Juan Carlos Oganes' film-making and work blog.

Friday, April 30, 2010

Old friends and wardrobe making

How crazy this world is.
Stumbled upon a good old friend of mine back from the theater school years. Maria Medina was in charge of the ETUC wardrobe department and we've been good friends but lost contact almost 13 years ago.

We catched up in our lives and shared what I'm doing with this film and asked her to be in charge of making the officer's uniforms wardrobe. She happily agreed.

It feels so good to know one is in good hands.
Sadly I have to do the soldiers uniforms somewhere else as being in the hundreds it would cost a lot of money to just do it herself.

I have other options at hand.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Explosions test

Driving like 6o Km south of Lima and into the desert via a dirt road we headed to a huge empty sandy place far from all the city and civilization. It was kinda cloudy when we left by as we drove there it got sunny. The flies out there were annoying and getting in my car. I wondered where they came from as we were in the middle of nowhere and perhaps its because of some hen farms I see kilometers away. The wind was blowing soft and suddenly hard in just a matter of minutes. Those sudden changes in wind speed were gonna be hard to predict as I wanted a clean slate to test the digital compositing on. Of course, in real life the wind changes dramatically and in a matter of minutes, but for this first test, the calmer the better. This is the first explosion test after the special explosives arrived from overseas. The waiting has paid off for I see that no actual damage is done far from the sides of the explosion. This type of charges work best when having actors around it so I know they wont get hurt. I can then apply special effects to it to make it bigger and more menacing. I need to include more debris in the real explosions though.

This time we just exploded a small charge so I could test the digital compositing here at the studio.
You can see here explained in the video.
This is just the first of some tests to see how much I can pull things off without causing major damage to the actors and extras playing soldiers.

So far....I'm happy with the results.

Here is the video with the actual testing and digital composite afterward:

Thursday, April 22, 2010

"Alfonso Ugarte" is onboard

So, last night had a meeting with my next casting option and I'm happy to make the right decision: Fernando Petong is simply one of the few actors on the theater scene here I happen to respect work-wise.
His acting skills Ive seen in other people's visual works and also in one of mine 4 years ago was enough to convince me that he could carry on the weigh of being one of the lead actors to represent one of our main national heroes: Alfonso Ugarte.
Even Ugarte was originally 33 years old when he fought and died in this battle (and Fernando must be in his early forties with some gray hair here and there already), make up can make him look younger for even when Im being picky when choosing actors that also look and have lots of resemblance to the real ones, I'm giving myself some license here with him.

Explained him what the story is about, all the dramatic moments im portraying in the film and he seemed excited.

On another note, a curious and hilarious anecdote was that in the middle of our meeting, a guy dropped by who seemed somewhat "tipsy" and approached us out of the blue and inmerged himself in my talks about the film: it was one of the best representatives of the poetic scene, the one and only Antonio Cisneros.He was happy to share some of his views about the war and about history and how he saw it. Interesting stuff.

One thing that remained in my mind thru the night was during his farewell...he shakes my hand and says: "Enough of crap, I think you are making such a good project and film and I wish you the best in making it. You are risking your balls here. You have to do it for it will serve a purpose to our nation!".

Little words like that do make a difference for me.
Specially in these months of hard moments trying to push this thing forward so it ends looking as professional as it can get.

Makes my efforts worth it.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010


Pushing this film project forward is a very steep path and very emotionally exhausting...and I'm pulling thru with the best I can.
Definitely so far, one of the most tough projects I have put myself in as a goal and I know in the end it will pay off so much effort. 6 years of devoting on research and now 8 months pre-production. And this is my work stuff, my life so to speak, the things I love to do and done it for almost two decades.
The problem here is not the project itself...but the government institutions I approach. Don't get me wrong but....dealing with so many close-minded persons is simply annoying sometimes. Draining and frustrating at most.

