Costa Rica’s most renowned helmer, Esteban Ramirez has repped his country twice at the Foreign Oscar race. His acclaimed feature debut “Caribe” was the first-ever Costa Rican entry to the Foreign Oscars race, in 2005, and now his prison drama, “Presos,” which participated in the 2014 Ventana Sur work-in-progress showcase, Primer Corte, repeats the honor next year. All three of his pics – he made HBO Latino pickup “Gestacion” in between – are airing back-to-back on local television, marking rare and unprecedented support for homegrown cinema, which still has no film law support.
It was his father Victor Ramirez’s 1975 documentary “Los Presos” (“Prisoners”) that inspired him to make films. “I was only about 12 or 13 and it made a huge emotional impact on me,” he recalls. It informs his work to this day as he seeks to make films that have mass appeal, but that also deal with the complex social issues of Costa Rica’s society. “I want to make films that make people reflect on social problems,” he says.
He’s developing a number of projects but his next pic is likely a police thriller with a male lead.