The last few years have shown an increase in Costa Rican film production, with titles like “El regreso”, “El sanatorio” and “A ojos cerrados” becoming box office hits and earning warm responses from audiences and national critics alike; however, for every movie that gets its chance in the spotlight, many other Costa Rican productions go by unnoticed, or worse yet, never reach completion.
Because of the country’s lack of an “industry” many aspiring filmmakers are forced to try their luck elsewhere. Some, like Andrés Campos, are presented with extraordinary opportunities to continue their film studies abroad and in cases like his’ find that making movies can be both business and pleasure when nurtured in the right socioeconomic environment. Andrés has been living in Argentina for the past four years where he specialized in Cinematography to later become a commercial director of photography. Nevertheless, he continues to be interested in more intimate works and as of late has been working in the completion of a short film called “Helio” made with a group of young filmmakers who like himself want to bring their artistic vision to the world.
I interviewed Andrés to discuss his career, his current work and an important fundraising campaign he’s started in order to complete “Helio”.
JS: Can you talk about the project and how it came to fruition?
AC: This project was born on a script workshop in CFPSICA, our film school. “Helio” is a short film set to be shot in the fall of 2012 in Buenos Aires and tells the story of Diego, who, in the prime of his professional and personal life, is affected by an accident that threatens his career. While going through this crisis, he discovers a new talent that allows him to capitalize on his misfortune, turning it into a great challenge.
JS: How did the production team meet? Where are all you from?
AC: We are a group of Latin American filmmakers who met in Buenos Aires four years ago with the aim of specializing in different film tasks. After developing several projects in the academic field, we moved into the professional side and have worked together creating not only a team, but a group of friends who like to make movies. Above all, we don’t want to put aside our ideas; rather, we want to develop more ambitious projects while trying to avoid the bureaucratic difficulties of a traditional financing system. The team includes people from Ecuador (production designer), Colombia (cameraman), Chile (Sound), Guatemala (Sound), Argentina (producer and cast) and Costa Rica (Direction and Cinematography).
JS: Please tell us about your previous work experience. Why are you making movies?
AC: I studied Cinema Production and Advertising at the University of Costa Rica (UCR). Then, I worked filming TV documentaries and advertising as well. On the other hand, along with other college friends we create an independent production company called Bisonte Producciones. We produced about 20 short films over seven years (fiction and documentaries) which won some awards in national and international festivals. I directed 3 short films and photographed several others. Then, I decided to leave my country and traveled to Argentina to specialize in Cinematography. After graduating, I started working as director of photography (D.o.P). My last job was to photograph a documentary called “Pupila de Mujer”, winner of Doc TV Argentina 2012. Also, I’ve worked in commercials, movies and sitcoms as a photographer, cameraman or focus puller.
JS: What would you say are the biggest differences between working in Argentina and Costa Rica?
AC: Argentina has a film industry that is much more developed than the one in Costa Rica. In fact, there are more opportunities to work in advertising and film shoots. Furthermore, there is more competition. If we talk about making our films, I think it is the same old story repeated in any other country in Latin America. There’s a group of filmmakers who are very entrenched in financing their projects and there is another group that has to work harder to achieve their stories with few resources. Especially if you’re a foreigner. That’s why for this project, we brought together a group of filmmakers from different Latin American countries, who believe in an idea that can open doors.
In Costa Rica people sympathized more with the filmmakers who try to take their projects forward because there are fewer resources than Argentina and less movies are filmed each year. Therefore people there value independent efforts much more than they do here. In Argentina it’s different but the upside is that there are many projects financed by the government, something that conversely doesn’t happen in Costa Rica. However, it seems that there is some corruption in choosing who gets funding and who doesn’t.
JS: Is this why you’re recurring to crowdfunding?
AC: We decided to go for crowdfunding because there are very few ways to finance short films and the few that exist tend to follow very tedious bureaucratic processes. Our aim is to highlight the possibilities provided by social networks and alternative financing platforms as feasible tools to carry out independent projects. These processes help not only our project, but also other artists and causes trying to gain recognition outside the traditional market.
JS: Why should people invest in “Helio”?
AC: We believe in our project and we have the idea that it can appeal to people.
Our commitment to people who believe in our project is that they will see their money invested in a high quality short film. I’m sure it’s going to give people something to talk about and travel over the world through many festivals, which means that people who donated money from Europe, USA or Latin America, will have many opportunities to see their name on a screen close to home.
To learn more about “Helio” and how you can help, please visit http://www.indiegogo.com/HELIO