Juan Carlos Oganes' film-making and work blog.

Saturday, December 31, 2011

Last day of the year at the morro

Last day of the year spent at the top of the morro. It was mostly artillery blasts and horse jumps. Asked for three horses and someone made the odd selection of sending me in the same truck two females with a "entire" (testicles not removed) male one, affecting many times my filming schedule as the male was very unquiet and running all the time to the females to mount them. It may sound funny to read but realizing that it was done on purpose to bother the guy who I rented the white horse from (because of a personal quarrel by the owner of the other two) bothered not only him but me. Specially when having tight schedules for filming exterior scenes.

Filming at the top of the morro has its advantages and disadvantages. For certain hours there's clear skies with lots of burning sun and then a few hours later it's all covered in fog, cloudy skies and a wind that affects my boom microphone even when having the softie windscreen on. Filming in extreme conditions is quite a hassle and very challenging.
Pushing those heavy cannons up the hill where we film

Pushing those heavy cannons up the hill where we film

Film shot pass-thru

More and his Vavasseur overseeing the foggy ocean down below


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The best team

Love these people

Extras playing chilean soldiers

De la Cruz Salvo

Applying a bit of soil to the uniforms to make them look worn


But, it was fine in the end being just an anecdote among the many of this film.

After putting under cover the cannons and rifles away from the elements, we all came down tired but ready to spend new year's eve with our families.

Here I am, sitting down just a few before the midnight of december 31, 2011 and it's inevitable to do a deep thorough meditation of all the things passed during this whole year. I can't say it has been easy. In fact, it is the most difficult year professionally speaking. Very challenging and extremely stressful. Have lost chunks of hair because of falling debris and rocks during filming, bayonet cuts and rifle blows apart from the never ending tan-over-tan all on my arms and neck (I know I must wear sunblock but I'm somewhat irresponsible on those matters), Army issues that have made me feel so alone on this and very emotionally drained; money issues regarding the huge amounts of resources spent on making this thing happen, but also meeting and knwoing beautiful noble people who has shared and is sharing this dream with me. Helping me onboard and also putting their own efforts to push this thing forward.

But the final words are of thankfulness. Thankfulnes to life, to love, to family, to friendship and to God for helping me thru this: love of friends and family who support and make this heavy load a bit lighter and to God for being next to me all along even when I think I'm alone on this. He definitely is giving me such a lesson of life here for it is a constant exercise of patience, will, stamina, anger management, hope and love even to the ones who have affected me all these year much to their joy of not having it their own way or me not bribing them.

In the end, life has its own natural way of balancing everyone's existence and leaves next to you the people who matter. I'm glad I'm having here next to me those ones. The rest has simply gone behind this wonderful year that has given me not only hurdles but lots of lessons and satisfactions.

Happy New Year 2012 everyone!!!! :)

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Filming at the Morro Solar

Bolognesi's last moments. Just like the Lepiani painting
The 250 lb Vavasseur cannon I built months back for these scenes
The pole for the national flag at the top
Making the trenches all weekend. Spent my birthday like that.
A small improvised toast for my B-day.
Down below: scenario for the Alto del Alianza battle scenes.

Building the trenches before painting the sacks
Moments before filming.
Dressing up the Vavasseur cannon.
Working into the night. Very cold and windy.
Some of my cast. Good actors-Beautiful people
Unloading the Krupp cannons.

Bolognesi's and More's death.
Alfonso Ugarte's jump to eternity.

Guillermo More's death
Putting on the steadicam support

Explining the extras how the scenes are gonna be
Make up for the Husares de Junin before the Alto del Alianza scenes
Roque Saenz Peña

Jose San Martin's death, Chilean commander of the 4to de Linea.
It has been quite an overwhelming experience filming at the top of the Morro Solar. Heat, strong changes in weather conditions like sun, heavy fog, drizzle, cold, very strong winds, etc.

