Iván Noel (1968 – July 19, 2021) was a French-Argentine film director and producer, known for They Returned (2015), En tu Ausencia (2008) and ¡Primaria! (2010). In their July, 2009 journal, Camilo José Cela University compared his works to those of Truffaut and Comencini. He originally started in the arts by writing and performing his own musical compositions.
Noel was born in 1968 in Beirut. His mother was Australian and his father was of French and British descent. He was fluently triligual. His family was well-to-do but "nomadic" resulting in him attending 8 different schools in as many countries.
He had a BA in music and education from the University of York, specializing in soundtrack composition, having studied amongst others with Wilfred Josephs, and began his career as professor in the field of music, composing and giving concerts as a solo classical guitarist and piano accompanist in Paris.
Noel won awards for his photography (Best New Artists at the Petit Palais’ ‘Salon d’Automn’ exhibitions, Paris), but also his compositions (finalist winner of the British Songwriting competition in 2006). In 2006 he decided to sell his house to finance the filming of his first feature film, In Your Absence (2008). It was a low budget production made with unknown actors, but it woke the interest of critics. The film was featured in several festivals, including Vancouver, Palm Springs, Chicago, Bahamas, Athens, etc. In Vancouver the film finished fifth out of more than 200 films. Vanguard International Cinema distributed the film in North America.
For the next project, the director moved to a town of Seville, Lebrija. He lived there for a year to study the local people so as to cast them correctly. For funding, Noel, lacking a budget, raised the money through donations. He arranged free rentals of shooting locations and the actors volunteered to work for free. It was recorded during the summer of 2008, and was released in 2009 with the title of Gap later to be changed to Brecha. It opened to small premieres in Spain, and was received with praise by its audiences.
In 2010 he released ¡Primaria!, his third feature film. He shot it in the school San Francisco de Paula in Seville. He spent a year there teaching the children art. Since it was the first time in film making history that the same teacher of the children was also their director in a film, Noel believed that this would increase the naturalness in the representation of scenes by the child actors, creating a very favorable context to get real emotions and situations experienced. In this sense, Noel liked to say this film is "a story with children where nothing is invented, even the most unlikely thing." Noel defines the film as "a comedy about the bowels of the primary starring three students, Jose Joaquin, Carlos and Carmen." The film also portrays the life of the faculty, focusing mainly on three of them. Noel manages to convey the personal lives of these teachers beyond their work without reaching the use of narration.
With Vuelve, commercially released in 2012, Noel moved into the horror genre. Filmed in Argentina, it is about a boy who loses his mother under strange circumstances. She communicates with him from beyond the grave, seeking a reunion. The film premiered on October 12, 2011 at the Festival of Unusual Cinema of Buenos Aires. His next project, Limbo was released in 2013.
They Returned turns on the strange disappearance of three children from their small town, and their reappearance three days later in a strange state.
“They Returned” is a “thriller with strong supernatural elements, drawing on a political historical context,” explained Betina Goldman, from long-running Latin America and horror specialist One Eyed. “We see great festival and critical recognition potential in the works,” she added.
Ivan Noel ran the film production company Noel Films, who, aside from the feature films listed below, have produced a dozen commercials and as many videoclips, including one for the Icelandic group Sigur Ros.
List of filmsEdit
- En tu ausencia (English: In Your Absence) (2008)
- Brecha (2009)
- ¡Primaria! (English: Primary!) (2010)
- Vuelve (2013)
- Limbo (English: Children of the Night) (2014)
- Ellos Volvieron (English: They Returned) (2015)
- La tutora (English: The Tutor) (2016) (other names: Rodillas Quemadas, Burnt Knees)
- 9 Meals From Chaos (2018)
- Rechazados (2019) (English: Rejected)
- Cordero de Dios (English: Lamb of God) (2020 in post production)
- "Con niños actores locales se viene filmando “Limbo”: una película sobre vampiros"
- "Ivan Noel graba su tercer largometraje en el sevillano colegio San Francisco de Paula"
- Whittaker, Richard (Oct 31, 2015). "DVDanger: This Is Halloween Unconventional horror for the haunting time". Austin Chronicle. Retrieved May 3, 2016.
- Mayorga, Emilio (December 3, 2014). "One Eyed Takes 'They Returned'". variety.com. Retrieved May 3, 2016.
- "Noel se despidió con un video: "Nunca le hice daño a la gente, menos a los más vulnerables"". Resumen de la Región - Noticias, Alta Gracia (in Spanish). 19 July 2021.