Every year, Karlovy Vary International Film Festival collects a great selection of short films, made by film students and graduates from various countries of Europe. With their unique style, vision and brave mix of genres, the 10 newcomer directors of the Future Frames are showing a promising future for the European cinema. We made a short interview with all directors who got selected, meet Karen Vázquez Guadarrama, director of Flor de Mil Colores (Flower Of A Thousand Colours).
Director’s biography: Karen was born in Mexico City and studied Film at the Royal Academy of Fine Arts in Belgium’s Ghent. Her first narrative short film MONT D’OR (2013) was selected by several film festivals and won the Grand Prix at the Kratkofil Plus Film Festival in Bosnia-Herzegovina. Her short documentary FLOR DE MIL COLORES was named Best Belgian Student Short at last year’s film festival in Ghent and won the Best Documentary Public Award at Mecal Barcelona this March.
Flor de Mil Colores (Flower Of A Thousand Colours):
Flower of a thousand colours is an intimate portrait of Emiliana, a single mother who tries to survive in a remote Bolivian mining camp at 4897 meters above sea level. Emiliana lives with her children in the middle of the paradise like mountains of Mina Argentina. But appearances are deceptive: the life in the camp is fierce. Those who find tin eat, does who don’t, don’t eat. And because the excessive alcohol consumption in the camp, Emiliana has to be constantly aware of the dangers surrounding her family.
What was your first thought when you realized you got into the Future Frames?
I was surprised because you know how big the competition is for being part of the Future Frames. I was immediately looking forward to meeting all the filmmakers that will be there.
How do you prepare for the festival? What do you expect from it?
I think that you can not prepare yourself for a festival, you have to be yourself, be honest and show what you believe in as a filmmaker. I have been watching the films of the other director’s and I am impressed of the level of the films, they are all of them very good! Future Frames gives you the opportunity to – no matter being quiet new to it – experience the film industry market as a professional film maker, you can meet a lot of interesting people not only from the industry but also filmmakers.
How is the film education in your school? Do you get funds for your short films there?
I am very happy I took the decision to study film at The Royal Academy of Fine Arts in Ghent, Belgium. For them the artistic vision is very important, they help you to explore different ways to express yourself, you get a lot of freedom, they try and help you find your own way in het medium. Unfortunately, we don’t get funds at our school to make our films, so it’s pretty hard for a student to pay our thesis film.
How did you find your main character? How much time did you spend with her?
I went together with my boyfriend for 8 months to Bolivia, I operated the camera and he was the soundengineer. We lived lived in the mountains for 5 months. We started asking different people of the town to hear their stories and Emiliana was one of them. She felt a big urge to tell us her life story. Afterwards we built up a good relationship with her and her kids, it went very natural.
Do you have personal connection to this area?
Now I have for sure a strong connection with the place, but before I didn’t know it existed. After 3 months of research in different mining communities it we discovered this place by accident. I was in a conversation with a stranger who spoke about this place with such passion and poetry, that we needed to go and see it with our own eyes. When we first arrived, we we ‘re almost immediately convinced this arena needs to have it’s story told.
Your film takes place in very extreme circumstances, the heights and the mine seem like a rough place to shoot. How was the experience of the shoot? What’s your favorite memory of it?
Indeed, it was a rough place to film, it was very cold and the living circumstances are extreme at 5,000 m above sea level, but it’s part of the adventure. The people live in those circumstances for their whole live so our discomfort is of no importance. My favorite memory was the first day I arrived there, the fog was everywhere, the mountains, the people, everything surrounded by fog, it was magic. I was so impressed by the beauty and mystery of that place.
What is your next film plan? Are you preparing for a short or a feature film soon?
I am editing my first feature documentary. It is a poetic portrait of the same mining camp told from different perspectives, different characters, it has a lot of focus on the mysticism of the place and the culture, about how close hell and heaven, god and the devil are there. We felt that the mining camp had a lot more to tell, that couldn’t be told in a short film, that’s why we decided to make a feature film of it. It will be finished by October!
Director’s bio, short film summary, and photos from the official website of the Future Frames. More interviews are coming with the directors!