4 items from 2016
Carolina Guerra has booked a recurring role on TNT's upcoming drama series Animal Kingdom, from John Wells Prods. in association with Warner Horizon Television. It centers on 17-year-old Joshua "J" Cody (Finn Cole), who moves in with his wild, freewheeling grandmother (Ellen Barkin) and uncles in their Southern California beach town after his mother ODs. He is pulled into their life of indulgence and excess and soon discovers that it's all being funded by the bank… »
Santo Domingo– Matías Bize’s “The Memory of Water,” Salvador del Solar’s “Magallanes,” Ciro Guerra’s “Embrace of the Serpent” and Cesc Gay’s “Truman” figure among 20 Platino Award best pic nomination candidates announced Thursday at a press-conference in Santo Domingo.
Pablo Trapero’s “The Clan,” Pablo Larrain’s “The Club,” Federico Veiroj’s “The Apostate” and Paula Ortiz’s “The Bride” also made the best pic cut for the third Platino kudofest, awards aimed at highlighting talent and movies from Latin America, Spain and Portugal.
Starring Elena Anaya and Benjamín Vicuña as a couple battling to overcome the loss of their small son, “Memory” competed at 2015’s Venice Days and took the Silver Colon at Spain’s Huelva Fest. Sold by Germany’s Global Screen, it most recently received plaudits from critics and audiences at this week’s Latin American Fest in Lleida, Spain.
Handled by Filmax Intl. »
- Emilio Mayorga
I programmed Ana Maria Hermida's short film "El Elefante Rojo," a coming of age story about a 15 year old girl who lives in a brothel in Bogota, Colombia who falls in love with her first client, about 8 years ago for the New York International Latino Film Festival. It was clear that Hermida had a vision and the camera empowered her. The awards she garnered were no surprise to anyone. I was elated to find out she had made her first feature film, "La Luciérnaga" (The Firefly), which is nominated for Beat Foreign Film, Best Lead Actress and Best Supporting actress at the upcoming Madrid International Film Festival and We spoke to Ana Maria about was behind the making of the film and the inspiration behind her work.
"La Luciérnaga" screens Sunday March 27 at 9:00 Pm as part of the Colombian International Film Festival in the East Village and tickets can be purchased Here
LatinoBuzz: Why Film?
Ana Maria Hermida: I keep asking myself that question. Why film? Why? It's so hard but the answer is always the same. Film making involves every single creative process that I love. Allow me to explain, I discovered in my early twenties I wanted to be a filmmaker by "accident". Since I was a little girl, I knew I wanted to be a story teller but the only "story telling" I knew growing up, apart from watching my mom tell us amazing stories of her childhood, were the dramatic stories I heard in the local news. So when I was around 8 years-old, I decided I wanted to be a journalist. That quickly changed once I started Journalism school around 10 years later. The reality of journalism, that I could only tell the objective facts of a story, was frustrating. I couldn't alter a story or exaggerate the details to make it exciting. I had no creative control and just as importantly, I couldn't reach the hearts and souls of my audience the way I wanted. It was no fun to be a journalist; I realized then and there that I not only wanted to tell stories but I wanted to create stories and wanted to make people feel something. I was always good at Fine Arts, I love drawing, painting, and taking pictures so I decided to change my major from Journalism to Fine Arts.
Once again, I quickly realized this wasn't for me either, because it felt very lonely; I spent days talking to brushes and canvases. I wanted to be part of a team, a living, breathing, talking team. I needed to collaborate, so once again I was lost and decided to move to NYC. Of course my parents weren't too happy about it. Long sidebar: NYC is the perfect city to find yourself, it constantly gives you clues and answers in so many different ways, you just have to be open to them. When I moved to New York in the fall of 2003, I applied to Cooper Union mainly because it was free. I had an Associate Degree in Fine Arts with a minor in Journalism, and even though I wasn't sure I wanted to become a painter, I decided to give it a second chance. During the application process, I had to take a creative test with six random questions. One of those questions was to show a room from one of its corners. I made a drawing and thinking it wasn't enough, I decided to make a short film. I had access to a little handy camera and with the help of a few friends, I made my first (and favorite) short film. It's called "Another Problem" and it tells the story of a girl who lives inside a tiny TV and writes a letter to the owner requesting her to buy a bigger TV. You can watch it here: https://vimeo.com/2963422.
