Monday, May 26, 2014

Olalla: now "in the can"!

So happy with the shoot!
(photo: Miguel Inti Canedo)
I just got back from a 10 hour freezing cold bus ride from Potosí, and I couldn't be happier. My fourth film as director, Olalla, is now in the can! Thanks to my cast and tireless, talented crew we pulled off a huge amount of shooting in only a few days.

I got to work with Cristian Del Rio, a fantastic Flamenco musician and actor, who added his amazing voice and knowledge of period music to the film (Fatigaaaa!!!).

Rhobess Pierre played the unforgettable priest, with the unexpected and very welcome addition of some physical comedy to the role! In character, he even made me feel guilty in one scene, and I wasn't even raised with religion.

Alejandro Loayza (seen with me in the photo on the left) played the younger Felipe, severely freaking me out in the best way possible with his  excellent acting. He also played a key extra in the big scene, showing his diversity.

Eric Calancha not only terrified me with his Enrique, the instigator of Olalla's violent end, but was extremely helpful, as always, as PA.

Through Jesus Relos Ramos we found the two girls, Rosario and Valeria, who look just like Mila Joya and I, who were amazing actresses as our younger representations, as well as the terrifying crowd of villagers who drag Olalla out of the chapel, whip her, and burn her at the stake. Among them, the girls' father, Jaime, who was a super helpful key extra.

Mila, who acted in the first part of the film, was there as a fantastic assistant and key extra in the big scene, instigating the crowd to throw insults at poor Olalla.

Miguel Inti Canedo, as always, knew just what I wanted. In each film, he exceeds himself as Director of Photography in my films. The cinematography in this film blows my mind.

Gina Alcon exceeded herself as PA, actress (striking fear into my heart with her performance as one of the vicious townsfolk), and all around super helpful person on the set.

Sol Calle did a fantastic job with the make-up and hair, and entertained us with stories during downtime.

Rodrigo León continues to grab good sound for the film, and his massive knowledge of historic details, and art, add special touches.

Beatriz Lizarazu Jauregui, and her daughter, Beatriz Rivera Lizarazu, came all the way from La Paz to be key extras in the big scene. I can't wait to work with them again!

And what shall I say about the Hacienda Cayara, but that Arturo and David did such a great job that we could just relax and shoot the film. They even put up the cross with an incredibly awesome-looking platform.

Last, but certainly not least, my producer, Jac Avila exceeded himself with this huge production. Somehow, all I had to do was stand back while he produced the impossible and awesome. So many great things fell into place on this production that I think he must be sacrificing chickens in the back patio, just to make sure I get what I want.

I forgot to mention that I was dragged by one of our actors, a donkey, down the road when he decided his scenes were over. I'm pretty bruised up from the experience, but it gave me some perspective vis a vi the whipping/burning at the stake scene. Being out in the cold without clothes is nothing compared to being dragged down a rocky road by a burro.

Also, there was a great dog who acted in the film in the last scenes. I almost took him home with me he was so good, repeating the scenes, doing exactly the same thing in each take. Amazing. Until he started nibbling on the other cast & crew members.

The whole gang, in the 1880s scenes.
While I'm so happy with the film that I could burst, I also feel the let-down that comes with finishing a film. It's like a postpartum depression. All that remains is to nurture the film into maturity with post-production. My part is largely over. Sigh, it's like I have no purpose in life when I'm not directing a movie.

The only cure is to start right in on the next film, Debutante.

Discussing locations with Jac around the Hacienda Cayara.


  1. The appetite has been whetted. Some directors believe that the real filmmaking occurs in post production. Let the real work begin!

    1. Because I write such a tight script, and shoot the same way, the editing is more assembling (although artistic choices are made in selection of shots, of course). I am keen to see the final product, though!

    2. I greatly anticipate the final product. I have no doubt that it will be well worth waiting for and reflect all the love, thought and effort you put into it.

  2. Dear Amy,

    Congrats for Olalla, looking forward to see it as soon as it's available, hope you get the success you deserve for all your hard work

    Just found out yesterday about the fund raining for Olalla, wish I had found earlier, I surely would've liked to help, anyway I will be checking Debutante, really expecting that one,

    Wish you would visit the Dominican Republic, I'll contact some people I know to see the possibility of your pictures shown here, in festivals or similar,

    Wish the best for you and your "Crew" , Keep goin'

    Oscar Logroño

    1. Thank you so much, Oscar! I would certainly visit the Dominican Republic if I were to get into a festival. :)