Cinema Chile

Exclusive interview with the directors of Towards the sun, far from the center

February 17, 2024

A love letter to Santiago, defined by directors Luciana Merino and Pascal Viveros for Towards the sun, far from the center, a short film that will have its world premiere at Berlinale Shorts on 19 February.

Produced by Javiera Pineda, and edited by Elisa Leiva, the short film places the audience for 16 minutes in Santiago de Chile to immerse themselves in the story of two women who wander around the city looking for a place to live their love.

A digital zoom proposal viewed from an omniscient camera that in the words of the directors seeks to “bring down that high definition image so predominant in today’s cinema, and precisely that texture, often associated with a poor image, allowing the details that build the city to appear“. The Berlin Film Festival is right around the corner and we have interviewed both directors.

Join us and learn all the details of this new short film that promises to surprise with its technical and aesthetic proposal.

What was the motivation to create the short film?

Towards the sun, far from the center was created as a love letter to Santiago; as a vanishing spot to imagine a city where our desires and that of our protagonists can exist.

How did you get to the core of the short film?

The idea took a clearer shape during the 2019 social revolt, a time when we felt that Santiago belonged to us more than ever. During those months we all stopped to imagine and ask for a new future, appropriating the territory and creating cities where life could be protected. While in the short, there are no direct references to this, we believe it has much of that spirit.

Do you have any essential references?

There are some movies that play with the way of filming, such as for example Let the summer never come again by Alexandre Koberidze and also the poems by Claudia Rodriguez and Juan Carreño, because in their words we find the risk and tenderness of other cities like Santiago.

In the short film there is only one verbal “contact” with the audience at the beginning, what implication does this have in the development of the plot?

That verbal contact arose while we were closing the editing; a long and convoluted but also luminous process that Elisa Leiva took charge of. Her gaze managed to unravel a puzzle, rewriting the film.

We felt it was necessary to leave a clue as to who was going through this city, we needed to make the point that “all this is happening to a we”. We thought this would release some tension and allow us to more confidently indulge in the sensory aspect of the short film.

What was essential in the technical proposal and editing?

The short film is built through vast general shots in 4k that in post-production were covered by a digital zoom, so they give the illusion of being aerial shots.

The zoom gave us the illusion to erase that distance, we discovered a new city, one that was imagined by the staging, but above all by chance; by cats on rooftops, doves grouped in certain spots and by children playing in plastic swimming pools.

What do you seek to express?

Through this technique we tried to see Santiago from a new point of view, looking from afar at the city baffles something you had learned, which seemed fixed by a daily force.

 How was this film made?

Filming took place in 2022 and had two parts, one half in March and the other half in August. We needed that time in between so we could really figure out what the movie was really about.

It’s also interesting because the technique we used was also part of the filming. It was there that we decided what would be seen, and in short, what kind of city would appear.

Is it an LGTBQ+ movie?

Although from the beginning we decided to stage a dissident love, while making the short we did not think of LGBTQ+ as central.

Labels in the cinema are not comfortable for us. We are interested in the films that stand on the edges, that look like something they are not, that hide things.

●    What is the main bet of Towards the sun, far from the center?

When we think of our short film and cinema in general we start from the formal, how to create a language that can contain the images and atmospheres we want. In this case it is to surrender to a new pace of the city itself, to the invention of landscapes for a new Santiago.

We are committed to a cinema on the side of tenderness, which stops in the flashes of everyday life, in the rebellion to inhabit the world in different ways. So, we think of cinema as someone who walks under 40º and meets a plastic swimming pool, with people bathing; winning the summer concrete thirst.

What do you expect after your Berlinale premiere?

We hope that the short film can be seen in different places. We are very interested to know what people think in different parts of the world, but above all to know what happens when people inhabit Santiago while watching it. We also hope that this will be a support for further developing the work we love to do.

It is very difficult to make films in Chile, the few public policies are insufficient, almost entirely reduced to competitive funds where hundreds of creators must compete so that, for example, only 4 documentary short films are financed per year.

Are there any plans for similar projects?

While we as a team do not have new projects in mind together, each one is working on works that keep the search for hybrid narratives in common.

Find out more about their functions in Berlin here!

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