$1,151
pledged of $12,000pledged of $12,000 goal
4
backers
Funding Canceled
Funding for this project was canceled by the project creator on Apr 3 2019
$1,151
pledged of $12,000pledged of $12,000 goal
4
backers
Funding Canceled
Funding for this project was canceled by the project creator on Apr 3 2019

About

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A short narrative film about rural-to-urban migration and informal communities, told from the perspective of a teenage girl from northern Argentina who decides to start a new life in Buenos Aires to improve her and her family's circumstances. The idea for the film's protagonist is inspired by a neighbor who lived on my street in an informal settlement, where I lived for about a year while making a short documentary (clip/teaser). The film will use non-professional actors from the neighborhood in a collaborative style with mostly hand-held cinematography.  


SYNOPSIS 

A teenage girl, Marisel (14), from Santiago del Estero province in northern Argentina, finds herself living in one of the largest and most notorious informal urban squatter settlements in the country. The film takes place over a 24 hour period as Marisel adapts to her new surroundings in Villa 31, a resident-built city of roughly 50,000 residents in the center of Buenos Aires. 

Rural life in Santiago del Estero is very difficult. Marisel's family has no access to electricity let alone quality health care or the ability to attend high school. As her parents struggle to make ends meet raising three other children, Marisel must pursue a life with more opportunities in the countries' most populous city.                   

Having never seen a big city and having never seen a Villa, Marisel must adapt quickly to life in Villa 31. She attends school during the week and begins working in her free time to afford necessary tools such as school books, clothes, a smartphone and money to eventually bring her younger brother to Buenos Aires where he can get sufficient medical treatment for his undiagnosed medical problems. Marisel lives with her cousin Enrique, his partner Mirian and their four-year old son, squeezed into their small one room apartment. 

With access to basic services and all the city has to offer, Marisel lives a life of relative luxury in the villa compared to her life back home. However, the services in the villa are precarious and there is a minor power outage during one of Marisel's first nights in the villa. While buying soda from a kiosk that same night, she witnesses the victim of a shooting being wheeled down the street in a wooden cart. She quickly realizes life can be difficult here as well, as ambulances often don't enter large areas of the villa. 

Mirian and Enrique must work harder in order to provide for Marisel and Mirian decides to begin baking and selling pastries around the neighborhood on Sundays. Despite these hardships, they manage to have a welcome BBQ for Marisel. As well, the relationships among neighbors and the vibrant colorful life of the Villa, despite its social and economic stigmatization, show a community succeeding and a place where new arrivals to the city can progress and improve their circumstances.  


VILLA 31 (BARRIO CARLOS MUGICA)

(Villa: Argentina - an informal settlement or shantytown)

The movement of populations from rural areas to cities over the past century is the largest migration in human history and the largest demographic shift since the industrial revolution. With 3 billion people projected to be living in informal settlements by the year 2050, urban integration is perhaps the most pressing issue on the planet, behind climate change.

Villa 31 is one of the oldest informal settlements in the country, originally home to European migrants in the 1930's. It lacks any central planning and was built by the residents and grew with various stages of immigration throughout the decades. Today it is a vibrant community home to roughly 50,000 residents. 

Villas either lack basic services or have an informal network of basic services pirated from the city grid, as in the case of Villa 31. There are about 1100 informal settlements in Buenos Aires and they are characterized by a lack of presence of the state, facilitating an environment with increased crime and insecurity. The military dictatorship attempted to forcibly eradicate the villas in the 1970’s and gave the villas numbers. Due to a lack of accessible housing in the city, these settlements function as “arrival cities” for people relocating from poor rural areas and serve as an initial stepping stone to life in the city. 

Discrimination and being regarded as havens for criminals by society and the media have isolated these informal settlements, creating an environment where they have developed their own internal economies, culture and urban forms. 

Streets are narrow and irregular and serve a multitude of functions including transportation, social gathering places, playgrounds, and spaces for cultural events. This is very different from the formal city where streets are primarily used for transportation designed for automobiles. As well, houses are adaptable and often serve as both a place of business (kiosks, grocery and clothing stores, hair salons and restaurants among others) and as residences. This flexibility helps foster stronger communities and economic advancement for residents.   

