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TIFF ‘09 | Oscar Ruiz Navia: “We wanted to gallop in the gap between dream and reality”

TIFF ‘09 | Oscar Ruiz Navia: "We wanted to gallop in the gap between dream and reality"

In “Crab Trap,” “Cerebro (or ‘Brain,’ played by Arnobio Salazar Rivas), the leader of the Afro-Colombian community that inhabits the isolated village of La Barra on Colombia’s Pacific coast, is trying to adjust to the advent of modernity represented by El Paisa (the White Man), a landowner who wants to build a beach resort. Oscar Ruiz Navia’s debut feature captures a part of Colombia rarely seen on film, the black communities of its Pacific coast.” [Synopsis courtesy of TIFF]

indieWIRE gave Ruiz Navia and others a free-form style interview to gather their thoughts on their careers individual projects.

EDITOR’S NOTE: This is part of a series of interviews indieWIRE will be running with the filmmakers screening in the 2009 Toronto International Film Festival’s Discovery program.


I am an independent filmmaker, I grew up in a small town in Colombia, Cali, where I could invent my own wild gang to make films. The evening wind of my hometown gave me some strange rhythm of life, living everyday in a rush of passion like if tomorrow everything would be over.

Your Filmmaking Career and Process…

I was in the Social Communications School very young, and I became conscious of the big power of those who make images and sounds. This power is useless sometimes by the media so I have tried to believe in other forms of representation. I began making some shorts in my own Production Company, Contravia Films, and I worked in three features before mine, one of them as Assistant Director – “Dog Eat Dog” by Carlos Moreno. Cinephilia brought me to this point.

“Crab Trap”…

I worked for 4 years to make this film. It was a very difficult but beautiful experience. I decided to work with locals because I wanted it to be closer to real life. The community of La Barra, the place where the film is set, gave us all their support, the most important thing being to represent respectfully their real complexities, desires, contradictions and necessities. My crew was small because we wanted to gallop in the ambiguous gap between dream and reality.

Your Influences…

I like films apparently simple but complex at the same time. Films loaded with epiphanies. I love some masters that believed that cinema is not just to tell a story but to make the audience’s lives. Not a perfect life, not in a perfect world.

The Future…

I love the South and I’d like to keep observing it. I want to continue growing as a filmmaker. The only way to do it is by making more and more films. So I hope to start the next one very soon and try to develop a particular approach. “Crab Trap” is the door for this desire. Contravia Films has the intention to become a laboratory of independent cinema set in Colombia, South America. The next trip will begin, I am just getting the gasoline.

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