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‘Siembra’, a seedbed of Valle del Cauca Film

When the Cali film ‘Siembra’ premiered in the cinemas of the country in April, after a tour full of recognition from the festivals of Locarno in Switzerland and the Tarragona Film Festival in Spain, a group of students from the Autonoma de Occidente University UAO, added to their resume their participation in this film as one of their first professional successes.

‘Siembra’, co-produced by Autónoma de Occidente University and Contravía Films, is the result of the work and the two ventures that the University Institution made in the film. «Firstly, the University decided to bet and support professor Santiago Lozano in his work. To achieve this, what we did was to interpret the cinematographic experience he has, but from the academic setting through a research project. ‘Siembra’ is part of the reflection of what we have called ‘narrative transits’. This is because the film emerges as a documentary but later  it is thought of as a feature film; it is there that a transition to fiction is made. At the time, it was very important to us to review what these changes are like; these changes allow a filmmaker to have the open narrative possibility of directing his project towards wherever he decides”, commented Juan Carlos Romero, director of the program Film and Digital Communication.

The second challenge of the project was to measure the technical and human capacity of the Program and the University. Juan Carlos Romero pointed out: «This film made it possible to evaluate the performance of the technical teams at the Social Communication Faculty of the Autónoma de Occidente University in a professional film project. This equipment has a high cost because of their technology and quality and when we put them to ‘shoot’ in a real project, with long days of recording, we were satisfied because the performance was the expected by all the production staff».

The film directed by Ángela Osorio and Santiago Lozano, professor of Film and Digital Communication program at Autónoma de Occidente University, was the perfect setting for the creation of a research seedbed. The seedbed, in which seven Autónoma’s students participated, worked uninterruptedly for two years to accompany Professor Lozano on his film adventure.

Daniela Moreno, production assistant; Julián Lozano, Juan Pablo Florián and Alfredo Van Arken, photography assistants; Juan Manuel Arbeláez and Dennis Gomez, behind-the-scenes sound technician and Maria Alejandra Castillo, editing assistant, were the members of the research group formed around the production of ‘Siembra’.

Nevertheless, not only the seedbed members worked on the film. Students from the Film and Digital Communication program were part of the ‘Siembra’ filmmaking team. Paola Sogamoso, production assistant; Natalia Burbano, camera testing assistant and Dahiana Gallego, still – photograph assistant.

On the other hand, two students considered the experience of the filmmaking process as an opportunity to do their bachelor thesis. Maria Alejandra Castillo carried out the project titled “‘Siembra’, systematization of a film experience. Elaboration of didactic pieces based on the reflection and analysis from the point of view of edition”. For his part, Dennis Gomez carried out the project entitled ‘Siembra’, a film experience for the generation of didactic pieces’. These two theses were defended in November 2015. Likewise, the student Daniela Moreno finished her undergraduate work in the Institutional Internship modality, titled ‘The producer and production. The Contravía Films case’.

«With this film, what we want to propose is the systematization of all the production phases. We have carefully written each of the production stages of the film in order to generate not only a production book, but also a working methodology,» said Juan Carlos Romero.

In this way, ‘Siembra’ will not only be a demonstration of the growing strength of Colombian cinema, but also a space where very useful manuals to filmmakers in the region were created.

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