Since I returned from Mendoza city, we have been in at full throttle.
First of all, talking about shooting a picture in another country is one thing but executing it in the small town of San Rafael is another thing all together. With “A Band of Rogues” it was a little different: Our producers here on the ground in Argentina had more time on their hands & there was just more of us in general to help out.
Of course this is just a teaser right now, but it is probably one of the most ambitions projects that I have ever tried to pull off. I use the phrase “pull off” because no matter how long I do this I always feel like we are trying to pull a fast one on somebody. Like we we are breaking the law. “Hurry let’s get this filmed before anyone finds out!” I think that’s one of the great thrills of this “job”.
Honestly, pull off is correct in more ways than one… For the teaser we have: 8 locations, 4 principle actors, 14 extras and it’s set to the back drop of the late 1970’s.
I mentioned that it’s all in Spanish, right?
Now, I am not in the habit of over extending myself. I do push myself hard. I have also learned, though, valuable lessons over the last 8 years and I have tried to always work within my perceived limits. But this time, as we thought about what we wanted to say with this teaser, I decided to push those limits and see what we could accomplish.
Despite a laborious final round of pre-production; we have successfully arrived at our shoot date. Throughout this process I have been amazed at the responses we have gotten to this project. For instance: We went to a neighboring village. We were talking to the police official there about shooting in his town. His first comment, after a resounding “Yes!”, was “If you don’t tell this story, no one will.”
It hit me then, and has since been cooking in my brain ever since, that he is right. I have been blessed with a gift. This story has traveled quite far to reach me: Passing from the reality of the dictatorship, into the hands of Daniel Fermani, (the novel’s writer), then onto Maria José and many others in Argentina, (as it has now been accepted into the University system of Argentina), then finally landing in my world.
Maria and I feel like everywhere we turn someone is saying, “Yes! This needs to be made!” Therefore, I move forward with the conviction that this picture should be made. It must be made for the people of Argentina. Which in turn empresses on me the responsibility I have in representing this people’s plight.
***We can only hope that the Arts Council feels the same way. If not… Guess what? We will be hitting all of y’all up for money! Ha Ha! No… but seriously…
I addition to this I have learned a lot in the last two weeks about what I need to do as a director.
I have to be the one who remains confident. Even if everything is falling apart; I have to stay strong. I also need to be understanding and patient; letting things unfold as they should. Argentina does not run on a schedule like we know it. Things stop during siesta which is hard for me to flow with. Mainly because, when I get on a project I am like a dog after a bone. 24/7 I am thinking about how to conquer it.
***Side note: Siesta is the time of day, generally from 2-6, when everything closes and the people go home to rest and eat with their families. It is not in full effect all over Argentina anymore but in San Rafael it is the golden rule. It was not created with the film community in mind.***
Ultimately, learning to exercise a clarity of vision has been the greatest awarded principle . I have practiced this in the past, but having to translate the vision fr the script into Spanish, for the troops to execute, has made me realize a process. A process not uncovered yet.
In closing I just want to reiterate, how continuously amazed I am by the resilience of the Argentinian people. Through dictatorships, governments that have raped their land, poor and surging economies, good times and bad times they survive and thrive! The joy they carry through life is astounding! And, just when I think that there is no way that we will accomplish (fill in the blank) they come through, out of the blue, with a solution!
Until today I didn’t have a clear line on a Gaffer, (lighting person), or lights either. Despite that I was still moving forward with faith that one would be provided. Well today it came about; two days before we shoot! We need an actor for a highly emotional scene; we get one of the great actors/teachers of stage and screen from Buenos Aires, (he happens to be a native San Rafaelien). This is just a handful of the things that have happened.
So now we have our locations set, tonight Maria and I had a sit down with our actors for this week’s scenes, lights are in order and we are prepared to commence this Thursday.
Prayers and best wishes appreciated; we have six days scheduled for shooting…
Until next time!