Juan Carlos Oganes' film-making and work blog.

Friday, August 20, 2010

More location scouting: Quinta Heeren

As I have stated before, the filming deadline is approaching and some stuff still needs to be done.
The stress kicks in so much that its affecting my stomach and my nerves. Praying and meditation does a good job at calming me but I know myself and only having all things ready will make it go away for good.

Last night couldn't sleep well thinking of old streets needed for some scenes in my script. The ones I found at Callao and Barranco don't make it fully for only angles are useful and the rest has been touched much by modernity. I took a small drive-trip out of Lima to the nearest sierra towns and they kinda work but still...don't cut the part.

I then recalled a place that has been used a few times years ago as locations for Peruvian period soap-operas and googled Quinta Heeren. Watched the results and pics and it clicked for me.
I thought I finally found the location I needed. I had to go there so without any sleep, as the first rays of light entered my window, changed clothes and drove to Barrios Altos neighborhood where it is located. I know its not a nice part of town (actually pretty dangerous) but took measures by taking along a good friend of mine to tag along. Early riser he is so, he was up to it.

This is what I found. This place is "the" place!!

Oskar Heeren came to Peru almost 200 years ago and built this place with an XIX century European style not knowing it would become one of the most beautiful and peaceful places in the outskirts of Lima (at the time) where much of the high-society people of the era would show up and frequent. Now, a couple centuries later it still keeps the beauty of a long gone past of poetry and romanticism and is guarded by a nice guy who is the caretaker working under a manager hired by the descendants of the Leguia family as I was told (the former president resided there for a time). An old, rusty gate keep strangers from coming in the neighborhood easily. Just four families still live here and the rest of the houses are abandoned.

To me this place is like a time-machine with only a few snippets here and there that give away we are in the 21rst century (car horns far away, water hoses, a couple parked cars and a few modern street lights that clash with the beautiful old ones still standing there but that don't work anymore) but definitely this place is like an oasis lost in the middle of one of the dangerous places in Lima surrounded by thieves and junkies.

I just hope no government or any stupid-ass business guy with power and money tries to demolish this place to make buildings or something. If that ever happens, we Peruvians would be committing historical suicide. I'm sure I'm not alone on this thinking.

Places like this should exist forever.