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.

Uniforms almost done

Uniform making process is almost complete. One more week aprox and it's all done.
Still I need to have 500 soldier hats made in no time. Filming date approaching.

A word to all readers / Una palabra para los lectores

I would like to say this to all readers of my blog.

First of all I would like to say thank you. Thank you for being interested in my work and in my progress about my dreams and rants here and there spread all over the page.

As you may have noticed -if you have followed me since some years ago- my blog lately for the past 11 months have been about my film project that I'm about to begin in some weeks: the Battle of Arica.

Many that know me personally and have worked close with me in other projects for the past 6 years know my intention of making a film of this theme for quite some time now. It is not an improvised project nor is it a reply to any other film. It is solely a project of mine coming true at this specific time.

Having this clear, for all readers here in Peru as also in Chile (which I now know are reading this too and some even write nice letters to my inbox), I want to say these statements to all others who might wonder a few things. Here are the facts to know:

- This film is a personal project and it was began as a personal dream.
- This film is not sponsored, nor promoted by any government institution. It is totally an independent film production of mine and my audiovisual company.
- This film is not funded by any government or private institution. I am funding it with my own money and savings.
- This film is based on historical facts that really happened and that I have researched with fellow historians and people interested in history here in Peru and in Chile as also in my own personal research for the past 6 years to make it as accurate as possible, be it in facts and also in uniform making.
- This film is intended to show the HUMAN side of all the people involved in the battle of Arica. All those human beings that defended their land and ideas of the time and fought for them. Actions that eventually made them heroes of their own country. It is not to promote hate nor spoil any relations we have as fellow countries. I know it has been a difficult time for us both since 130 years ago but I am just making this film because I love history and I love bravery...be it from my own country or another. It doesnt matter to me from where. I get excited watching films like Braveheart, Spartaco, Glory or Gettysburg. I'm not from the US or from England where those ones are based on, but I love those movies and how people gave their lives to defend their ideals. Peru and Chile made what they believed in and normal people did brave things that eventually made them heroes.

I say this statements because it is important to know that even thought a war is a sensitive subject, it is not done by any government or anyone involved with them nor is it done with any intention to promote more war or things like that. It is just made because of reasons stated above and made by a normal citizen like me who as a citizen has a right to do his/her own dream.

I just had a phone talk with a friend of mine in Chile (in Arica) that I visited a few years ago while doing my research. He is excited to know that what was just plain talks back then in 2005, now -years later- is a reality.

So again...for all the readers out there who don't know more personal details of my project, this is what pushed me, just plain and simple: a dream of mine coming true about heroic events of our nation.

Because it is only human what people do every day to make a living, but it's divine what people do to defend life in general, even at their own life risk like policemen, firefighters or the normal guy/girl out there that does outstanding things. And that is what turns normal people into heroes.

A warm salute to all my fellow friends in Chile and in Peru.

Navy hat prototype

Now, having all the 36 out of 40 hats almost ready, got the prototype of the navy ones made yesterday.
It does look similar to the one shown in the Naval Museum so far. I spent the whole night working on it and putting on the adornments until it looked fine. I probably need a little sleep after this job as my weird drowsy face probably shows.