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TALENT PRESS 2013: Juan Carlos Fangacio

The times are changing in Peru. Old and useless ideas have started to fade away and a new generation of filmmakers, producers, actors and critics are leading cinema in the country with things we had never seen before.


Juan Carlos Fangacio

Armando Robles Godoy, the most renowned filmmaker in Peru, who died at 87 a few years ago, said once that “If Peruvian cinema disappears, nothing happens”. This quote might sound pessimistic but those who knew Godoy will understand his concern about the situation of films in my country. Even though he made such great films as 'No Stars in the Jungle’ (1967), ‘The Green Wall’ (1970) and ‘Mirage’ (1972), he was still a rara avis in the national panorama.

My personal contact with cinema has been kind of accidental. I’ve always been more keen on literature but I started working for a cine-club in Lima, writing for the catalogues and programming. Since then, I’ve collaborated with the independent film magazine Godard!, and I also work as a co-programmer for the Ibero American Digital Cinema Festival (FIACID) in Lima. There are a lot of young people who enter this world in the same way as me: just by chance. There are no film schools in Peru and those who decide to make a career have to travel abroad.

Don’t misunderstand me. This is not a totally negative thing. The bright side is that young people have become increasingly interested in Peruvian cinema in the last years. Just in the past decade we have seen young filmmakers winning important prizes (‘The Milk of Sorrow’ in the Berlinale and ‘October’ in Cannes are only two examples) and some others that—without awards or commercial success—have achieved recognition with their work (I would mention Omar Forero, Fernando Montenegro, Eduardo Quispe and Rafael Arevalo as names you may ‘google’ if you want to know a bit more. Some of them have studied in other countries and eventually have returned to Peru to put in practice what they learned.

Hopefully, we are still living in a time of change in Peru. Old and useless ideas have started to fade away and a new generation of people (filmmakers, producers, actors and also critics) are leading cinema in the country with things we had never seen before: excellent movies from the provinces, calculated and innovative risks thanks to the digital format, independent projects that don’t need national or international funds, new ways of distribution via the Internet, etc.

Godoy might have been a skeptic about Peruvian cinema... but he surely dreamed of a change, and it may have finally arrived.


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