Tomás Astudillo astutely captures the complex life of a politician in Ecuador in his film Moments of Campaign. To learn more of his complexities, read below about the Quito based filmmaker.
What is your connection to the South?
I live in the South. For me, it means more than a physical territory; it goes beyond the ideas of nation and borders. The South is fragility, it is my home and my starting point from where I look at the world. The South means to build and to learn. It is the opposite of a static and acquired world. The South represents the challenge that invites me to film in order to leave a mark of its constant movement.
Where did you get your inspiration for this work?
The first motivation for this documentary was facing the reality of a country divided into two opposing political sides. I wanted to offer a look from “another place” using cinematographic tools.
For this film I was inspired, initially, in several documentaries that follow political campaigns like Robert Drew’s “Primary”; Raymond Depardon’s “1974 Une Partie de Campagne”; or Joao Moreira Salles’s “Entre Atos”. Then I started watching movies that followed rock stars after tours like Pennebaker’s “Do not Look Back” or Robert Frank’s “Cocksucker Blues”. All these films reveal the unknown side of public characters.
How did you start making films?
I studied Direction of Photography in Brussels. However, I had decided to make films when real circumstances had come on my way and had caught my attention. For example, I decided to travel from Belgium to Ecuador on a freighter to take my time to return home. I did “Solid Ocean”, my first documentary, on that trip.
Did anything interesting or funny happen on set during the shooting?
My documentary talks about the development of a political campaign dressed with the imposing color of the political party: fluorescent green. From the first day of shooting I realized that one could not make a documentary with a unique color in the image, so I decided to record it directly in black and white.
Besides that, the campaign songs were on 24 hours a day. Several months after the shooting had to pass to remove them from my head and to be able to edit the film with the appropriate distance.
What do you look forward to the most during Indie Grits?
In Indie Grits I would like to share my point of view with an audience that lives a different reality from mine and from the film. Cinema is a matter of distances, and for me it is important to learn from your opinions and readings from your reality. Accompanying the documentary allows me to think on it from different angles of reflexion.
Why should someone see your film?
My documentary is positioned far from the vain representation of power and the sarcasm of the press. We live in a world saturated with political propaganda and the ideologies of our governments are often overwhelmed by their own image. My documentary invites us, as citizens, to consider independent views and new modes of representation to understand power in a different way.