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LAFF | Starting Over in Chile: “Turistas” Director Alicia Scherson

LAFF | Starting Over in Chile: "Turistas" Director Alicia Scherson

On a much-needed road trip, 37-year-old Carla casually tells her husband she made a major decision without consulting him. Subconsciously, she’s hoping to escape their miserable marriage and its paralyzing maturity. It works. Abandoned (and quietly exhilarated) in the Chilean countryside, Carla camps with a young Norwegian stranger who takes her to a national park where the local residents are two gossipy teenagers and a retired pop singer. Surrounded by youth, wisdom, and natural splendor, Carla is forced to ask herself what age she wants to be — and admit that she’d rather destroy life’s gifts than grow worthy of them. [Description courtesy of LAFF]

Narrative Competition
Directed By: Alicia Scherson
Producer: Macarena Lopez
Screenwriter: Alicia Scherson
Cinematographer: Ricardo de Angelis
Editor: Soledad Salfate
Cast: Aline Kuppenheim, Diego Noguera, Marcelo Alonso, Viviana Herr
Chile, 2008, 105 mins

[EDITORS NOTE: This is part of a series of interviews, conducted via email, profiling International Spotlight and dramatic and documentary competition directors who have films screening at the 2009 Los Angeles Film Festival.]

What initially attracted you to filmmaking and how has that evolved since starting out?

I have always liked fiction in general, in books and in my mind. As a teenager I liked photography too but over all I liked to sit down in the park and just watch people be, play their everyday roles and sometimes laugh about them. I discover I could do all that together and be called a filmmaker.

When I started actually making films I discover I also liked to direct, to organize parts of things, to solve puzzles. I discover the fun of working with actors and also the immense possibilities of sound design.

How did the idea for your film come about and what excited you to undertake the project?

I was certain I wanted to film in nature this time, I was so sick of the city.

The first image I had was that of a couple driving in the highway. They stop, she walks in the woods to pee, she has a close encounter with a grasshopper and something about her life gets revealed in that moment. That was the very first seed of the script. Starting from that point I wrote backwards and forward. I was able to write it so fast and smoothly that I decided it was the right project to shoot. I am very superstitious in these matters.

How did you approach making the film, and were there any pivotal moments of learning during the life of the project for you?

I wanted it to be a very precise, specific movie: one character, one main location, it had to look very green and all the extras would be animals, bugs and trees.

To get Aline as an actress was crucial: when she said yes, it meant we had to do it right away.

The whole production process was actually pretty easy, we had always the feeling of doing the right thing. It was cheap and controlled. We had fun and we were outdoors, that was the idea.

What were some of the biggest challenges in making the film?

To be in nature for 30 days is always a challenge. To keep everybody happy with lack of comfort, no electricity, no phone, no internet is complicated. But the crew was just great.

Are there any interesting anecdotes from the shoot?

Mmmm…many but they could be spoilers.

What other genres or stories would you like to explore?

I always walk on the edge of comedy and I am always tempted to push it further, see if I can really be just funny.

What other projects are you looking to do?

My next project is called “The Future” and is my first adaptation. It is an apocalyptic short novel by Roberto Bolaño, including bodybuilders, sex and a safebox.

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