Posts Tagged ‘Andes’

The 21st London Latin America Film Festival has programmed Postales for this year’s festival.  The film screens at Riverside Studios on the Thames River. Tell a friend in London.

Postales Screening Times:

Monday, November 21 at 20: 30 (8:30 pm)
Thursday, November 24 at 18:30 (6:30 pm)


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As we’ve been working to find the North American Premiere for Postales, we’ve also had a bit of time to travel.  A couple days after the Edinburgh Int’l Film Festival, Dan Fischer, a producer and the cinematographer of the film, traveled through Peru to catch up with the crew and cast of Postales.

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Our hope is to create a Peruvian revenue stream that goes directly to support various NGO’s in Cuzco which support street kids.  This is the first step in having the film give back to the community it came from.  Thanks for the support and enjoy the photos from our cast and crew in Peru.

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Q: What does Postales mean?  Day23TP - 30

Well, Literally it means Postcards, which is what the main character of the movie, Pablo, sells to every type of tourist on the streets of Cuzco.  The movie for me is always trying to reference the postcard reality that exists as you travel through a beautiful place or witness a culture. In Postales, the reality is a poor street kid living at 12,000 ft. in the Andes in the middle of the old Inca Capital.  As the movie continues, the goal was to have this reality unravel as the American family arrives and the street kid’s love interest, the youngest daughter of the American family, Mary, enters the story.  Through these two characters, Mary and Pablo, the theme of cultural understanding emerges from their innocent and unconditional interactions with each other.  In the end the film tries to become a cinematic postcard for cross-cultural love, with the hope of finding true cultural understanding.

Q: What was the inspiration for Postales?

You know…simply…something real…genuine…from a perspective that might not have been shown otherwise.  The film itself and the story’s major plot points, as well as character actions, are based in real stories that one of the team or I had heard along the way of researching the story and rewriting the script.   It’s not like we thought of the story outside of any reality and then decided to place it in Cuzco, Peru.  In many ways it was quite the opposite, instead first being intoxicated with a place and its stories and then writing a script.  For example, a lot of our locations are places where Spaniards and the Inca fought and massacred each other.  Specifically when the American mother throws up from altitude sickness in an alley, that alley ran thick with blood and was next to the Inca’s Palace which later became a cathedral.  It’s a story about cultural understanding in a place where historically and currently the aftershocks of early colonialism are still the foundations for indigenous Peruvian’s reality.

Dir-w-actorsQ: Why did you choose such a nontraditional locale for your first feature?

I’m not sure if we chose it or the story chose us in a strange way.  It came out of a documentary project; Dan Fischer and I were shooting a documentary all over Southeast Peru. As we were editing onsite in Cuzco, we fell in love with the street kids and their street fly, spontaneous, carefree lifestyles. The documentary was completed and we moved on, but the story of the street kids stuck with us…almost begging to be put on paper.  Eventually, it got to paper in an early, rough draft, while I was interning/mentoring at Kartemquin Films in Chicago.  This script wasn’t right, and I knew it, and so began the 8-year journey…9 when we get distribution and the film gets to an audience.

Q: How did you cast your actors?

In order to fit the story we wanted there to be an onscreen collision of cultures— between the Americans and the Peruvians.  Naturally, this would happen as long as we cast according to nationality.  To take it a step further and empower a story, we cast non-acting indigenous Peruvians to portray their on screen characters.  In this way there would also be a collis092408_ActPrctc - 13ion of acting cultures from the trained actor from NYC to the non-actor whose spontaneity is sometimes like watching lightning strike.  This isn’t to say that we didn’t rehearse.  We rehearsed with the American actors over 2 weeks in NYC and then did an intensive, month-long acting workshop with the indigenous Peruvian non-actors.  In order to keep it as real as possible, we would build the rehearsals up to the point where we would actually practice on the shooting location just to give them real motivation as well as capture the “on location” reality of the Andes.

Q: How was the film funded?

Well, the film was funded by a core of people giving small 5-20k donations as well as the inner circle all working for free to help tell a good story.  The bulk of the money came from a strange source, as well as ironic source.  My mom and I worked out a deal where I would pay back a loan from our community bank in my home town of Carbondale, IL.  We would borrow against her house, the house I grew up in, in order to make the film.  This loan would end up being one of the last loans community banks were giving out before the credit markets froze in the financial crisis in the summer of 2008.
Q: Which filmmakers have been inspirational for you?

This is such a tough question.  Early on as a child, I would devour movies with my brother and sister, sometimes watching 3-5 in one night only to turn around the next day and rent 3-5 more and watch them all the next night.  These early films of all shapes and sizes began the idea of story telling.  I watched movies like, Menace to Society, Little Big Man with Dustin Hoffman, all of Akira Kurosawa’s films, John Woo’ s early work, Jim Jarmusch, Sergio Leone, there are so many.  This was up through high school, and then as I got into092408_ActPrctc - 44 undergraduate film school, I began to appreciate the language of cinema and how every culture uses the medium of images and sound for their own stories.  I began to really appreciate the difference between a Russian film, a Thai film, and Neo-Realism.  Fellini vs Sembenne, Third World Cinema vs. Hollywood vs BaliWood vs. Naliwood.  A world of cinema exploded along with a story filled world.  In all these movies, I never really saw anybody like me, a half Filiipino/half American person, behind, in front or even near a camera.  This helped fuel the fire of looking for unique stories from untold points of view..

Q: Why did you choose to cast non-actors?

One of my main mentors, Rajko Grlic, would always say, “How can you make a film more than just a film?  If you can do this then it will relate to more people, be more profound, and have an audience.”  For me, using this mantra as well as the idea of artistic justice, or cinematic justice inspired me to cast non actors.  Sometimes cinema and storytelling can help the world atone for previous mistakes as well as future mistakes, if we can just understand the message of the story.  If we can take the message and the story and then tell it to people around the world, maybe through that contact of film to audience we can avoid those mistakes in our individual lives as well as fulfill our roles in our communities.

Q: What other projects are you working on?

Right now, I’m freelancing in New York doing a lot of documentaries, webisodes, and some commercials for brands like Steve Madden, American Eagle, ASPCA, and Procter and Gamble.  I also teach on the side when my time is available.   I’m helping produce a documentary about a “miracle” high school basketball team that broke all statistical records from the NBA down to Dir-Actor-Cameracollege, but was forgotten, due to the politics of segregation.  There are eight surviving members of the basketball team, and through them, we will come to know a time when the game of basketball had a political significance that has disappeared as civil rights emerged.  On a narrative front, I’m focusing my energy on another love story.  It’s kind of an action-love story.  The log line is, “When a hit goes bad, Korean hit man, Kim Po Way, is faced with protecting his own identity by murdering an innocent, darkly beautiful, handicapped woman. Instead, he kidnaps her and falls in love as another “lost soul” society has used, tortured, and forgotten.”  I’m starting to write this now and hopefully this will be the next film we make.

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