Interview with Filmmaker Christian Cavazos (JA’ (WATER))

JA’ (WATER), 14min., Mexico, Documentary
Directed by Christian Cavazos
Tosi (Naomi León), a native girl from an indigenous community in Baja California, motivated by her grandmother’s (Inocencia Sáenz) delicate condition and annoyed by the apathy of her brother (Ratkley López) and the other members of the community, seeks to do the difference in a moment where darkness has consumed everything.

Get to know the filmmaker:

1. What motivated you to make this film?

Initially, the motivation came from long talks with Mrs. Pascuala. A 90-year-old Cucapah native with whom I was lucky enough to make a beautiful friendship while she was studying psychology. Hence the phrase “A great black bird is approaching, when you return, I will no longer be here” Back then I didn’t have the technical capacity to produce a short film like the one we made, but it made me want to tell a story that reflected what I was seeing and, above all, conveyed the emotionality.

Two years ago, after shooting a movie in the desert and having come across more environmental inconsistencies and somewhat disillusioned by what we as humans are capable of doing only and exclusively for money, I decided to bring this story to the screen.

2. From the idea to the finished product, how long did it take for you to make this film?

Not much, I think I wrote the script in a few days.

Probably the pre-production did take us a little longer, we had little money and I was visiting the native communities of Baja California, México in search of references and ideas. In particular Mrs. Inocencia Saiz. She supported us to translate the script from Spanish to Cucapah. Later I convinced her to help us with the role of the grandmother, and she did!

This part was somewhat slow, but in order not to spend unnecessary money in production, we had to do very good planning, in detail, and that is what we did.

The shooting was 4 days. Very fluid and with very few setbacks. A very willing small crew and great non-actors. A very good experience.

Post-production was also quite smooth and fast.

3. How would you describe your film in two words!?

More awareness! More respect!

4. What was the biggest obstacle you faced in completing this film?

The money. The money made us sacrifice some things. Common in this type of projects. But other than that there was no significant obstacle.

5. What were your initial reactions when watching the audience talking about your film in the feedback video?

Beautiful! When you see that the audience not only understands the story, but actually cuts through and makes them feels the message… I think as a director, you couldn’t ask for more. Mission accomplished.

6. When did you realize that you wanted to make films?

As I mentioned in the first question. The motivation was always to point out our little conscience and respect towards others. I believe that the “Money God” has blinded us and we must do something NOW!

The main objective self-criticism, awareness and respect for other cultures. In this specific case, the indigenous communities. The earth has limits, resources are not infinite, and despite the historical moment in which we live, where information and knowledge are very close at hand, apathy and the petty ways of a few, continue to be the main rivals to overcome. . We can definitely be better. Progress should not imply devastation and extermination, but rather the opposite. “We need more warriors.”

7. What film have you seen the most in your life?

I think as a kid I watched a lot of matinee movies. “E.T.”, “Starwars” and movies like that. As I recall, I force my mom’s boyfriend to take me to the movies countless times. He wanted to be my mom’s boyfriend, I had to pay the price. And he did.

When I was older I think I saw a thousand times movies like “Trainspotting”, “Requiem for a dream”, Goodfellas, etc.

8. What other elements of the festival experience can we and other festivals implement to satisfy you and help you further your filmmaking career?

I think what you guys are doing is off the charts, for which I thank you.

9. You submitted to the festival via FilmFreeway. How has your experiences been working on the festival platform site?

Very well, all the festivals we have entered are from there. Very good place to do your round of festivals and very easy to use.

10. What is your favorite meal?

Hahahhaahahaha “Posole” that would be my favorite meal.

11. What is next for you? A new film?

Yes. Right now I’m working on a film dedicated to the 90’s. The story of a 90’s punk neighborhood. The script is almost finished and I hope to start shooting next year. In addition to that I have been hired to make a documentary about two Mexican boxers. “Behind the fights” about the stories behind the fights they had while they were in their prime.


By matthewtoffolo

Filmmaker and sports fan. CEO of the WILDsound Film and Writing Festival

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