Cristina Patiño Sheen, the talented Peruvian film director who has worked with the children to create their films, takes some time out from editing to answer our questions.
1. What is your favourite memory from the production of Meet My World 2016?
Probably being in the back of a truck with the children shooting Juan De Dios’ film. We allocated 2 days to shoot it, and it was really interesting to see Juande becoming this confident young man during the filming. He was a little bit shy and reserved at first, but by the second day we couldn’t stop him from smiling and feeling proud of making his film surrounded by all of his friends. In terms of logistics, Juande’s film was very challenging: we had a truck, a huge tree and so many different locations including a long road. We also had more people helping out, so in that sense it was more of a collaborative adventure. And by the end of the shoot we were filming with 11 children, which was mad but so much fun!
2. What was your biggest challenge along the way?
The unexpected, which you can find a lot when making documentaries. Especially in a place like Peru. The weather was on our side, but we did have a couple of transport strikes, closed roads, breakdowns, one night we even found ourselves without the keys to the place where we were staying in Ccorca, so we had to break a massive chain to get in! But we had a great team by our side who would do everything possible to find the best solution, so we overcame all of those mishaps successfully and made it work!
3. How was it working with the young people?
We had a little bit of a mixture of ages this time. We had Eloy, Frank and Juan De Dios who were the youngest of the group, we had Leoncio, Luis Brayan and Soledad who were a little bit older and this was their first shoot ever. And we also had Yuri, Yeni and Roxana who had done it before, so they were more confident delivering their testimonials and shooting in general, and they would encourage the rest of the group to give their best and not to be shy. It’s funny how a couple of years in age makes a big difference. With each of them we had pre-production meetings where I would explain the visual treatment and we would go through the shooting plan and schedule of the day. We would make sure that they were happy with everything and that we were open to any suggestions that they had, after all, these are their films and we wanted them to be as genuine as possible. With the older kids it was a little bit different, because sometimes they would want to have certain scenes in different locations, so we would reach a compromise because some locations weren’t particularly easy to reach, especially when bringing lots of heavy equipment, so it was interesting to have these sort of conversations with the oldest kids and for them to realise as well, the logic behind filmmaking.
4. How are the films different from 2014?
To begin with we had Steve as part of the crew. Steve was in charge of the sound and he would also give me great assistance with the different camera setups that we had this time around. We were more confident, so everything went bigger. We brought sliders, big camera stabilisers and lights. We had more locations per film and more camera setups, we aimed to give the films more dynamism this time. The theme is ‘How to have fun without technology’ so we really wanted to make it as fun as possible, and I think this time we have integrated the idea of fun in visuals, sound and music. We really want the viewers to go on a journey with the teens.
5. Have you seen much difference in the young people during your time in Ccorca?
They got bigger! Most of the kids I met filming the first series are now teenagers. They have definitely become stronger and more focused on what they want in life. They are less shy, and that makes me happy because in a sense that means that the bond that we created 3 years ago is still strong and it is a great feeling to have their trust, that not only makes me capture their stories in a genuine way, but makes me humble of the whole experience.
6. Now you are back home in the UK, what do you miss the most from Peru?
The people. The landscape. The simple things. One of the things that I miss the most is saying “Good morning!” to every single person that I cross paths with. You get that feeling that you become part of the community in Ccorca. I also miss Frank’s mum’s fried cuy in the morning. It’s delicious!
7. What do you think about the fact the young people will be at Meet My World Lima?
It’s amazing. I think we will become witnesses of pure new emotions. They are not only going to see their films for the first time in the big screen alongside a big crowd who is looking forward to learning from their films, but they are going to experience a series of firsts: The first time in an airplane, the first time in their country’s capital, the first time in a big city next to the sea. It will be the experience of a lifetime and I am so happy that I will be able to be part of that. This is going to have a major positive impact in their lives, and I’m so excited for them.
8. How do you think the MMW process could be improved to make it even more beneficial for the young people?
Now that there is internet in Ccorca I think it would be great to have Skype meetings with them during the pre-production stages. It would be great to be able to share references and visual styles face to face with them months before the actual shoot. I think that will give them more sense of responsibility and a lot more build up of excitement towards the production stage, not that they don’t get that already! But it would definitely be more beneficial for the children and the filmmaker to have that interaction from early stages. Besides who doesn’t want an interactive catch up from Ccorca!
9. Anything else you’d like to say?
What we are trying to achieve here is building connections based on respect and understanding between people whose ways of life, at first glance, seem so far apart, where finding a common ground seems almost impossible. But we are bringing their world to your world so that everyone can see that we are all the same, with similar dreams and similar families, and with the same love for nature, fun and life.
To see more of Cristina’s fabulous work or to get in touch: www.criskcracker.com