Congratulations! The Silver Bear Jury Prize (Short Film) goes to Esteban Arrangoiz Julien and his film «Ensueño en la Pradera»!

He was born in Mexico City in 1979, he took degrees in media and cultural studies in Australia and in filmmaking at the Centro Universitario de Estudios Cinematográficos /UNAM in Mexico City. In 2012 he participated in Berlinale Talents. His short films have screened at national and international festivals. He has recently also begun creating video installations.

Portraits_Berlinale2017_HiRes_17177_0003.jpgCopyright by Heinrich Völkel

What is your ambition in the film?

I don’t have an ambition; I have the need to share my concerns and my sensations of certain themes. Reverie in the Meadow started as a documentary with the intention to map certain aspects of Mexico in small stories of blackmailing and extortion, and later it evolved into an essay that shows how Mexico has become into a country with an absent government, ruled by Cartels and  without real opportunities for the most needed,  thus pushing the young ones to the path of criminal activities while the imaginary of the kids is being infected with admiration to that violence. I’m a father and I have been more sensible to children in the past years, so when I found the testimony of the children dreaming to be part of the Cartel, with the violence implicit in their word,  I was really astonished in a bad way, so I wanted to make a film about that, and I found a way to mirror it with the stories of extortion; actually it was perfect, because in the small tale of Gaspar and the extortion testimonies, the Cartel become the “heroes” of the story as they are the only ones to confront the extortion gangs,  so it was really natural for the children to dream of becoming cartel guys. And what I like is that we don’t see any violence in the short film, I only give you potential stories so you can construct it in your imagination, as the kids. I also like that Gaspar works as  subject that gives me hope in all this dense context, although he is kind of naive and childish, there is a fascination to see someone act with such a passion for small details, it tell you a lot of how you feel in this world, even though there is all this violence happening around him.

How did you get started in the film business?

When I was studying my bachelor in Media and cultural Studies in Australia I had a film class where I saw very good films from Iran. Sawing those films made me want to know more about their culture and their beliefs, it made me feel about them, so I woke up a need to do the same; I want to touch the head and soul of the people with my films. I was specially moved by a film by director Mohsen Makhmalbaf called Salaam Cinema. In 1996 they commissioned Makhmalbaf to make a film to celebrate de 100 anniversary of film, and he decided to make a film about  the casting of the “film”, it’s an amazing film where he achieves, in a very intelligent way, an essay on power, abuse and representation, in a country with a high rate of censorship. That film made me understand that film is not on the screen but in our imaginary, of course produced by images, sounds and our own history.

What are your future plans for 2017?

I have some projects waiting in the desk, even do I’m eager to make a feature film, I still want to keep on going with the short form, it give me space to free my mind. When I’m working in the feature projects I tend to be more academic, I think everything to much in order to try an write it properly, but I still can’t do it, I write a full feature script in 20 pages.

I have a hybrid film that follows a bull (not the same bull)  from birth to death, while we get to mirror certain aspects of the human condition in the way people relate with them. I have a fiction film that happens in a monastery in the 16th century, it’s a big monastery that was built to welcome a big group of people to live there but in 300 years nobody came, there were only 3 monks maximum living at the same time , it’s a very nice metaphor of contradiction and absurdity found in religion, it’s like Godot, but at the end the monks find spirituality somewhere else. I also have a project of a documentary in a trash dump were migrants work burning trash all day but they although they are pushed to that job they dignify it, they don’t pity themselves as the media shows them, I love those stories of contradiction, were people find their own beauty in remote places. I want to get into their heads and souls while they burn the trash. So, I hope I can start filming any of these stories soon.

Ensueno en la pradera.pngFilm excerpt from «Ensueño en la Pradera»


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