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Victor Gaviria and Juan Sebastián Mesa shared at FICCI 61 in Cartagena. Photo: Courtesy FICCI
Victor Gaviria and Juan Sebastián Mesa shared at FICCI 61 in Cartagena. Photo: Courtesy FICCI

The challenge of making films in the Colombian mountains

Colombian director Víctor Gaviria spoke with Juan Sebastián Mesa about the experiences of making films in rural areas of the country.

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As part of the 61st Cartagena International Film Festival (FICCI), renowned Colombian film director Víctor Gaviria had a meeting with Juan Sebastián Mesa, a young man who opened this year's festival with his feature film 'La Roya'.

Gaviria, recognized for his film 'La vendedora de rosas', told the audience what a great achievement it was to premiere a film at FICCI when he was so young, as is the case of Mesa, who at 32 years old has already premiered two feature films at the festival.

"When I was about 6 years old, I remember going into a movie theater to see 'La vendedora de rosas,' and that's when I saw that we have the ability to tell a reality", Mesa said, emphasizing how that moment in his childhood marked him to continue his life as an audiovisual filmmaker as he grew up.

Mesa also said that his life has been between the city and the countryside, and that is why he has always been linked to tell stories about the realities of these characters that relate to rural life, as is the case of 'La Roya'.

"My first experience filming with 'Los Nadie' was completely different from 'La Roya', because this one had very big logistics", recounted the young director while narrating his experience with the film that had its premiere at FICCI 61, where he said that all the people who made part of his team were running through the mountains, a difficult territory to make such a big production.  

Mesa said he had to make this film in the mountains, because his father came from the countryside, so this film is a way of reflecting on what his life might have been like if he had never left the countryside for the city.

"I wanted to talk about the gap that is generated when a person migrates from the countryside to the city. To generate a clash between the rural and the urban, of how the ways of speaking, the priorities and the interests of these rural communities that eventually become urban change," he mentioned in his conversation with Gaviria.

In the middle of the conversation, Gaviria also mentioned how the paisas (people from Medellin), have a certain rigor with their most typical customs, such as that young people must leave home in order to succeed, contrary to the case of the main character of 'La Roya'.

Finally, both Colombian directors agreed that even the superstitious stories heard in the countryside are a fundamental and enriching part of the stories that are born in these areas. Gaviria concluded by saying that "the Colombian countryside is full of fantastic stories that deserve to be told". 

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