Ana Elena Tejera Talks About IFF Panama Opening film ‘Panquiaco’ – Variety

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Supported by the Tribeca Film Institute, winner of the IFF Panama’s Primera Mirada pix-in-post showcase and chosen for Cannes Film Market final 12 months earlier than world premiering at January’s Rotterdam Film Competition, Ana Elena Tejera’s “Panquiaco” opened this 12 months’s IFF Panama pageant on Wednesday. 

That marks additional recognition for a hybrid documentary-fiction film which talks about belonging and plumbs neighborhood life in an indigenous village in Panama’s Guna Yala area, poetically monitoring the journey of 67-year previous Cebaldo, who lives in Portugal however returns to his village in Panama which he left as a younger man. 

The film additionally explores the hyperlink between his character and indigenous tribesman Panquiaco, who confirmed Spanish conquistador Vasco Nunez de Balboa a method from the Caribbean to the Pacific Ocean.

Produced by Tejera, Maria Isabel Burnes (Too A lot Productions) and Tomas Cortés-Rosselot (Cine Animal), “Panquiaco” can even open Frames of Illustration at London’s Institute of Up to date Artwork (ICA). 

Tejera is pursuing an inventive residency at Le Fresnoy in France. In April she returned to Panama for the IFF Panama Competition and has remained there as a result of COVID-19 disaster. The pandemic additionally stymied an on-site version of IFF Panama, which has been reworked right into a five-day on-line pageant, working Might 22-26, together with film screenings and spherical tables. Interviewed by Variety, Tejera talked about her inspirations for the film and her present mission, a brief film that includes her grandmother.

How has “Panquiaco” been acquired up to now?

Clearly that is an distinctive 12 months due to COVID-19.  The reception at Rotterdam was fantastic, with full classes and an excellent important response. We have now been invited to a number of different necessary festivals, together with HotDocs, and we would be the opening film in Frames of Illustration of the Institute of Up to date Artwork in London. It is because of premiere in Portugal on the finish of this 12 months. It’s nice to be the opening film at IFF Panama.

“Panquiaco” has a really distinctive aesthetic method, how would you describe it?

Because the film’s premiere we’ve acquired feedback about the new narrative fashion from Central America.  I’m not enthusiastic about utilizing labels such as fiction, documentary or essay.  My personal background is linked to psychology, working as an actress and in efficiency artwork. I intention to make movies which might be extra like performances. I’m enthusiastic about conflicts which might be rooted in real-life contexts, however are then sensed via the physique and result in a transformative expertise that’s shared with the viewers.  I like what Marina Abramovich stated about the distinction between theatre and efficiency: “In theatre, the knife’s not actual, the blood will not be actual. In efficiency it’s actual.”

What have you ever discovered from making “Panquiaco”?

It reworked me in a robust method . I really feel very concerned in efficiency artwork, the place I can work with my very own material, with my very own conflicts and that’s how I really feel that I work in cinema. Cinema helps me heal, keep in mind and perceive my relationship with myself and with my setting. Panquiaco, with out being literal,  speaks about my inside world, my battle of belonging, that connects me with Cebaldo. We each have the identical battle, regardless of our variations in age and gender and Panquiaco was the best way to do work via that in a efficiency. I discovered from the indigenous peoples methods to dwell within the current and have a relationship of respect with all residing beings. This reworked me and made me suppose that belonging is extra transcendental than an emotion of a single life or a single being. The neighborhood the place we filmed has a robust relationship with rocks, animals and crops. We filmed their rituals and tried to seize the sentiments from the within, not as ethnographic observers. I discovered so much from my cinematographer Mateo Guzmán who’s from Colombia and who labored on César Acevedo’s [Cannes best first feature and Critics’ Week winner] “Land and Shade.” I’m additionally impressed by Portugal’s Pedro Costa. 

Inform us a bit about your new mission….

At my inventive residency in Fresnoy, I’m getting ready a brief film about my household, particularly my grandmother, who acts within the film. Your entire film is conceived as a efficiency. I take the story of my grandmother, who grew up within the navy dictatorship in Panama and successfully lived in a home dictatorship at house.

I was born in 1990, a couple of months after the top of the regime run by a navy junta. In my nation the dictatorship has been an unstated and under-investigated topic, I solely actually started to know the dictatorship via restoring film archives. On the similar time I didn’t know concerning the story of my circle of relatives and my grandfather who was a soldier. By way of the film I confronted my household’s previous and the way the affect of a rustic’s dictatorship may very well be dictatorship in a home. What I’ve discovered from this new mission is that we want multiple life to remedy previous struggling. It takes not less than three generations to heal the scars of the dictatorship.

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Panquiaco
Courtesy: Ana Elena Tejera

Has your view of Panama modified from making these initiatives?

My relationship with the nation is altering on a regular basis. Panama is a spot that unites two waters, and on the similar time separates them, the place that was divided by the united statesinto a Canal Zone. Panama’s historical past is filled with divisions, miscegenation and contradictions. Contradiction is all the things, mild and darkness, that’s why in my work I discover reminiscence as one thing that’s diffuse – residing as a sensation that strengthens the soul and on the similar time ceases to exist. This ephemeral and on the similar time robust sensation, is an exquisite state of being, it’s what makes us extra susceptible and I really feel that it’s Panama, pure vulnerability.

What was it prefer to have the net Panamanian premiere of your film at IFF Panama?

The net premiere in Panama, the nation the place Panquiaco was born, was an expertise, it felt nearly like Cebaldo’s battle: a nostalgia for the previous. In our case, we lengthy for bodily festivals the place we are able to share with our neighborhood.  Now issues are totally different, we have to discover new methods and varieties to attach. Nevertheless, inside this contradiction I really feel one thing lovely. I’ve observed that the quarantine has created a susceptible setting for watching cinema. Now that we’ve sluggish lives, with time to replicate, I observed that audiences are extra open to such a movies. In our new actuality, we are able to spend hours watching the water boil and provides house and time to know what occurs in our inner world. Now life has been reworked into what is named “sluggish cinema”, “auteur cinema” and “experimental cinema” and that is very lovely!

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