The problem is that because of the script touching sensitive topics of the war, with a fellow country time ago (and which we still are in political conflicts nowadays) many of the institutions that would help for the battle scenes are putting a lot of hurdles and paper work and bureaucracy that it simply has converted this last step in the film pre-production process into almost 99% political and bureaucratic hassles. Not to mention the long waiting process and all while the rest of the stuff and actors need a fixed date now. I can say that I have met very helpful people here inside and out and their devotion to this project is so God-sent but the higher you go....the more uptight and more politically-scared those guys become. And I dislike that fear so very much.

Dealing with so many government institutions and their own interests is just a pain in the ass but I'm coming with some pretty good offers for them.
Politics don't mesh with art definitely and I hate people inside that have their own agendas and ulterior motives.

Proven fact.

But, right now I'm mostly wearing the producer's hat.
I don't know if its age or else but, calming myself after so much disillusion is handled better. I must admit that these months are a crush course on patience and resilience. I close my eyes and take a deep breath and later or tomorrow I feel better.
I know that a window opens the next day or the very moment a door closes and I'm a prove of that. The Navy and Police are being helpful so far.

So, after ranting and giving myself a pat in the back, I'm pushing forward....an that's what happens when you believe in yourself, so a big fuck you to the few people that doesn't believe in me. They simply don't know or just judge me by my needs/worries right now.

Modesty aside, I'm sure they wouldn't be able to push and handle so much as I'm handling now for a project of this scope is definitely no joke.
I dare them do it.
The rest is just a matter of time.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Got myself horses!

So, after having a meeting this last Saturday at the Department of Interior -the entity that runs the police- I cannot stop smiling.
My proposal was of their deep interest and they will be willing to give me 40 horses with their own horsemen for my film. They even have a white one for Alfonso Ugarte!

Now, in a few days, my next meeting with the Commander in chief of the Police force.
Things are coming along fine but still...lots to do.
Life is in the details and films are not distant form that idea. All areas need to be covered.

I just need to find more older weapons.
The quantity they have is not enough for the battle scenes.

Some ideas are coming to my head and like I said in a prior post...can't share all that I do and find everyday in here for political and security reasons. Don't want to shoot myself in the foot.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Civilian wardrobe and locations!

Haven't updated in some days for mostly security reasons (better to keep things private with the navy for now) but all I can say is that I'm happy with the talks so far. Today I got an informal approval stating the head is interested. I'm just keeping my feet on the ground until i get it officially.

Today, I went to check on civilian wardrobe I have ordered a while back and things are developing good so far: full dress uniforms for the high-class people scenes, maids clothing, top hats, sandals and old lady's day dress, gloves, etc.

After that I dropped by an old house under re-construction and renovation that was built around the 1840's. The patios, hallways, rooms and doors/windows are kept intact like it was back then. Talked with the person in charge and got permission to shoot some scenes there also!
The energy felt there was so magical to me...so so magical. I felt like I had transported back to that era. I couldn't help but wonder how many generations of families have lived there...right there: children walking and running around the house while nannies chased and yelled at them to behave, ladies in day dresses with beautiful make up, gentleman in suit pants and neckties, etc. As I looked out the window and saw the main avenue full of cars I imagined like all cross-faded to a cobble-stone street with gentleman and old carriages pulled by horses. Lima of the mid 1800's.

And this means that this house was fully occupied while the war was going on.
Mmm...so beautiful.

So...wardrobe is being worked on.
The project still going strong,

Monday, April 5, 2010

A new begining

The waiting meant nothing but from "nothingness" I always get something.
Now -even after shadowy army explanations- I finally decide to turn the page.

Welcome Navy.
A window closes...a door opens.

All this hardship definitely develops temper.
Moving on and my dream is stronger than ever.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Newspaper interview

So, here it is: the interview I had like 2 weeks ago and done by a Peruvian newspaper.
It was supposed to come out last Sunday but -because of Easter- the newspapers had to do a special edition about it for the coming holidays.

Now this Sunday, I finally made it to the press.
I'm excited.

Im sure tomorrow, the army officers will ask me about it.