There was also many hurdles to overcome with the Army but eventually it went fine. Came back down for the Christmas holidays and now going back to filming up there. Pity theres weak cellphone signal and mostly no coverage. Sleeping there is like a picnic without the fun of it. I enjoy the fact that I'm progressing with my film but the hurdles I face take a toll on my ability to enjoy it fully sometimes. It's too much pressure and drain emotionally apart from mentally and physically.

I will post all details and anecdotes when I get back home to Lima from the morro. Another long week of filming ahead with Bolognesi, Ugarte, More, Belaunde, Sanez Peña and all the soldier heroes.

Here some pics of the works up there.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Going to the Morro

Finally, after so many preparations and stuff to make things happen and work like a clock, I'm packing and going all the way up to the Morro. Huge scenes coming, so...on to build trenches and take cannons up there.
A bit more than a year ago I started filming this dream that is coming together and in the last part of it all. Second time also that I will pass my day away from home and working. Last time back in 2010 it was the scheduled day of filming the 4rto de Linea overtaking the peruvian Este fort. That was a huge for the number of extras and even small accidents didn't go amiss (rock hitting my head taking some scalp off of me), a bayonet wounding my chest lightly, a blank bullet shot in my thig and a rifle-butt blow in the stomach. After that, having hundreds of people singing to you was marvelous. Never happened to me before. It made my day despite the accidents.

The most amazing scenes to be shot these days now as a continuation of those shot a year ago.
Will be out of contact for a a while. No signal up there.
Wish me luck!

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Morro siege scenes in a few days!

Working as hard as possible all these days for the biggest scenes so far: The Morro siege scenes.
Little time to write in here or post photos. Will do it soon.

In two days taking all the logistics to the top of the morro and staying there to sleep until Thursday. A historic picnic so to speak! :)

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Relaxing moment to read. Needed....

Stressful things these days and nothing better than reading at night when there's time. Being a diehard Queen fan myself I'm quite happy to finally get a copy of the latest book about it's history. Not joking when I say I own at least six books about them written by different authors and one that is official. I hope this one tells something new that hasn't been told yet.

Sometimes knowing what's behind people makes you understand more about them, and Freddie has been very inspiring musically. Sad he is gone.

I wonder what music he'd be making now if he were still alive. His voice was getting better and better with age.

Let's read on...

Thursday, December 1, 2011

The Morro de Arica attack scenes....soon

Me at the top of the Morro Solar back in Oct 2009 when location scouting.
The Morro de Arica siege scene is scheduled to be filmed in about ten 12 days finally: the weather is fine and the sun shines more compared to months ago. The biggest scenes of the film (together with the Alto del Alianza battle) and the most massive.
I feel quite anxious and with lots of adrenaline thinking on the littel time left to prepare for it as trenches and sandbags need to be built on top of the Morro Solar and also take the huge Vavasseur canons I built to the very top. The zone is somehwat near a shawnty town at the other side of the hill so if left overnight uncared for it might get stolen.

How the scenes will look like.
Checklist: 300 extras to play soldiers, 7 mountain krupp cannons, 1 big 250 lb Vavasseur built for the ocasion, 1 100 lb Parrot cannon, 2000 blank bullet rounds, 4 horses for officers, sabers and swords, 310 uniforms, fake blood, prosthetics, a big tent for the cast and crew, food and water for 3 days for everybody, energy, 300 rifle, a camera crane / jib-arm, batteries and accessories, first-aid kits.

Have to check if I'm missing something.

The fog or "camanchaca"
This will be "the" scene. The death of such a hero as Francisco Bolognesi, Guillermo More and Alfonso Ugarte will be filmed for posterity.

My beloved "red special" taking me everywhere.
Can't even write down how excited and anxious I am now. No matter how many years in this field -to be able to do this film and things of this scope- is overwhelming. Touches me to tears for it's a dream come true. A dream that started way back in the early 80's when young.