Rodrigo Dorfman brings a poignant, silent, experimental short in the form of In My South. The film shows that being “Southern” is not a monolith, and what the South means to Latinx people. Read more on the filmmaker from Durham, North Carolina below.
What is your connection to the South?
I’ve been living in the US South since the mid eighties – but the South, well the South goes all the way to Patagonia and since I’m from Chile, whenever anyone asked me where I’m from, I would say: South, way down South. Pause. And then I would say: Chile. Nowadays I say I’m from Durham, NC. This is my home.
Where do you get your inspiration for this work?
I spent two years traveling up and down the Nuevo South filming a series of short documentaries for the National traveling museum exhibit Nuevolution! Latinos and the New South produced by the Levine Museum of the New South in Charlotte. This piece has no dialogue and is meant to be impressionistic.
How did you start making films?
My first exposure for documentary work is with Teleanalisis an underground Chilean video news gathering agency. At the time, back in 1985, Chile was under a military dictatorship and this agency collected information outside the regular tightly controlled military channels for distribution to the outside world and for use in the poor communities, allowing Chileans to see uncensored news about their lives. This experience marked me for the rest of his life and gave me a palpable immediacy and urgency to the emotional and aesthetic blue print of my future work.
What are you currently working on?
Twenty years ago, along with my father, Ariel Dorfman, I produced a short narrative film My House is on Fire about the plight of undocumented children living in the South. Twenty years later, under the very real dictatorial threat of a Donald Trump regime, we have decided to update and remake the film in a HD digital format with immigrant children playing themselves. Based on Ariel Dorman’s poem and story about two children who play “waiting for the enemy” under the shadow of a dictatorship, And the Children Will Burn translates this situation of terror to undocumented children hiding in a safe house somewhere in the New South. Migration, terror, machismo, hope and identity are some of the issues explored through the eyes of these children, who like so many, have to grow up too quickly in order to survive.
What do you look forward to the most during Indie Grits?
Why should someone see your film?
If you think that all Latinos come from Mexico and that we eat burritos and drink margaritas then this film will refresh your perspective. Also, if you are interested in seeing through the eyes of a Latino filmmaker who has been documenting the Nuevo South for over two decades – then you are in for a visual treat.