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Francesca Canepa & Miguel Ángel Papalini La Otra Orilla

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Interview: Francesca Canepa & Miguel Ángel Papalini / La Otra Orilla – 2024 Sundance Screenwriters Lab Fellow

Interview: Francesca Canepa & Miguel Ángel Papalini / La Otra Orilla – 2024 Sundance Screenwriters Lab Fellow

Prior to embarking on the writing journey for La Otra Orilla, a project supported by the CNC folks, Peruvian filmmaker Francesca Canepa premiered her short film “El silencio del río” at the Berlinale. This short film intertwined mythology and dreamscape with isolated reality, drawing parallels to the works of Apichatpong Weerasethakul and thematic explorations akin to Beatriz Seigner’s Los silencios. It was shortly after that Canepa connected with Argentina-based co-writer Miguel Ángel Papalini. Sharing similar sensibilities regarding subject matter and aesthetics, Papalini’s involvement in projects like feature film Packing Heavy, which also features a child’s point of view, solidified their collaboration. Despite being from different Latin American countries, they bring forth a narrative that is both weighty and light, encompassing pain while holding onto hope. The hidden secrets of the dense Amazon forest will be unveiled.

During my interview with the duo, we delved into the connections between Francesca’s short film “El silencio del río” and this possible feature, how their decision to collaborate came about, the possible cinematic influences shaping the project, and briefly updated us with where Peruvian cinema might be at.

Sundance project synopsis: Through the canals of a floating neighborhood in the Peruvian Amazon, Belén, a 12-year-old mother, struggles to belong to the world that has been taken from her. Drifting down the river, carrying her son in her arms, the rain will awaken in her an irresistible desire for freedom.

Throughout this week, we’ll be featuring profiles of several fellows from the recent 2024 Sundance Screenwriters Labs, all of whom we had the pleasure of speaking with during the Sundance Film Festival. Some of these projects are slated to become future films and may even debut in Park City, while a smaller fraction might not find their way to the big screen. However, being part of this select group serves as a significant source of encouragement and progression within the film industry. What’s particularly inspiring is witnessing how each of these distinctive voices is crafting original works spanning various genres, often exploring themes of politics and social engagement through cinema.

We extend our sincere gratitude to Ilyse McKimmie and all the talented artists Claire Fowler, Francesca Canepa & Miguel Ángel Papalini, Jane Casey Modderno, Hanna Gray Organschi, Kristine Gerolaga, Sara Crow & David Rafailedes, and Christian Moldes — they generously spared their time to meet with us. Despite their hectic schedules and fresh experiences from the labs, they felt comfortable discussing projects and worth noting this is one of the earliest instances where we’ve had the opportunity to delve into projects still in their developmental stages.

Eric Lavallée is the founder, CEO, editor-in-chief, film journalist, and critic at IONCINEMA.com, established in 2000. A regular at Sundance, Cannes, and Venice, Eric holds a BFA in film studies from the Mel Hoppenheim School of Cinema. In 2013, he served on the narrative competition jury at the SXSW Film Festival. He was an associate producer on Mark Jackson’s "This Teacher" (2018 LA Film Festival, 2018 BFI London). In 2022, he was a New Flesh Juror for Best First Feature at the Fantasia International Film Festival. Current top films for 2023 include The Zone of Interest (Glazer), Inside the Yellow Cocoon Shell (Pham Thien An), Totem (Lila Avilés), La Chimera (Alice Rohrwacher), All Dirt Roads Taste of Salt (Raven Jackson).

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