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Christopher Torrelba from the production team of “Luciérnagas en El Mozote”: “I was pleasantly surprised by El Salvador”

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Christopher Torrelba, Venezuelan filmmaker and assistant director on the film "Fireflies in El Mozote" / Francis Valley

Christopher Torrelba, Venezuelan filmmaker and assistant director in the film “Luciérnagas en El Mozote” / Francisco Valle

“The most beautiful thing that happened to me in El Salvador is with the extras, here people have a very beautiful calling that we developed (…) my skin crawls…” says Christopher Torrelba, assistant director. The movie “Fireflies in Mozot”.

The young Venezuelan filmmaker studied at the Lumiere Film Institute, where he participated in famous TV series and for digital platforms as an assistant director.

Torelba has also directed his own projects with Lola Productions and Catrina Films as “Amante o Amiga”. “The Summit”, “I’m Alive” and “A Narcissist Looking at Himself in a Public Bathroom Mirror”, a film selected for the Buenos Aires International Film Festival.

In an interview with Diario El Mundo, Christopher Torrelba talked about the main challenges of this film, how he fell in love with the story and even commented on his best experience on the set.

What can you tell us about the movie Fireflies in El Mozote?

I could hardly read the script from the beginning, it was completely difficult to read a script where there are so many special effects, so many visual effects, so many people. I didn’t know the location because I came from Mexico. And well, when I read it, I liked the story and decided to join. It was like a nice coincidence, it coincided with the director who gave me the script. Also, I’ve never been here, it’s a new country for me.

Did you know the historical background of this film?

No, I didn’t know him. I’m from Venezuela, I didn’t relate to the story, and when I found out that there were characters like Sebastian, Maravilla, who were Venezuelan, it was really nice for me. They are countrymen who fought a war that was not theirs, but they treated it as if it were theirs. (Torrealba refers to internationalists, people willing to fight foreign wars because of an ideology like Che Guevara’s in Cuba.)

What do you think are the main challenges of this production?

Making such a complex film requires many challenges. For this you need to get the right people. You pick the parts you need to make the movie and there’s not much delay. This is the first challenge. I think that each department has taken responsibility for what it entails. Every movie needs. I think each has taken the reins of that department. We have had setbacks, but we have regrouped to deal with them as best we can. And we are already in the final

Is there a release date yet?

Not yet, it’s more to do with production. I think it will be next year and then wait for completion.

How do you think the public will be affected by watching this film?

First of all, (they) will remember. There are people who are going to identify a lot with what happened here in the eighties, a war in which many people died and innocent lives were lost.
Mozote focuses on that historical moment, this population, which is experiencing one of the worst phases in El Salvador’s recent history.
Remember, imagine someone who lost a loved one in that place, in that war, in that situation and under those conditions, I think it’s quite painful.
Remember and live. (Because) we’re shooting a pretty raw film. With raw images and more. I think that it is necessary to express the point of view, which was not at all pleasant at the time, and this is how it should be resolved, and this is what we are doing.

What was your personal experience like in El Salvador?

I love your food. I love pupusas, Pollo Campero. I had a problem with spiciness in Mexico because I don’t eat spicy. My girlfriend is Mexican, she cooks very well, but I always have a problem with chili. So when I got to El Salvador I ate and ate and ate, I love all the food in El Salvador.
The most beautiful thing that happened to me in El Salvador is too much. There is already a much bigger industry in Mexico, it’s just a professional relationship, people go for the money, people here have a very good calling.

I was pleasantly surprised to have extras who developed into VIPs, (VIPs are called extras who say some important lines in the movie). What happened to us yesterday with a helicopter in Lempa, we had seven (actors) soldiers with us and we chose one of them as a radio operator, he had to make a proposal and he said it very well, he did it very well and it was a very pleasant experience for me.

They have a connection with each of us, people take pictures with us, talk to us, offer us water, offer us, imagine! And that’s something we don’t have when it’s already a big industry, when people are in an agency or just going for the money. Here people played an incredible role, I think that they unconsciously got involved in their characters, whether as a villager or a soldier, they got involved in the way that you will see in the film, which is a pleasant surprise. To see an actor who has never thought of being in front of a camera like this, watching a production like we have, get into character and run and attack is pleasantly surprising… I’m sick of it.

Source: Diario.Elmundo

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