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Gushing wounds, rabid bats, decrepit corpses and oozing crevasses, welcome in the macabre world of Studio DDT, a Barcelona based company that produces state-of-the-art special effects. It is run now by David Marti and Montse Ribe. They experienced some terrifying times but managed to claw their way back to life. Now, they are responsible for one of the most mind-boggling characters in special effects, El Fauno, from Pan’s Labyrinth.
But that’s not the only terrifying specimen these creative geniuses have spawned. Their past is filled with such freighting successes as Darkness and the American breakthrough, Hellboy. Can you recall the horrors of Darkness? Do you have visions of Hellboys hair-raising face?
As you can imagine Montse is no stranger to hard work and doesn’t shy away from a challenge. She started out as a student at DDT’s school, and now runs the place. Of course, she still actually gets her hands dirty, working on the make-up, costumes, masks and props. “I always liked to draw fantasy figures and imagine them. And I always wished that they were real and that I could talk to them. The only way to see and touch them and talk to them is by doing this kind of work.”
All their hard work paid off. Having received an Oscar for Pan’s Labyrinth, Montse goes on to say; “We really suffered, as it was very difficult and we had very little time. And we didn’t have a very large budget. We really didn’t expect to get an Oscar for this movie. For every movie we gave all we had, always trying to do the best we can. But we never thought that a movie made here in Spain would ever make us win an Oscar. So all that suffering has been forgotten.”
As wonderful as this al sounds, DTT Efectos Especiales does suffer from one foul flaw.“We have this small defect, which is fine for directors but not for us, as we always do more than they pay us for. We do it because we really like it and we want to make the director as happy as possible. So we always go a little bit further. It’s not wise from a business point of view. But on the other hand it makes us happier.”
It’s made us happier too. Note to future directors: Don’t dare exploit DDT’s goodwill. They have an army of very scary creatures so beware.
Pretty Cool Crew: Commissioning editor for SubmarineChannel: Geert van de Wetering, Camera: Niels de Roos, Interview, Sound & Editing: Ben de Loenen.