This experience "accidentally" taught me all the steps to make a film. I was able to write a story, film it with friends, edit it with other friends and then show it around. Film making had all the components I love to do so I graduated with honors from the School of Visual Arts in 2009 and my thesis film "El Elefante Rojo" won Outstanding Film of the Year and Best Director. When actor Kevin Kline gave me the Best Director award, he told me to hire him someday. I will; have to keep my word. I hope he keeps his :) "El Elefante Rojo" was inspired by Gabriel Garcia Marquez's book "Memories of My Melancholic Whores" and you can watch it here: https://vimeo.com/21403482
LatinoBuzz: What was it about this story that you had to tell it?
Ana Maria: "La Luciérnaga" is my first feature film and it comes from an event in my life. Even though it's not autobiographical, it has very personal moments. My younger brother passed away in a car accident in December 2007. This has been the hardest thing I've ever had to deal with. It changed my life. It broke me but at the same time, it inspired me. After burying him, I came back to New York to finish school but I barely went to class as it was too hard to even get out of bed. One day, his long time girlfriend called me to tell me she wanted to spend some time with me in my (tiny) apartment in the Upper East side. Knowing she was coming gave me strength. I was able to get out of bed, buy groceries, clean up, and do all the things that seem impossible when you are deeply depressed. She stayed with me for over a month and during that time, I was able to see her discovering my brother through my eyes, and vice-versa. I would see her staring at me and saying thinks like, "you look just like him." This made me feel uncomfortable at first, mainly because it reminded me he was gone, but as time went by, I was able to turn it around and felt inspired to write a love story his death had inspired. "La Luciérnaga" tells the story of two women, who although are not lesbians, fall in love after going through a mourning process together.
LatinoBuzz: Some of the scenes in the film are stunning. What influenced the aesthetics?
Ana Maria: Colombia, my country. We are used to seeing horrible things about it, but Colombia is actually beautiful. I wanted to show that.Villa De Leyva for instance is one of my favorite Colonial towns, three hours away from Bogotá, the city in which I was born and raised. When I wrote the script, I had these locations in mind and working with Alonso Homs (my talented Dp) we were able to define the aesthetics of the film together. As far as filmmakers that inspire me, I love Jean-Luc Godard, Lucrecia Martel, Claudia Llosa, Spike Jonze, Miranda July, to name a few.
LatinoBuzz: You are Colombian but have lived in many cities - which one inspires you the minute you wake up?
Ana Maria: Ha! Good question. Every city I love inspired me in a different way. Bogotá for instance, it's all about family. When I wake up there I can smell my mom's home cooking or hear the little voices of my nephews. It inspires me to love and be loved, to be open emotionally and let my guard down. It reminds me of who I am and that's very helpful when writing. When I'm in NYC, I usually wake up with the city noise: a mix of cars driving by, people talking, sirens, the bus stopping. This "noise" inspires me to work harder and to not give up. It makes me feel invincible and capable of doing anything I put my mind into. When I'm in Los Angeles, the city where I live right now, it's usually the sun-rays that inspire me. It sounds cliché but all that vitamin D really makes me want to move, to go outside, to climb mountains (physically and mentally). It makes me feel positive and motivated. Those are the three cities I spend most of time in. I love waking up in little towns too because everything is new and unexpected. You never know what's going to move you or inspire you.
LatinoBuzz: What was the collaboration process like with your two leads?
Ana Maria: It was amazing and a blessing. They gave their 110%. Carolina Guerra (Lucia) and Olga Segura (Mariana) both loved the project and understood it from the moment they read the script. This made my job easier, and even though we were making a dramatic movie, we had a lot of fun shooting it. It's always nice to work with friends especially when they are so talented. We didn't have a lot of time to rehearse but together we were able to find the voice of each character and I'm very happy with their work - Thank you girls!
