“Bogotá Story”: Latin American Representation at the Venice Film Festival

"Bogotá Story", by Colombian Esteban Pedraza, is the only Latin American piece screened in the shorts section of the Venice Film Festival. The filmmaker spoke with EFE about the experience of representing the region in this prestigious festival .

Frame from the short 'Bogotá Story'

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Leer en español: “Bogotá Story”: Representación latinoamericana en el Festival de Cine de Venecia

The Colombian filmmaker Esteban Pedraza has been the only Latin American who this year has managed to sneak into the shorts section of the Venice Film Festival with "Bogotá Story", inspired by a family decision that marked him: whether or not to abandon a violent Colombia to emigrate to the USA.

"The short came from the inspiration of my parents. My whole family is from Colombia and I was born in Miami, but I lived in my country for a while when I was a baby and I return several times every year to visit my dad, who is still in Bogotá" , explains the director to EFE at the Venetian Mostra.

Pedraza (Miami, 1990) is the only Latin American in the shorts section of the prestigious Venice Festival, although Spanish is also heard in "Aitana", by the Spanish Marina Alberti.

"Bogotá Story": The story of a crossroads

"Bogotá Story" reflects the conflict between a couple of young parents in a Bogotá where the drug bombs resonate in 1992: she, Pilar, receives the opportunity to work in the United States but her husband, Alejandro, does not want to leave his city native.

The mother has only three days to respond, which will put the couple on the edge of the precipice while other problems from that time appear in their house, such as the shortage of electricity and water.

The idea, the director points out, was to transfer to the screen "a conflict" between the personal dreams and ambitions of a woman and her "duty to a family, to her daughter and to everything around her."

That is why he decided to set this "story" in that conflictive time: "It was the perfect time for the story because it mixes the external conflict with the internal conflict of the characters," he alleges.

And to accentuate that aesthetic choice, he shot it in 16 millimeters, which darkens the dullest parts and gives the film a gloomier and colder tone, increasing its drama.

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Esteban Pedraza: A personal story

Pedraza confesses that this is a very personal plot inspired by his own parents. In fact, he was born in Miami after his mother decided to leave her country, although his father stayed. That's why he is a Colombian who currently resides in Nashville, Tennessee.

This young director's love for cinema was born "a little late" when he was 18 years old, in his last year of high school, and he entered a theater course.

But now that passion, forged in the light of masters like Kubrick, Fellini or Scorsese, has taken him to the Venice Festival (and to suffer the effect of nerves in his stomach, he confesses).

"It's like being in a fairy tale. It's surreal and I think that when I return to the non-aquatic world, it will seem like a dream within a dream," he celebrates.

"I am very grateful and it is an honor to be able to represent Colombia in Venice and be the only Latin American in the shorts," he confesses.

His time at the Mostra will surely encourage him to follow the path of cinema and, he promises, he has already prepared the script for his first feature film, which will again be personal and will take place between his "two worlds", although at the moment he cannot say nothing else.

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