Ana Elena Tejera Talks About IFF Panama Opener ‘Panquiaco,’ Belonging, ‘Sluggish’ Cinema

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Supported by the Tribeca Movie Institute, winner of the IFF Panama’s Primera Mirada pix-in-post showcase and chosen for Cannes Movie Market final yr earlier than world premiering at January’s Rotterdam Movie Pageant, Ana Elena Tejera’s “Panquiaco” opened this yr’s IFF Panama competition on Wednesday. 

That marks additional recognition for a hybrid documentary-fiction movie which talks about belonging and plumbs group life in an indigenous village in Panama’s Guna Yala area, poetically monitoring the journey of 67-year outdated Cebaldo, who lives in Portugal however returns to his village in Panama which he left as a younger man. 

The movie additionally explores the hyperlink between his character and indigenous tribesman Panquiaco, who confirmed Spanish conquistador Vasco Nunez de Balboa a means from the Caribbean to the Pacific Ocean.

Produced by Tejera, Maria Isabel Burnes (Too A lot Productions) and Tomas Cortés-Rosselot (Cine Animal), “Panquiaco” may also open Frames of Illustration at London’s Institute of Modern Artwork (ICA). 

Tejera is pursuing a creative residency at Le Fresnoy in France. In April she returned to Panama for the IFF Panama Pageant and has remained there because of the COVID-19 disaster. The pandemic additionally stymied an on-site version of IFF Panama, which has been remodeled right into a five-day on-line competition, working Could 22-26, together with movie screenings and spherical tables. Interviewed by Selection, Tejera talked about her inspirations for the movie and her present venture, a brief movie that includes her grandmother.

How has “Panquiaco” been obtained thus far?

Clearly that is an distinctive yr due to COVID-19.  The reception at Rotterdam was great, with full classes and an excellent vital response. Now we have been invited to a number of different necessary festivals, together with HotDocs, and we would be the opening movie in Frames of Illustration of the Institute of Modern Artwork in London. It is because of premiere in Portugal on the finish of this yr. It’s nice to be the opening movie at IFF Panama.

“Panquiaco” has a really distinctive aesthetic method, how would you describe it?

For the reason that film’s premiere we’ve obtained feedback about the new narrative type from Central America.  I’m not focused on utilizing labels such as fiction, documentary or essay.  My personal background is linked to psychology, working as an actress and in efficiency artwork. I purpose to make movies which are extra like performances. I’m focused on conflicts which are rooted in real-life contexts, however are then sensed via the physique and result in a transformative expertise that’s shared with the viewers.  I like what Marina Abramovich stated about the distinction between theatre and efficiency: “In theatre, the knife’s not actual, the blood just isn’t actual. In efficiency it’s actual.”

What have you ever discovered from making “Panquiaco”?

It remodeled me in a strong means . I really feel very concerned in efficiency artwork, the place I can work with my very own subject material, with my very own conflicts and that’s how I really feel that I work in cinema. Cinema helps me heal, keep in mind and perceive my relationship with myself and with my surroundings. Panquiaco, with out being literal,  speaks about my inside world, my battle of belonging, that connects me with Cebaldo. We each have the identical battle, regardless of our variations in age and gender and Panquiaco was the best way to do work via that in a efficiency. I discovered from the indigenous peoples easy methods to stay within the current and have a relationship of respect with all residing beings. This remodeled me and made me assume that belonging is extra transcendental than an emotion of a single life or a single being. The group the place we filmed has a strong relationship with rocks, animals and crops. We filmed their rituals and tried to seize the sentiments from the within, not as ethnographic observers. I discovered so much from my cinematographer Mateo Guzmán who’s from Colombia and who labored on César Acevedo’s [Cannes best first feature and Critics’ Week winner] “Land and Shade.” I’m additionally impressed by Portugal’s Pedro Costa. 

Inform us a bit about your new venture….

At my creative residency in Fresnoy, I’m making ready a brief movie about my household, particularly my grandmother, who acts within the movie. The whole movie is conceived as a efficiency. I take the story of my grandmother, who grew up within the navy dictatorship in Panama and successfully lived in a home dictatorship at residence.

I was born in 1990, just a few months after the top of the regime run by a navy junta. In my nation the dictatorship has been an unstated and under-investigated topic, I solely actually started to grasp the dictatorship via restoring movie archives. On the identical time I didn’t know in regards to the story of my circle of relatives and my grandfather who was a soldier. Via the movie I confronted my household’s previous and the way the affect of a rustic’s dictatorship might be dictatorship in a home. What I’ve discovered from this new venture is that we’d like a couple of life to treatment previous struggling. It takes no less than three generations to heal the scars of the dictatorship.

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Courtesy: Ana Elena Tejera

Has your view of Panama modified from making these tasks?

My relationship with the nation is altering on a regular basis. Panama is a spot that unites two waters, and on the identical time separates them, the place that was divided by the united statesinto a Canal Zone. Panama’s historical past is filled with divisions, miscegenation and contradictions. Contradiction is every part, mild and darkness, that’s why in my work I discover reminiscence as one thing that’s diffuse – residing as a sensation that strengthens the soul and on the identical time ceases to exist. This ephemeral and on the identical time sturdy sensation, is a fantastic state of being, it’s what makes us extra weak and I really feel that it’s Panama, pure vulnerability.

What was it wish to have the web Panamanian premiere of your movie at IFF Panama?

The net premiere in Panama, the nation the place Panquiaco was born, was an expertise, it felt nearly like Cebaldo’s battle: a nostalgia for the previous. In our case, we lengthy for bodily festivals the place we will share with our group.  Now issues are completely different, we have to discover new methods and varieties to attach. Nevertheless, inside this contradiction I really feel one thing lovely. I’ve seen that the quarantine has created a weak surroundings for watching cinema. Now that we’ve sluggish lives, with time to mirror, I seen that audiences are extra open to such a movies. In our new actuality, we will spend hours watching the water boil and provides house and time to grasp what occurs in our inside world. Now life has been remodeled into what known as “sluggish cinema”, “auteur cinema” and “experimental cinema” and that is very lovely!

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