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Latin America: Up Next! Jayro Bustamante, Prepping ‘Temblores’

His feature debut ‘Ixcanul’ reps Guatemala at the Foreign Language Oscars

Ventana Sur Latin America Up Next
Courtesy of Jayro Bustamante

Jayro Bustamante finds inspiration at home but applies the filmmaking skills he learned in Paris and Rome. His feature debut “Ixcanul” (“Volcano”) is only the second Guatemalan pic to vie for a Foreign Language Oscar, and has been reaping awards across key festivals including the 2015 Berlinale Silver Bear Alfred Bauer Prize. Film school studies in Paris and Rome have informed Bustamante’s work, which includes his Cannes-winning short “Cuando Sea Grande.” “I knew its ending first and worked my way backwards,” says Bustamente of penning “Ixcanul.”

Now shuttling between Paris and Guatemala, Bustamante credits his multilingual skills to his early Montessori education in Guatemala where he lived in the highlands populated by the Kaqchikel (Mayan) tribe until age 14. Between the ages 17 to 19, he was an in-house commercials director at Ogilvy and Mather where he saved to fund his European film education. “I learned a lot from the creative people around me,” he recalls.

He cites Terrence Malick as an inspiration “for his work with natural light,” Lucrecia Martel for the way she “weaves magic with reality, deals with family themes and works with sound” and Michael Haneke, “one of the living Gods of cinema.”

Up next is Guatemala City-set paternity drama, “Temblores,” based on another true story, where he hopes to reteam with his two “creative pillars:” producer/art director Pilar Peredo and DP Luis Armando Arteaga. “Ixcanul’s” French producer Tu Vas Voir will again co-produce.

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