A press release about a new movie shot in both Spanish and English caught my eye this morning because of its implications for online Spanish language schools like Web Spanish, and because of its potential impact on the US movie industry, which is rushing to find new ways to capture the growing market of Spanish speakers in the US, and the burgeoning market abroad.
Does filming a movie in more than one language sound like box office suicide? Well, movie director Julio Quintana is about to find out. When he filmed his new movie The Vessel, starring Martin Sheen, he hired only bilingual actors and he shot all the scenes in both languages.
According to Quintana, “This is potentially the future of filmmaking”, and he may be right. He reports that shooting the scenes in two languages only added 5% to the overall budget of $5 million – which seems like pretty good bang-for-the-buck when you consider the expanded distribution possibilities in theater, cable and Netflix. Think about it: if you have bilingual actors, it’s cheap and easy to shoot every scene twice. After all, the set is already built, the actors are already on scene, the lighting is set, and the cameras are pointed and ready to roll.
In the movie –which is set for release later this month – Martin Sheen plays the role of an American priest serving in a Hispanic town which suffers the almost unimaginable loss when a Tsunami crashes through the local school, killing all children. Dramas like these require tremendous direction and acting and we applaud Quintana’s initiative to tackle the challenge in both English and Spanish.
Of course, not all scripts lend themselves to the concept – story lines need to plausibly include characters who may likely be speaking one of the languages with an accent- but if The Vessel makes money at the box office, it should be an incentive for actors and directors to learn Spanish, and it ought to increase workopportunities for Latino actors who are already fluent in English.