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Michele Ohayon, ‘Cowboy del Amore’

The Nominees: Documentaries

“Even though it’s cinema verite, there’s a lot of writing involved,” Ohayon says of “Cowboy del Amore,” her film about a modern marriage broker. “I have to have an idea or compelling character. Once I have that, I’m very story-driven.”

She found her characer in Ivan Thompson, a retired Texas horse breeder who for $3,000 will match American men with Mexican women. “He’s a window to two cultures,” says Ohayon. “I wanted to give a voice to Mexican women who come to the United States because they’re not in happy marriages in Mexico.”

Ohayon traveled with Thompson on his matchmaking expeditions, and came to find him passionately driven to make the perfect match. “If he thinks it’s not going to work, he tells the client, ‘Don’t do it.’ I grew to like him because of his honesty and his genuine love for what he does.”

The doc changed the filmmaker’s view of romance. “I did not believe in love at first sight until I saw it unfolding in front of my eyes through my camera,” she says. “We look for a soulmate for a lifetime, and this guy finds one in 20 minutes.”

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