Thursday, April 30, 2015

Tío Louie Reporta: VIAJE with Paz Fábrega

HOLA is proud to present Tío Louie Reporta, where filmmaker and Executive Producer of Prime Latino Media, Louis Perego Moreno (also known as Tío Louie) interviews actors and multimedia-makers in the business.

In this edition, Tío Louie interviews director Paz Fábrega, director-screenwriter of the film Viaje, which made a huge impression on the recent Tribeca Film Festival in New York.

Director-screenwriter Paz Fábrega
 with Louis Perego Moreno
(Tío Louie).
One of this year’s coups at the Tribeca Film Festival, Viaje, was a Spanish-language world premiere by Paz Fábrega, director and screenwriter of the feature film. Hailing from Costa Rica, she sets a chance rendezvous by two souls at a costume party and off they go for a romantic weekend to Rincón de la Vieja National Park, a volcano forest in Costa Rica with no one around for miles. Scintillating to say the least.... But let this be an inspiration to actors– the director rejected Kattia González, the lead female in Viaje, for an earlier film, yet remembered her for this project where her star soars– not only as actress but also as co-producer. Never, ever walk away with a broken heart from an audition. You may have impressed the director who will call you back for another film more appropriate. Told in black and white, this is a film that transports you to lushness and an exploration of human relationships no matter now transient with lifelong effects.

    Is your feature film an exploration of a “hook-up” by virtue of the relationship between the two main characters and is judgment rendered? 
I think it is. Even though society is a lot more permissive in many ways now, a hook-up is not seen as romantic. It’s okay, but it’s not great– it’s not something you should do and you should feel bad about engaging in it. I wanted to portray a hook-up that physically lasts for a short time. Frankly, it’s a story that only takes place over the course of a few days. But it doesn’t mean it’s not real and that these two people aren’t fully engaged, kind and generous to one another. It’s not about things lasting forever or getting very serious. It’s about being a good person.
Viaje co-stars Kattia González
and Fernando Bolaños.
          How was casting and how was it in particular dealing with the lead actress, Kattia González, who was also your co-producer? 
She had auditioned for my previous film, Agua fría de mar (Cold Water of the Sea). I really liked her, but I felt that she was not really right for the role. But she stayed in my mind and felt that I might want to work with her later. Fernando Bolaños, who played the main male character, I knew him from kindergarten– I've known him my whole life. When we were 15 we were in a theater group together. We’re just very good friends. I had not seen him for 15 years and he got in touch because he saw my previous film, Agua fría de mar, and these two were really up for whatever I wanted to do. They said, “We’re in your hands”. They liked that previous film and they like what I do. They felt that whatever I decided to do they were going to be happy and proud of it. They were incredibly generous in that sense– they were open. They didn’t know what the story was about. They didn’t know what they were going to have to do, at all, but they were up for it.
Director-screenwriter Paz Fábrega.
      Every film production has its ups and downs. How was it shooting in the forest with all the conceivable 
variables you must have had to wrestle with ranging from weather to animals to audio? 
The hardest part about shooting in the Costa Rican national park were the insects. We had issues with mosquitoes– primarily with bugs that bite. But apart from that, shooting was a lot of fun and easy. We camped out in the woods for nine days. We were really far away from anything and we had to bring everything including food that would last for nine days. There were basically seven of us– actors plus crew. We slept in one big tent together. Maybe it was slightly uncomfortable at times, but I actually believe that it was interesting and it was good to be together under those variables and the focus became the film. We really bonded and were comfortable with each other and really close and I loved that. Shooting was great fun.
González and Bolaños.
            In this film, Viaje, you worked primarily with two actors. What is your advice to directors on how to optimize their actors’ portrayals for the screen? 
My style of working is maybe a bit unusual and perhaps may not be appropriate for others. It takes a lot of personal involvement with the actors. I almost always end up becoming really good friends with my actors. I need to be really close to them by developing an intimate relationship to understand certain things about them, how they operate and how their emotions function. For me that is the most interesting aspect of directing. It allows me to do a study on people and frankly, I find this fascinating. We talk a lot and I spend a lot of time with them. Rehearsals are not about repeating scenes– I almost never do that. It’s more about having a cup of coffee, talking about our lives and observing them. It’s good for me to learn what they talk about, what interests them, what moves them– what makes them tick. It’s sort of becoming friends with someone very quickly over a short span of time. It’s about diving into their personal sphere in order to get at the core of the person. It’s a type of work that permits me to go there.

Spanish-language trailer of Viaje.

Spanish-language trailer of Agua fría de mar (Cold Water of the Sea).

Louis E. Perego Moreno (Tío Louie) is President of Skyline Features, he is an interactive content producer and educator who for the past 33 years has owned a bilingual (English- and Spanish-language) multimedia and educational production company developing documentaries, television programming and advertising commercials featuring Latinos, Blacks, Women, Urban Youth and LGBT people. He is also the Executive Producer of PRIME LATINO MEDIA, the largest network of Latino multimedia-makers and actors in the metropolitan New York area that gather once a month to interview proven leaders in the community.

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