Lima Festival: Peru’s Jonatan Relayze Readies Sci-Fi Road-Movie ‘Huaquero’ (EXCLUSIVE)

Project marks helmer-editor's follow-up to international fest hit "Rosa Chumbe"

Rosa Chumbe
Courtesy of Jonatan Relayze

Peruvian director-editor Jonatan Relayze, whose 2015’s directorial debut, drama “Rosa Chumbe,” became a hit on the international festival circuit, is initiating his sophomore film, sci-fi road-movie “El Huaquero.”

Set on the North coast of Peru, mixing ancient civilisations with aliens, the film focuses on a grave robber -a “huaquero” in Quechua – who finds an object that makes him to travel in time. [The term “Huaquero” refers more concretely to the people dedicated to the looting of the Inca or pre-Inca archaeological sites known as “huacas”]

Although “El Huaquero,” currently in development, will not be a Hollywood-style sci-fi film,  it will include a huge number of digital effects, according to Relayze.

“The film’s protagonist will be a solitary character, which at any moment feel like he’s the only person alive in the world,” he added.

Produced by Relayze and partner Eliana Illescas, at Peruvian prodco Yin Zhang Films, the project is looking for international co-producers and development funds.

Meanwhile, Relayze, who has worked as a freelance editor for international networks such as Discovery Channel, Al Jazeera and Channel 4 and was selected by the Berlinale Talent Campus in 2008, continues  supporting “Rosa Chumbe’s” roll-out at international festivals.

Plaudits garnered by “Rosa ”to date include best Peruvian film at the Lima Film Festival and a Montreal Fest Fipresci Prize and special mention for first feature film in 2015, plus best actress for Liliana Trujillo at Buenos Aires’ Bafici and best narrative feature at Austin’s Cine Las Americas festival in 2016.

Following Rosa, a mature officer who is forced to take care of her grandson after her daughter steal her savings, “Rosa Chumbe” offers a portrait of the city of Lima, where it entirely takes place, taking in topics such as alcoholism and abortion.

“The film combines the realism of the city of Lima with a space for the fable, in Rosa’s moments of catharsis, when she’s inebriated and experiences hallucinations,” Relayze said.

Cuzco and  Madrid-based company Quechua Films handles both international festivals and international sales rights  to “Rosa Chumbe.”

Facing market challenges for auteur movies, the film will receive a targeted theatrical distribution in Peru on a still to be confirmed date, having won a distribution award from the DAFO Peruvian Film Fund.

“Peruvian art films have to compete in local theaters not only with Hollywood blockbusters but also with a more commercial Peruvian cinema which has established a strong foothold in the market. It is becoming more complicated for these kind of films to get a theatrical release,” Relayze said.