LatinoBuzz: Do you think Latin American cinema has become more accepting to financing films with Lgtb themes?
Ana Maria: I'm not sure. I think investors and studios (not only in Latin America but also around the world) are still uptight about investing in films that tell unique stories. In my case, I was very lucky to find investors that loved the story and believed in it. Some are from North America, others from South America. Lgtb themes are still a taboo in many Latin American places and that's another reason why I wanted to make this film. As a Colombian, I wanted to shake things up a bit down there, not in a preachy way but in an understanding way. At the end, we are all people and we were made to love one another regardless of your physical appearance.
LatinoBuzz: Ok, pick a book to turn into a film. who are the leads?
Ana Maria: Good timing! That's exactly what I'm doing right now for my next film. I took Alice in Wonderland and mixed it with the true story of an ex-guerrilla leader who was taken away from home by the guerrilla when she was just a little girl. The movie is called Alicia, and tells the story of an eleven year-old girl who lives in a very remote area of Colombia. One day she meets El Conejo (The Rabbit), a man with big frontal teeth, who convinces her to go with him. Together, they go through what seems to be a magical journey through the Colombian jungle, but it isn't until the end that Alicia finds out that this beautiful place she imagined is not what she thought it would be. The back drop is guerrilla warfare and the recruitment of child soldiers.
LatinoBuzz: What is the best advice has anyone given you regarding making films?
Ana Maria: I've gotten great advice throughout my (short) career but the one thing that really helped me especially during the post production process of "La Luciernaga" was, "Take your time." There is a Spanish saying: “Del afán no queda sino el cansancio". It roughly translates to "Rushing leaves you tired or you are left with tiredness after rushing" or something like that. Time is one (if not the most) important factor when making films. We all know "time is money" so rushing to get a shot or get everything you need is very important, however, there are moments during this creative process when it is very (very) important to take your time. We are artists and we need that time to make our art the best we can. Only with time can one recognize what's working or what's missing - I'm talking from my personal experience - so if you can take your time, do it. Don't rush the creative process especially when you're editing.
LatinoBuzz: What's next?
Ana Maria: Next is Alicia, my second feature, as well as a TV series that is cooking. I wish I could talk more about it but I can't - Please cross your fingers! That way I can tell you everything about it when it gets into production. Yeah. One last note, I wanted to let you know this movie was made mainly by women. I wrote it, directed and produced it with the help of my friend and fellow producer Luisa Casas. The main leads were women too as well as many crew members. It is important to mention the need of equality in the film industry. I don't blame anyone for it, but I do want to be part of the change and in order to have change, we need to create awareness and talk about it.
Give the film lots of love here:
Twitter - @LuciernagaMovie
Written by Juan Caceres . LatinoBuzz is a feature on SydneysBuzz/Indiewire that highlights Latino indie talent and upcoming trends in Latino film with the specific objective of presenting a broad range of Latino voices. Follow [At]LatinoBuzz on Twitter and Facebook »
- Juan Caceres
Guadalajara – Latin America’s biggest 2015 big fest winners – Brazil’s “The Second Mother;” Colombia’s “Embrace of the Serpent,” Argentina’s “The Clan,” Chile’s “The Club” and Spain’s “Truman” – are all in the running for this year’s 3rd Platino Ibero-American Film Awards.
Shaping up a kind of champion of champions face-off after movies from Spain, Latin America and Portugal won big at five big fests last year, the Platino kudosfest will unspool over the weekend of July 23-24, bringing down the flag on the new Convention Center at Uruguay’s Punta del Este, its main Atlantic coast resort.
Written-directed by Anna Muylaert, sold by The Match Factory and produced by Gullane, “The Second Mother,” about the revolution in a maid’s life when her daughter passes elite architecture university exams, won Berlin’s Panorama Audience Prize and Sundance World Cinema best actress award.
Two seering put-downs of »
- John Hopewell
4 items from 2016
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