He was born on May 3, 1979 in Barcelona.
He is the son of Catalan merchants. His childhood and primary and secondary education take place in Sabadell. At the age of 15, he shows a special interest in film inherited from his father, which becomes a passion that ultimately materializes in the purchase of an old Super 8 M / M camera, with which he makes his first work.
Son of the video era, he quickly replaces the old Super 8 film camera with a new and flamboyant Sony High Video, in which he begins to reflect his fanaticism in his first short films and home videos.
At the age of 21, advised by his family, he began studies in Business Administration, moving away from his dream of being a filmmaker.
At the age of 23, he enrolled in university to study Systems Engineering.
During the first year of his studies, Toni and two of his classmates presented an Internet portal that ended up becoming a prolific service company, managing the exchange of data between teachers and parents of public schools. This project was recognized with a State prize for the best youth business project.
In the following years, he consolidated himself as a businessman, employing more than 70 workers.
After creating two subsidiary companies at the age of 30, he decided to recover his long-awaited dream of becoming a filmmaker and embarked on a new path, leaving behind the life of a businessman and returning to the life of a student. He enrolled in the CECC (Centre for Cinematographic Studies of Catalonia), thus beginning his stage as a film student.
Three years later, he graduated. His first steps as a filmmaker focused on writing screenplays and making short films and music videos.
In 2019, he co-founded, with his wife Carolina Garrido, the production company Esdemangofilms, starting from the idea of developing their own screenplays and films with a clear commercial and international orientation. The first important project they decide to debut in 2022 is Run Baby Run, in which Toni serves as producer, writer, and director.
Your project takes a part in our festival. What is your project about?
This is a story of overcoming obstacles, preparation, and a testament to our real inability to foresee when we will have a bad day.
What starts as a peaceful day of running in a natural park turns into a surreal race for survival that will test all of Diana's skills, the protagonist of the story.
Diana embarks on a hero's journey, leaving behind her ordinary world to venture into the unknown, filled with strange events that will challenge her courage and determination.
What were your requirements for actors to take a part of your film?
The film has three main roles. Perhaps the biggest difficulty in choosing actors was that it was a very physical film. That forced us to look for people trained in Running, Climbing, and adventure sports, since the film was literally running through the mountains.
Both Cody Cowell and Catuxa Leira proved to be not only excellent actors, but also in impeccable shape.
How did you communicate with the cameraman?
I enjoy a close collaboration with the director of photography and the cameramen on my projects. Often, I start with certain framing ideas already established in my mind, but I've learned that surrounding myself with professionals and sharing my visions with them always enriches our work. I'm particularly thrilled when they propose new perspectives for a shot or we work together to overcome unexpected challenges.
I love working with cameramen who have an innate sensitivity to framing and camera movement. There are professionals who, when they hold a camera in their hands, convey the love and passion with which they approach each shot. Because ultimately, shots need that touch of affection, in a metaphorical sense, to come to life and tell the story in the most impactful way possible.
Why should distributors buy your film?
Because the theme of overcoming and preparing for adversities is universal and appeals to everyone.
Because it's a film that fights minute by minute to maintain a fresh narrative, original action, and maintains an attractive visual approach.
What expression elements did you use in your project? How would you characterize your work?
From the beginning, our story is presented as a fairy tale, a fable. It was of utmost importance to convey the feeling of being immersed in a fairy tale universe. We were looking for images that would paint nature in an idyllic way, creating a contrast with the wild action that unfolds.
Our visuals were based on the creation of clean and careful images, preferably using fixed shots, angular lenses. The photography focused on working with chiaroscuro from the ground up. This choice provided us with a color palette that originated in sharp photography, which in turn expressed our deep appreciation for light.
One of the most distinctive features of this project is the way the action is narrated. By nature, I am used to a more leisurely, classically styled cinematic language and camera movements. In the last decade, cinema has merged its techniques with those of the video game world, which at times has been a challenge for me. Honestly though, I think it's interesting to experiment with all these possibilities, as long as they serve the narrative.
At what festivals have you had success? Has the film already premiered? If so, where?
We just finished post-production a month ago. We have just started our festival tour. We are delighted to have been selected at the London Directors Awards, and we are proud to announce that Catuxa Leyra, our lead actress, has been awarded Best Action Actress at this year's NIAFFS -International Action Film Festival-. We hope that the film will continue to be successful and lucky in other festivals.
The film's U.S. theatrical release date is scheduled for January, and we are in discussions to secure release dates in all international territories. Although these conversations with distributors are often as complex and tedious as the actual making of the film.
What motivated you to become a filmmaker?
I am passionate about the art of storytelling and I always find satisfaction in the idea of bringing stories to life through film. This vision of life constantly drives me to keep pursuing my dream. I have come to the conclusion that being a filmmaker is an attitude that, in the worst case scenario, can lead to the sweetest of failures...
Which movies are your favorites? And why?
It is always difficult to choose favorite films, the list is too long. For me, any film, regardless of genre, that conveys genuine intent and emotion has the power to completely captivate me.
I can name a few movies that I never tire of watching. Among my favorites are Buster Keaton's "The General," "2001: A Space Odyssey," "ET," and most recently, "Inception," as well as any film directed by Christopher Nolan, Denis Villeneuve or Michael Mann. Of course, the list is extensive and I won't mention all the films I admire....
Ultimately, what fascinates me is to observe how certain directors master the art of controlling time and narrative in their films, as if they were touched by a magic wand.
What topics do you like to deal with in your work?
In general, I enjoy exploring the rewards of perseverance and effort, I like to convey messages in which those who try hard receive some kind of reward, be it moral, personal satisfaction or simply material gain. I believe that, ultimately, any topic can be of interest to me as long as it is not treated frivolously.
What genre do you like to shoot and why?
I feel especially comfortable in the thriller genre. It's a type of filmmaking that gives you the freedom to experiment with a wide range of elements while telling a story. I love the possibility of taking reality, reconstructing it in a fictional way and then molding it into something completely new.
What project would you like to shoot one day, what would it be about?
Every filmmaker has a project in the drawer to which he or she passionately aspires. In my case, it is a political-religious sci-fi thriller. This project explores human longings, consciousness, the soul and those themes that always haunt us in some way. Whenever I have time, I work on it.
How has COVID affected your film life?
It was a challenge that forced us to constantly reinvent ourselves. Shooting dates were constantly moving, and choosing the country where to film became an almost impossible task. In addition, we must add the social drama that the pandemic caused, affecting friends and family. It was a strange and complicated period for all of us... Very hard.
What do you do if you're not thinking about a movie? What are your hobbies?
Interestingly, when I'm not immersed in filmmaking, I usually find myself enjoying one on the big screen. However, I also deeply value spending time with my family, connecting with nature, enjoying music and of course, the sea. I must admit that in recent years, I have developed a strong fondness for cooking, with a particular interest in bread making.
What projects do you plan to shoot in the future?
Currently, I am immersed in the creation of a script based on a biblical character, as well as in the development of a science fiction series for television.