Night cap with Lupus

Meeting with...

Interview with Carlos Gomez Salamanca, director of Lupus

 

la mouche cf How did you know about the event and how much was it inspiring for Lupus? Was it added afterwards or was it in the first draft?
In Bogota, it is usual to find every morning in the news, crimes, accidents, urban violence and other scabrous topics. One morning I saw in the news a story about a group of dogs that attacked and killed a night watchman, and it struck me. The whole LUPUS project was structured from this news, trying to show a broad context about the expansion of the city and the sad condition of stray dogs.

la mouche cf How did you work on the different speeches we can hear in Lupus?
Lupus had an arduous investigation in which we interviewed direct witnesses, neighbors and other people close to this story, we also talked with biologists, animal behavior experts, historians and city planners experts in Bogota; A part of those statements were included in the short film. On the other hand we can hear the speech of a politician about housing construction projects, with a very populist style. This speech was made by mixing different statements of a real politician in Colombia who is the head of a program of housing construction for poor people. After I wrote the definitive speech for the short film, we found a voice actor who managed to give strength and depth to this character. Regarding the research behind Lupus, we will soon be presenting a web documentary where people will have access to the interviews, photographs and other materials that were part of the preproduction of the project.

la mouche cf How did you work on the animation? What techniques did you use?
Lupus was made with paintings, drawings and stop motion. Specifically I painted one by one the frames with oil in pvc boards (23 x 17 cms). There are many paintings. I also painted some sequences with cement, which is a material that gives a texture and a movement that is coherent with the subject of the short film. With regard to stop motion, we did 5 or 6 models in JPL films studios in Rennes, showing the construction of an idealized city and its subsequent corruption. It was a remarkable job, especially to animate the organic behavior of architecture. In this work, we were very rigorous, because the buildings that are shown are based on buildings and real places of Bogota.

la mouche cf Lupus explores the link with questions of territories and building construction, is it a key aspect in the film and why were you interested in this question?
I’m interested in talking about the problems of my city. Historically Bogota has had a totally disorganized expansion, that has deepened the social inequality. The promise of having an own house, has been used in a systematic way for decades for political and economic purposes. The beneficiaries of this strategy remain the great builders and banks. This expansion has decayed and literally covered several wetlands and forest areas with cement; For example, right now the city government is thinking of building many buildings in a reserve forest at the north of the city, against all environmental studies. Lupus takes up this question of territory as a scene of struggle and inequality. It must be taken into account that the vigilante who was attacked was guarding some buildings under construction in a marginal area of Bogota. This dark and complex panorama contrasts with the official discourse of modernity and progress that is presented daily in the media.

Lupus-noir-et-blanc-ter

la mouche cf To end up with, have Lupus’ dogs really ceased being wolves?
I do not understand this question well. The dogs that attacked the watchman were domestic dogs that were abandoned, possibly some of them were born in the streets. These stray dogs grouped in packs to survive in these difficult conditions. According to the versions we collected in the research, stray dogs were fed and trained to guard these buildings under construction.The night watchman, who was the victim of the attack, was new in the place, so the dogs did not recognize him. This group of dogs once determined to attack, activate a “herd effect” that leads them to behave like wolves, according to their genetic origin. After the attack, some of these dogs were captured and sacrificed, others are still on the streets. In Bogotá there are no accurate data on the number of stray dogs that live in the city, but the most conservative numbers say that there are 90 thousand, other recent research speaks of more than 900 thousand, which is a very worrying and sad situation.

la mouche cf Are you interested in the theme of melancholy, nostalgia, and do you think you could explore it more in further film projects? 
Yes, I’m interested. The project I am developing now closes a trilogy composed by Carne, my first short film and by Lupus. It is still at an early stage; Its subject is the machines and the anatomy, and somehow it puts in relation the body and the economy in an atmosphere that can have a melancholic reading.

la mouche cf What were the films that have inspired you the most this past year?
Of the international releases, I liked Elle, Toni Erdmann, The Lobster, Carol, but I also was seeing again some films of the 90’s of Abel Ferrara like The Addiction, The Blackout and Bad Lieutenant. I reviewed the work of the German director Heinz Emigholz and the great Harun Farocki among others.

la mouche cf If you’ve already been to the Clermont-Ferrand, could you share with us an anecdote or story from the festival. If not, what are your expectations for this edition?
It is my first time in Clermont-Ferrand; mainly I hope to have a good time, also that Lupus has good acceptance by the public, and finally to find producers interested in my new projects.

 

 

Lupus is being shown in Lab Competition L2.

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