MADRID – Santiago Segura has virtually done it all in Spanish cinema, from being an extra to creating the Torrente dark-comedy franchise, one of the highest-grossing film series in the history of the Iberian nation.
He will be co-host of the sixth Platino Awards for Ibero-American Cinema, a May 12 ceremony that will be held for the second straight year in Mexico’s Riviera Maya tourism district.
Segura’s latest project as a film director – “Padre no hay mas que uno” – is due out this summer, and he has several ideas in the works for television.
“Since the (streaming) platforms came out, my big dream has been to make a series,” Segura said in an interview Friday with EFE, though adding that he has not yet moved past the idea stage. “I’m involved in theater – a comedy show – and with the filming of ‘Padre no hay mas que uno,’ which will be my first family comedy.”
The sixth Platino Awards ceremony will take place at the Gran Tlachca Theater in Xcaret Park, a theme park near the southeastern Mexican tourist town of Playa del Carmen.
“Roma,” directed by Mexico’s Alfonso Cuaron, leads the way with nine Platino nominations, while the Colombian film “Pajaros de verano” (Birds of Passage) and the Paraguayan picture “Las herederas” (The Heiresses) have garnered six and five nods, respectively.
Segura, who co-hosted the third Platino Awards ceremony in 2016 in Punta del Este, Uruguay, will share the duties of master of ceremonies on this occasion with Mexican actress Cecilia Suarez, who is known for her role in the Web television series “La casa de la flores” (The House of Flowers).
It’ll be your second time as Platinos host. Why did you want to do it again?
I had a really good time in Uruguay (2016) and awards ceremonies have always fascinated me. Since I won’t receive any (prizes), at least I can give them out.
The Platinos began six years ago with the goal of providing greater reach and a bigger market for Spanish-language films. Do you think that’s been achieved?
Awards are always a showcase, a platform for meeting people and forming partnerships. They’re a good thing. They play their part.
As a producer, you’ve made films with Argentina. Do you plan on doing co-productions with other Latin American countries?
No, but I wouldn’t mind doing so with Mexico, Colombia, Chile ... It was very simple with Argentina because I’m lucky to call it my second home. Everyone knows me there. It’s great.
What can you tell us about the script and the tone of the awards gala?
I’d like to give you a little taste, but I don’t know yet. There are always musical performances, and I think Raphael (recipient of the Platino Honorary Award in 2019) will be one of them. We’ll try to make it as fun as possible for an awards gala, which tend to be long.
“Roma,” a film by Alfonso Cuaron that was produced by Netflix, appears to be the favorite. Which is your favorite?
I really like “Roma” a lot, and with the Oscars it won (Best Foreign Language Film, Best Director and Best Cinematography) it seems to be the frontrunner, but you never know.
The Academy (of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences) is planning to change the rules so the (streaming) platforms can’t compete for prizes. Where do you stand in this debate?
Netflix doesn’t care. They’re going to buy the Egyptian Theatre in Los Angeles. They’re going to make their own rules. They’re a giant. Going against them is like trying to escape a flood with a rubber duck. You have to see how they can benefit us, not think they’re the enemy of cinema.
So then you wouldn’t exclude them from the awards?
I also don’t think it’s bad to establish limits. They could create their own awards because they play by different rules. I don’t think it’s intolerant on the part of the old industry to set limits. You’re also not going to surrender.
There’s talk about an explosion in Spanish audiovisual content.
Since I’ve been doing this, I’ve heard talk about a crisis and a “boom” in Spanish cinema. It’s always the case that some do well and others don’t. But it’s true that it’s a good time for content and for those of us who like to tell stories, because we have options.
Do you have any TV project in the works?
Ever since the (streaming) platforms emerged, my biggest dream has been to make a series. I’ve always liked them but I’m terrified about doing one for general TV. You do a series in which you put your whole heart into it, and they schedule a soccer final in the same time slot and bury you. The good thing about the platforms is that people can choose.
Do you have any specific project under way?
I have several ideas, but now I’m working in theater and setting up my next movie. I’m not like women, who can multi-task.
But you are very versatile. What are you most proud of?
“MasterChef,” I think I aced it. One of my idols, Jordi Cruz, told me I was a virtuoso. When someone you admire compliments you .... Berlanga once told me that a scene from “Torrente” was his favorite in recent Spanish cinema. That makes up for all the tough times.
Could a Torrente be made today in this atmosphere of extreme political correctness?
It could be done, but I don’t know if I’d want to. I don’t like being raked over the coals. I want to make people laugh, give them something fun and provoke debate, but not cause offense or hard feelings, nor hatred towards me.
Your next film, a comedy about a father who is left alone with his five children and goes through quite an ordeal, seems to be a way of taking Spanish machismo to task.
I’ve always thought of Spain as a very sexist society and I like that positive strides are being made. But this problems dates back so many years that radical changes aren’t possible. Telling a 70-year-old man that letting a woman enter the elevator first is ‘micromachismo’ (small-scale male chauvinism), that’s hard to explain.
Are we too sensitive?
You can’t put so many limits on humor. I’ve always thought you shouldn’t laugh at the dumbest student in the class but rather at the teacher. But these aren’t rules etched in stone. There used to be more flexibility. People have become very radical and get overly offended.