Bolivia may see a new film law in the next few months – thanks to a film-friendly Minister of Culture, Pablo Groux, and robust lobbying from the local film community.
Draft awaiting its enactment into law includes the creation of film funds, incentives, screen quotas and educational programs, said helmer-scribe Martin Boulocq, 34, whose evocative short “Sunflowers” bows at Mar del Plata’s Altered States sidebar.
“It’s been really tough to make films in Bolivia without any solid institutional or political support,” said Boulocq.
An old film law enacted in 1994, which established a film development fund, was deeply flawed. The state, through the National Film Council, lent producers up to $100,000 per film but at a 7% interest rate and a mere two-year window to pay it back. This scheme tended to put more producers in debt and discouraged rather than fomented film production. “The fund was gone in a year, and those who borrowed from it are still paying off their debt,” said Boulocq.
Boulocq and fellow filmmakers of his generation have resorted to digital cameras, guerrilla-style filmmaking, forming cooperatives and tapping international co-producers to get their projects off the ground.
His award-winning feature debut “Lo Mas Bonito y Mis Mejores Anos” was backed by L.A.-based indies Pretty Dangerous Films (renamed KNR Prods.) and Arrival Cinema, which boarded at the post-production phase. Rodrigo Bellott (“Sexual Dependency,” White Llama”) served as an executive producer.
Boulocq made his second feature, “Los Viejos” for just $120,000 with Juan Carlos Valdivia co-producing. The 27-minute “Sunflowers,” inspired by the painting “Danza de Girasoles” by Cochabamba artist Gildaro Antezana, was shot in a tiny apartment, and cost a pittance to make.
For now, he makes a living from helming advertising commercials and music videos.
His third feature, still untitled, will be even smaller and more independent with just a two-to-three person crew and non-pro thesps in a cooperative scheme, said Boulocq. He plans to shoot the drama – about a woman who returns home to escape a troubled past – over a six to 10 month period.
“I don’t expect to live off my films, not now anyway.”
A new film law will hopefully change all that.