In the spirit of #itchysilk, photographer Sofia Mendoza told us about an intriguing Mexican screen-writer, director and producer Edgar Cortés Campoy.
At 24 he is still young in this whole film business, but he has already released some sterling projects in the film and music industry. A project that caught our eye: the powerful and beautifully shot Why’d You Leave (2020) written, produced, and directed by Edgar for singer, Savva’s ep Medusa (2020).
Brought up in Mexico in a family where music was “the passion”, an interest in film set him out as an anomaly, “I wish I could say that I picked up the camera when I was eight. The truth is, I come from a musical background. I would say that seventy percent of my family are musicians at semi-professional or professional level. When I grew up, they always talked about music and so I did not really feel that involved because I did not know music. I learned guitar partly because I loved it but also because I wanted to be close to my family. I started composing when I was thirteen-I felt the need to write songs and when I did that, they were always biased towards narrative. Those compositions slowly progressed to short stories.”
While music was a family passion, Edgar who went to a private school found the world of film through his parents’ love of film.
“My parents loved music, but they were movie buffs too. I grew up on tv shows and films never thinking making movies was an actual job. When I was eighteen I decided I wanted to make movies. I did not see movies as just this ‘thing’. I discovered film but also in a way I chose it. Film was a tool where I could express what I wanted to express. Other mediums just did not help me to express the way that film could. That feeling that film was my true medium of expression grew with films like Birdman (2014) (one of my favourite films) and Whiplash (2014). They truly made me realise how impactful film could be.”
While he was raised in Mexico it was the behemoth that is Hollywood which filled his early cinematic experiences.
“I grew up with Hollywood. A lot of people see it as explosions, and it is to an extent. But the film-makers I look up to are from Hollywood. Christopher Nolan perhaps my biggest inspiration. When I went to college however, I broadened my tastes and I started looking at different names. I got into Korean films like The Chaser (2008) which is absolutely stunning.”
With some sensibilities from Hollywood and a broadened sense of film-making, Edgar is involved or working on personal projects showing Mexican film-making removed (in part) from Hollywood stereotypes and tropes. To that effect Edgar helped produce Nahjum (2020) directed by two other names to the ‘new wave’ of Mexican film-makers, Manuel Del Valle, and Sebastián Torres Greene. The short is a visually stunning, atmospheric project pulsing with verve.
Now in Mexico due to covid, he is palpably excited about two forthcoming personal projects he is working on.
“I am directing a music video and it will have this sci-fi edge. I am excited because I get to work with CGI it will be an awesome project. It is a young artist who is from Mexico. Also, I have another project I have written and will produce and direct. It is like an art deco energy- a thriller in Mexico. It is inspired by Korean movies and visually is like Watchmen (2009) with dark edges and that ominous feel.”
Edgar undoubtedly is one of a growing band of young new wave Mexican film-makers helping to add different layers to Mexico. After all, there must be more to Mexican cinema than El Chapo-right?
“Mexican movies usually veer into the whole Narco elements. It is a touchy subject because in some ways, that is Mexico, the cartels are real and the violence is real, but Hollywood can present a one-dimensional view of Mexico. I believe Mexican cinema is stepping up. I want to be part of this new wave of Mexican independent film-makers exploring the different sides of Mexico.”