost the chance to move into a new apartment when its owner, under pressure from his neighbors, decided against renting it to her because of her condition.
“When I heard that I was in shock. I couldn’t believe something like that could happen in the 21st century in Spain. I remember, on the way home, I couldn’t stop thinking about how I would have reacted had I been one of those neighbors. When you ask yourself such questions, you have to be careful, because the answer may not be as nice as you would like.”
In confronting his own prejudices, Requejo got to know more mental health professionals as well as many people dealing with mental health problems.
“I had a conversion after that process,” he says. “I thought, if this could happen to me, it could happen to more people. So one Saturday morning, I wrote the screenplay.”
Requejo produced “All in Favor” via his Madrid-based shingle 02:59 Films, which he founded in 2010.
Among his previous works is his 2019 debut feature, the comedy-drama “Grandfathers.”
Requejo is developing a number of other film projects and currently finishing up post-production on his next short, “24/7.”
“I’m very happy — it’s a short of 30 minutes about a topic that is also very interesting: Specialized foster care. It’s a story that is very human, very emotional. I have a lot of hope about how it will be received.”
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