Juan Carlos Oganes' film-making and work blog.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

A travel through time...

Here is my visit to my fellow Pacific War forum member.
His house is a plethora of war paraphernalia. Things he got thru the years of having a profound attachment to this era like I do.
Oscar Ferreyra not only keeps original stuff for the war times he has collected with his non-profit organization for almost 20 years, but also is a great source for knowledge about the topic.
It was like going back in time in a way. Gave me a broader notion of the war.
I felt like a kid in a candy store!

Thursday going to check the uniform gallery he keeps in his office/museum.

Found the location to shoot the famous Bolognesi response

Found a location to shoot the famous response Francisco Bolognesi gave to the Chilean enemy in 1880, two days prior to losing his life...and it's right here in Lima!! As any Peruvian and knowledgeable person about the war should know, he said to the enemy officer: "Sir, tell your commanding officer that Arica will not surrender. I have sacred duties to fulfill and I will do so 'till we shoot our last cartridge".
An example to every Peruvian or others who loves his country and has a healthy sense of patriotism.

The first time I went there (Arica) was back in 1982 and visited it again in 2005.
Now, I know that a real life replica is here and I'm able to use it!!

The real one is in Arica (picture below) and used to be later the Peruvian consulate in that city until 2000. Now it's a museum.

Inside, there is a reproduction of a picture taken the same day that the famous answer was given by Bolognesi.

UPDATE: It's has now been questioned to not be a picture of the actual "response" moment but a theater play just a few years later depicting the battle. It was in the posession of an old man living in Tacna and was bought by Genaro Parker (owner of Panamericana Television) in the early 90's while making a documentary about this topic. The theater play is assumed to be from the early 20th century, just about twenty years after the war. This is the digitally retouched version as the orginal was in poor condition and if you can see closely, some beards and faces look altered. Also there are give-aways of its fake authenticity as the light in the room doesn't resemble the actual lighting of the Bolognesi headquarter. It was only lit by candlelight and from windows but here it is well illuminated. Another fact is the Commander's uniform which doesn't match the original one (deep blue and red like the rest of the officers). In here it looks if it was of a clearer shade.

Here are the top officers uniforms that I'd be able to use so far. Just a matter of being given the green light by the peruvian army.

And this is the replica here in Lima. I'm so excited about it. The only problem is that the surroundings are scattered with modern buildings and stuff. Seems that computer effects and digital replacement will have to be used to erase them out for the shot.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Retaking an old project

I wrote in a prior post (don't recall which one) how into history I'm in.
Peru is rich in it and so it's the world but, being a Peruvian myself, I cannot stop being in awe about how many things shaped the place I live in and how many things a lot of people don't know about it. Maybe simply because of not being of their interest or because of being focused on something else.

Well, I may think of myself as a "romantic" about heroic stuff. Maybe because it inspires or becuase it serves me as a purpose to love life and appreciate it more.

One of the topics I'm very fond of is the Pacific War years (Guerra ddel Pacifico 1879-1883) and some particular events in it like the Battle of Alto del Alianza (Tacna) and the Battle of Arica.

Many years ago, 5 years I think, I wrote a script for a feature lenght film about it. I did a long research since the late 90's for I wanted to take it to the screen but shelved it for funding reasons.

Back in 2007, after coming back from the US in sept. for personal reasons I wanted to bring the project back to the front as to uplift my spirit a bit and do what I worked for for so long. This time I wanted to do make it just a short film among friends. I wrote another script to just focus on the emotional and personal side of our heroes and people around the matter. I visited a couple of possible locations also but things looked a bit difficult and after a strong event a month later, I shelved it again to focus on my healing.

Now, 2 years later, for same personal reasons I decided to recapture the project again and bring it to life. This time Im gonna try harder and put my best efforts in it. I already secured the wardrobe for civilians of the period (1880), I talked with fellow actor-friends of mine here and so far they are jumping in my "dream", I talked with some tech people and they are willing to help and the hardest part is to get the battle scenes a reality.

30 years ago there was a mini-series about the war and although the production was impressive (wardrobe, locations, props, uniforms, etc.), the acting and the directing/editing left a lot to be desired...but I wondered where those uniforms were now. The series was made by the Ministry of Education and I pulled some strings here and there for I have worked closely with them years ago and asked them about those TV series of three decades ago. They got rid of them already as it was old and getting eaten by moth and humidity. No wonder....so many years ago and knwoing how the government works doesn't come as a surprise to me. So I just have one options left: the Army.

I already had a meeting with one high rank colonel and he is in charge of a battalion that is able to perform the "soldiers extras" that I need, but getting as many uniforms of the period is gonna be a hard task. Having them made is out of the question now for it would cost a lot of money and I need hundreds.

I have seen on TV years back some performances done by the army when it's the anniversary of a battle and there were hundreds of them so Im sure the uniforms are somewhere. Just a matter to finding where. I have a meeeting next week with a general that is charge of the corresponding office and I'm sure he will be of great help.

So far, I'm here polishing the script, I have read countless books from army history, about Bolognesi (our national hero), about the weapons used in those times and the uniforms and colors they used (taking on what I researched years back to write the feature lenght film). So now, it's just a matter of finding the uniforms.

On Saturday I went to visit a member of the Pacific War forum I belong to. He happens to have a huge collection of real props and weapons of the war. He has more stuff u can see for real in a museum. What a dream!! It was really a pleasure to visit him and spend hours sharing info about the war and telling him what I plan to do.

I'm sure this film, if coming to the light, will get a lot of attention. I just wish it happens this time.
Not only for my liking of history or that period of time, but also to show fellow peruvians how the war was and what emotions were involved in it.

This is very important for me. I guess it's after all, what gives me a bit of light in thess times of hurdles. I guess that whatever happens after, If I get to do this the way I envision it, I can say for sure I'd be able to die in peace.

I just hope the stars get alligned for me this time.
I really need it.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Closing my eyes...partially.

Coronary crap...
Never thought it would happen.