IFF Panama: ‘Ixcanul’ Exec Producer Ines Nofuentes Preps ‘Gunpowder’

Guatemala: Art and a lack of industry

Ines Nofuentes
Courtesy of Ines Nofuentes

Guatemalan producer Ines Nofuentes, an exec producer on Jayro Bustamante’s Berlin winner “Ixcanul” and Julio Hernández Cordón’s Locarno player “I Promise You Anarchy,” is prepping a new feature film project, “Polvora en el corazón” (“Gunpowder”), a debut pic by Camila Urrutia, that has been in development for the last three years.

The pic is being co-produced with Argentina’s Gema Films, run by Gema Juarez, who has a strong track record of co-producing with Central America and will be moving “Gunpowder” at this year’s Panama Film Fest, which kicked off Thursday.

“Gunpowder” turns on Claudia and Maria, two friends –one of them in love with the other– who are attacked. They react differently. The project has been presented and won kudos in the Co-Production forums at Guadalajara, in Mexico, and Mar del Plata, in Argentina.

“It has been a very tough process, since in Guatemala we don’t have any kind of financial support to develop or produce our films,” revealed Nofuentes. “The weak social and political situation of a post-war country does not allow producers and artists to grow artistically, which is why most of them try to move out from time to time, or end up doing something else. This situation makes our work very exhausting, and it almost becomes artisanal production, since we struggle to find creative solutions to our hostile context.”

“Gunpowder” has also received funding from Ibermedia and Cinergia – which until recently was the most important institution for filming support in Central America, but is currently in standby due to lack of funds.

Nofuentes explains that while some countries, such as Colombia or Brazil, have minority co-production funds, the lack of such funding in Guatemala makes it very difficult to secure co-production deals.

Guatemala is also not a member of Ibermedia and the project was only eligible because of its co-producers.

“We have found more support outside our borders than inside,” says Nofuentes. “In Mexico, we have a couple of partners that are willing to support the film and are helping a lot. Locally, it’s more common to get some support from public or private institutions through services, such as catering or transportation during the shoot. But this isn’t guaranteed either, and sometimes happens just a few days before production starts. It’s quite informal. That’s why you always need to have a Plan B, C and so on.  Then you find a lot of help from many people and companies that strongly believe in the importance of making films in the country. The technical crew is also very generous and passionate, they really believe in this.”

Nofuentes has raised part of the production budget from private institutions, and believes that a crowdfunding campaign may help as well.

She explains that her normal approach is to get the minimum necessary to start and complete the production shoot and then look for support to post-produce the film outside the country, trusting that the material will speak for itself.

This approach means that the scheduling of the shoot must be very realistic and extremely well prepared. For “Gunpowder,” a 3-week shoot is foreseen, based on telling the story in a natural and organic way.

“In Guatemala making films is, definitely, an act of faith. However, the stories to be told are worth the effort,” Nofuentes concluded.