Why an Austin Filmmaking Team Shot Their Movie in Both English & Spanish

“Once an actor nailed it in one language, it was very easy for them to switch.”

By Joy DiazSeptember 21, 2016 10:17 am,

Making a movie can be expensive so most filmmakers look for ways to tighten their budgets – not to make the film more expensive.

But an Austin-based husband and wife team embraced a bigger budget. They’re hoping, in the long run, it will double their film’s impact. They produced it both in English and Spanish, among very few American films made this way. “The Vessel” stars Martin Sheen, with Terrence Malick as executive producer.

The couple behind the film – Marla Quintana and her husband Julio – produced, wrote and directed the film. She says initially, they wanted to do the whole film in Spanish.

“We got some pushback,” she says, “with people telling us that Americans wouldn’t watch a movie with subtitles.”

Quintana, along with her husband, decided – why not do both?

“We both come from bilingual families,” she says. “It’s very common for us to switch back and forth in our own homes. [We thought] let’s just shoot it this way.”

Quintana says it didn’t add much time to the production schedule because they simply added a few more takes to each scene.

“Once an actor nailed it in one language, it was very easy for them to switch,” she says.

In post-production, Quintana says shooting in two languages essentially doubled the time it takes to edit and finish the film. She says she’s surprised that no one else has tried to produce a bilingual film like this before.

“It has doubled our market, so the potential is extraordinary,” she says, “and it didn’t really add that much cost… We didn’t want to push away the American audience that wouldn’t accept a movie in the Spanish language.”

Post by Hannah McBride.

“The Vessel” trailer in Spanish

“The Vessel” trailer in English