Juan Carlos Oganes' film-making and work blog.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

The dream - the Reality

This single post is simply to make a personal statement about this film project.
First of all, I can't thank enough the wonderful words of praise and support for my film in forums and in person. I'm glad to know many people not only hold great respect for the topic in play but also for the importance of having one made.

I want to share some insight and emotions regarding this project of mine.

This idea of making a film about the Pacific War started many years ago. 6 years actually to be precise.
I remember watching on TV those documentaries back in the 80's about that war and it got my full attention always not only because I lived for many years in those areas where the bulk of the battles happened, but also because of the extreme sense of sacrifice and integrity a human being can develop or show in those extreme situations where your dignity and your nation's dignity is at stake.

That is what made me fall in love with that topic.

Now, fast forward to 2003/2004.
I felt back in those years that the time had come for me to make something about it. For many decades it became a dream of mine, a life dream of mine to make something about that topic. And it was time to start working on it.

Back then I recently emerged from a bad situation with a fellow friend who did the unthinkable to me: steal a project of mine. Specially when I helped him get his first big project together and earn appraisal and awards in a film festival. Being usually an open-giver, I felt betrayed by that attitude by someone I thought of as a friend and who knew since 2001 that I was gonna make a film (another topic different than this war one). So...after that -and knowing how this film field is in Peru, full of many envious people- I became extremely protective of my work for it takes years of hard endurance to make a film. So, I kept this new film project secret and showed it only to a few selected ones.
Now, since 2004, I started working on this Pacific War project with deep research into the era, the customs, the wardrobe, the reasons of the war, the political situations that happened during it and after and the personal reasons and feelings of those Peruvians who later -because of their highly attitudes- became our nation's heroes.

Learning into the back story of those soldiers/human beings was an amazing classroom of dignity learning and what sacrifices were done in order to defend what you believe in.
That was what became the pillar, the backbone of my film.

So now, after almost 6 years of research in the battle scenarios in Tacna and Arica, I decided to narrow it down to the cover this time only the Battle of Arica, one of the most remembered for showing the extreme heroism of the one's involved: Bolognesi, Ugarte, Zavala, Arias y Araguez, Saenz Peña, Cornejo, etc. The things I learned about them made me simply fall in love back with my nation: Peru.

I had to narrow it to that battle only for, having to cover the whole 4 years of war from 1879 to 1883 would imply a huge budget I don't have (I'm making this film without any help from financial backers or money sponsors but just my own pocket and ingenious resources).

Back in September 2009 I formally closed research stage, pulled strength from nowhere and started pre-production of my film and get all the things necessary together to make this dream of mine of many years possible.
I knocked on the Army's door for old guns and cannons support and it was a huge steep road uphill for I encountered a few people inside that didn't get the importance of it and asked me indirectly fro bribes and all and when I didn't follow thru with that crap (I don't do bribes), they badmouthed me with the ones who were in charge of giving me the green light. It took months until finally -with the help of some officers inside who really did have the vision that this film is important not only for the army but for the whole nation- they pulled some strings inside the Institution, talked directly with the commander-in-chief and their support was finally approved.

Same with the Navy...and same with the Police. They are on board also.

Now, after almost 11 months of pre-production and hurdles that involved the most devoted dedication I have ever given to a project of mine in almost 20 years of career, the making of almost 600 uniforms of different colors and types, and rushing / pushing myself to the point of exhaustion for being involved in all aspects be it as a gopher, wardrobe maker, driver, button knitter and as a producer itself (I don't have all the money upfront to pay extra helpers for I'm putting all the limited resources I have to what is gonna be seen in front of the camera)....I'm almost ready to begin filming.

I'm now a month away from pushing the record button and shouting "Action!".
I feel the rush and nervousness of knowing I still have some loose ends that I need to work on before starting but....it's all getting together. People are watching and I can't fail. I trust myself and that's important. This would become my 10th film I've done and been involved so far and I jump in with firm feet. But this time it's different: it's a huge project.

So now, for whomever is reading this, you might now probably know this is a dream of mine of many years come true. My new child being almost born. It has a special meaning to me for it is gonna be in a way another bigger reason to live. Another reasons to feel alive once again.
Life is full of downs and ups and I had my share of those for many years. Who doesn't anyway? Maybe some have bigger downs and ups than others but highs and lows are highs and lows anyway. I am following my own path and rebuilding my way up.

I have done my homework of researching to the core this topic and I know I am doing the right thing. I do want my fellow Peruvians to know the personal side of our heroes and fall in love with our nation once again and that is a good thing. Deep inside it is. But also I know I'm doing what I can withing my own possibilities as a professional and as a human being. And that needs to be respected.

So, for those people that I might notice envy with their observations, I say nothing but thanks.
To those who know what it takes to make a dream come true and have faced all the hurdles it takes to make it happen and say supporting things because they understand, I say THANK YOU.

For it's easy to sit back and criticize...but it takes courage and dignity to stop talking and actually do it.
I chose to DO it.
I follow my inner child and this is a play. Just a bigger and serious one.

Even though it feels like it sometimes, I know I'm not alone.
I have God above and all the good people around me that help this guy make his dream come true.

To all of you...all of you, I say God bless your heart!