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Federico Marcello, between reality and fiction

In an exclusive interview, the film director tells the background of his film, “From here to China”, and the cycle
Movies
De-aca-a-la-China
11 January, 2020

S. A. How did the idea of the film come about?

F. M. -The idea of the film came together with Pablo Zapata and Julián Arenzon. We wanted to make a documentary about the Chinese in Argentina . We were very curious to know where they came from. Why they choose Argentina and why they open supermarkets. However, when we started thinking about the script, the original idea (from the documentary) mutated into fiction. The story of an Argentinian who, out of revenge, travels to China and puts on a supermarket. The story, the other way around. That idea devoured the original, and it was adapted.

S. A. How was shooting planned in China? How was the organization?

F.M. – Originally we were only three people, to film the documentary. Then, when we moved to fiction, we started adding people together. The production and organization were raised with Pablo Zapata. We both decided to go to Fujian, which is precisely the province where 85 percent of the Chinese who then come to Argentina live. We conducted the research and traveled there, where we had a contact, to make a base. At first, we traveled 5 people: Pablo Zapata, Julián Arenzon, Víctor Torres, Ramiro Lagoand I, who took care of the pre-production. Resources were scarce. We had a very narrow budget, without subsidies, but with a lot of will. And with that will and effort, we went out to produce the film in a month and a half.

How did you find the actors there?

F.M.-A Huang, who is one of the protagonists, we met him through friends. He lived a long time in Argentina and speaks perfect Spanish. He currently resides in Shanghai. We contacted you by email and asked if you were interested in helping us. Immediately, the response was positive, accompanied by a photo of him, embraced by a grill. “Of course. I love Argentina. And I like the project,” he said. Then we met Momo, who is the other protagonist of the story, through Eugenio Donatello. Donatello is an Argentinian native of the neighborhood of Barracas, based in Fujian for 10 years.

F. M. – To the rest of the participants , which were the vast majority, we met them minutes before the shooting of the scenes. We were fortunate enough to find a lot of good people. willing and willing to help

How did you manage the language to communicate?

F.M. – We spent three months in Fujian. During the first month and a half, which was pre-production without a translator, we managed with the help of students who stayed in the same place as us. They translated the phrases we needed. For example: “rent lights for a scene”. Then they wrote us in a notebook “where we can rent filming lights” (Mandarin, of course) and with that we went out to the street pointing to the written paper, waiting for someone to tell us. That’s how we did the pre-production for that month and a half. Then we were fortunate that Huang and his wife arrived for filming.

S.A. What was the most difficult thing to shoot in China?

F.M. – Without a doubt, the most difficult thing was the language. But, producing a film independently is also very complicated and doing so in China, even more so. One of the most complex scenes was that of the boat, filmed on the coast of Fujian, because it was a day of intense fog. Another scene that had difficulty was one that was shot in a collective. He had 11 extras in a moving collective, and every time we had to repeat it, we had to take a different collective, with everything that implied. But it was done.

S.A. How much did the original script vary from the one finally captured in the film?

F.M. – We went with a script written from Argentina to China that we immerse him in the reality of China. And we planted a fiction film within a documentary. Something like that was the end result of the adaptation of the script. The dramatic structure was already established, but was enriqu

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