‘Atrás Hay Relámpagos’ Film Takes the Netherlands by Surprise

    The film exceeded expectations from the European audience

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    Whenever we watch a movie, the first thing we think about is summer blockbusters. Those Marvel superhero movies that gather all the attention – and rightly so, they’re good – of the public. Granted, every now and then seeing the same plots over and over again gets old. That’s when films like Reservoir Dogs, Snatch or the Blair Witch project do so much with so little.

    Small non-Hollywood productions have film festivals where they can promote themselves. Among the most popular we have Cannes in Europe or Sundance in America. Cult films like Memento, Napoleon Dynamite or Little Miss Sunshine skyrocketed after their debut at Sundance Festival. This time, it seems like Costa Rica’s breakthrough in the big screen. The film’s name is ‘Atrás hay relámpagos’.

    Julio Hernández Cordón handles the reins of the film, he’s a respected director in Central America. Adriana Álvarez and Natalia Arias have the leading roles as Soledad and Ana. The story develops in the street BMX world, where the plot sets off with an unexpected event. Álvarez also added that the story involves migratory topics between Ticos and Nicas but restrains herself from spoiling more of the movie.

    And without giving too much away, the film has that girl power element with their lead roles. Turning around the tables and letting the woman be the hero or protagonist in movies is a trend. Álvarez and Arias changed their looks for the movie, taking the rebel role that says ‘no’ to social prejudices. The leading couple agreed that adapting for the role was tough, yet necessary because they wanted to break the mold.

    Rotterdam invitation, breakthrough!

    Just starting this year, the Rotterdam Film Festival announced the film in their ‘Voice’ category list. This group englobes movies made by experienced directors with a unique vision,  explained Álvarez who also coproduced the film. When the announcement came, Álvarez and Arias felt excitement because Rotterdam can give movies the kick-start they need.

    BMX Atras hay relampagos Costa Rica Film Rotterdam Festival
    Arias and Alvarez, leading roles from the movie – Photo: Luis Navarro

    The excitement wasn’t only in the leading roles, Julio Hernández had a special mention along with other four directors. “It’s nice being considered as a special guest for the festival”, mentioned Hernández. Despite this, he’s betting on the girls’ performances. “The main thing is that they assist an international festival, so they share their work for future events”, he added.


    ‘Atrás hay relámpagos’ won’t receive any awards though. In this category, only debuting directors can get awards, this is not Hernández’ case, the Costa Rican film is his seventh production. Among his most notable works, there’s Gasolina(2008), Polvo(2012) and Te prometo anarquía(2015). Hernández points out the importance of world premieres and adds that these create more invitations, sellings, and possible contracts.

    One of Rotterdam’s most expected films

    As the debut date was coming, an unexpected buildup of local spectators looked forward to the film. The first screening was a complete success and the theater room got full. One of the reasons that contributed was a review in a European magazine that qualified it as a film-to-watch. All tickets were sold out for the debut at the festival, commented Álvarez

    “Before the debut, we doubted whether it would sellout, the theater was big”, said Álvarez. “It’s weird that a small film from a little country like ours makes its screening debut on such an important festival. It was very exciting”, added Álvarez.

    Before the movie, there was a presentation and after the film, the producers and actors received questions from the public. “People from all over stayed after the end, including some Ticos that live in the Netherlands”, said Álvarez. She also mentioned that most of the questions were about production and development, and comparing our characters here to ones from other movies.

    Finally, the actress and also coproducer feels that the experienced was enriching. “It left the whole team nice sensations for the future of the film and ourselves”, she concluded.

    Record time post-production work

    Filming for ‘Atrás hay relámpagos’ was between October and November of last year. The editing work ended in no time, most big films take as long as six months in setting up. Álvarez said that it was a ride, just like the name of the movie, everything happened at lightning speed. That’s the way Hernández works, he knows what he wants that’s why he’s so fast, it’s his own style, commented the actress.

    Natalia Arias filming Atras hay relampagos BMX Costa Rica Film Rotterdam Festival
    Natalia Arias Filming – Photo: Luis Navarro

    Even more, Julio Hernández said that it was his fault that they completed the film so quickly. “I’m very anxious, besides I’m working on a project with my two daughters. And apart from that, I’m writing two tv series, my schedule is a little full”, the director explained.

    On the other hand, Hernández explained that this is a low-budget film. It makes no sense shooting the movie in two weeks and the final montage in six months or a year. He added that there’s no reason in creating a low-cost movie with high post-production costs.

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