Sunset in barrio Guemes, Villa 31
Sunset in barrio Guemes, Villa 31

BACKGROUND

Santiago del Estero is a rural province in northern Argentina with the highest poverty index in the country and the highest rate of deforestation of the Gran Chaco forest (the second largest forest in South America) - mostly from the cultivation of large scale genetically modified soybeans and cattle ranching. Almost 80% of the deforestation in Argentina has occurred in the northern provinces of Salta, Santiago del Estero, Chaco and Formosa provinces totaling roughly 8 million hectares over the past 30 years. 

Many medium and small scale farmers have been edged out and are unable to compete with the aggressive tactics of powerful multinational companies. Thus, although the latest phase of rural-to-urban migrants moving to the city and taking up residence in the villas are from neighboring countries such as Paraguay, Bolivia and Peru, there are still newer residents arriving from Santiago del Estero and other provinces in northern Argentina. 


FUNDS

These funds will be used to complete the pre-production and production of the film. The  pre-production will include; casting for local residents and non-professional actors, workshops and rehearsals with the cast in order to get comfortable with a camera as well as feeling out the scenes and dialogue. The production will be 5-6 full days shooting with an Arri ALEXA Mini camera system. The funds will also be used for paying the full crew, catering, security, locations, and paying non-professional actors and extras from the neighborhood where the film will be shot. We're aiming for production dates the last week of April while the weather is still warm. Pre-production would begin at the beginning of April. If for some reason we can't make these dates production will be pushed to September of this year. 


CREW MEMBERS

Brenda Urlacher  - Casting Director/Acting Coach

Based in Buenos Aires, Brenda graduated from the Center for Research and Experimentation in Video and Cine CIEVYC and took professional theater training with Argentinean renowned playwrights. She also took Set Design studies at the Saulo Benavente Art School and established her screenwriting with various screenwriters such as Robert McKee. For years, she worked as a 2nd assistant director, script and casting assistant for features produced locally and internationally. Brenda has also written, produced and directed several of her own short narrative films that have screened at international festivals including the Rencontres Cinémas d'Amérique Latine de Toulouse, BAFICI, and Filmtage Leipzig –Alemania. She won the George Méliès competition and the best international short at the Madrid Film Festival. She works professionally as a commercial and music video director as well as producing audiovisual content for networks. Currently, she is developing her first feature length film.

Marcelo Vitali- Executive Producer

...Marcelo is currently producing a series for Netflix about the business side of Argentine fútbol.

http://darwin70.com

Flavio Dragoset - Director of Photography

From Buenos Aires Argentina, Flavio spent the early stages of his career working in Berlin Germany as a 1st Assistant Director for the Franco-German art channel shooting many documentaries throughout Europe and South America. He then began working as a director of photography and has shot more than 500 commercials, working with the primary agencies and production companies in Argentina, Latin America and Japan. The films and commercials he has photographed have screened and won awards at various festivals including Cannes, BAFICI, Sundance, and Clermont Ferrand. 

http://www.flaviodragoset.com

Nicolás Purdía - Assistent Director

Nicolás Purdía was born in 1979 in Argentina and studied Image and Sound Design at the University of Buenos Aires. He directed and produced the feature film A Place in Time and the television series Doctors of the End of the World. He directed short films and music videos and was trained as an assistant director and director in various film production companies and in television for TYC sports and Sony Entertainment Television.

Reed Purvis - Writer/Director/Editor

A filmmaker currently based out of Seattle who primarily works as an editor on various projects including music videos and commercial projects for post-production houses and clients such as Microsoft, Amazon and Alaska Airlines. With a desire to explore cultures, Reed is fascinated in examining the forces that emerge at the margins of society that ultimately influence and transform our cities and societies. He spent a year living in Villa 31 in Buenos Aires while making a documentary film which is currently being submitted to festivals - and the short version of which has screened at various festivals in the last few months and won best cinematography at ACAMPADOC Panama 2018. 

https://www.reedpurvis.com

Risks and challenges

Due to the unique location of the film production and basis for the story, the only reason we're able to make a film like this is because of my personal connection to the Villa and the community and friends who live there. Because the film will be shot in a neighborhood that is relatively poor and marginalized from the formal city, it is not possible to ask talent to participate for deferred pay. As well, due to the informal nature of the setting being more dangerous than most neighborhoods, security local to the villa must be hired for the production process.

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Funding period

- (35 days)