Interview with Director Ivan Flores & Animator John Coulter (LA CURANDERA CUMBIAMBERA)

Directed by Ivan Flores
“La Curandera Cumbiambera” is a science fiction animation similar to ‘Heavy Metal’ or ‘Akira’ that tells the story of a dying Earth ruled by a mutant dictator and his quest to conquer new worlds. A small group of animals band together to fight back and summon the ancient healers for help in battle.

Get to know the filmmaking team:
Ivan (Director) & John (Lead Animator)

1. What motivated you to make this film?

IVAN: During the early stages of the pandemic, all pending performances for the year were being cancelled and, as a performing musician, this left me with a lot of uncertainty and free time. I (Ivan – Director) began to compose a series of songs that would become part of a concept album. Sci-fi-Cumbia-Heavy Metal! As the songs took shape, I began to write out a story based on the themes of the songs and reached out to John (Lead Animator) who I knew could bring this story to life.

JOHN: I’ve always loved anime, science fiction and cumbia music. I’ve worked on a lot of different styles of animations over the years and this was a perfect storm of my interests – A real dream job. I’ve also worked with Ivan before and enjoy collaborating with him.

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

IVAN: Two Years

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

IVAN: Anime Cumbia

JOHN: Space Cumbia

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

IVAN: This project was a labor of love on the part of John and I, so there was no major funding behind the project. We had to create this during off hours and our free time, out of our own pockets, all while learning to work together virtually. We had to find ways to create effects on a strict budget while not

sacrificing quality.

JOHN: Because “La Curandera Cumbiambera” is a full cohesive album of animated tunes, it is the longest animation I’ve completed. The massive amount of detailed drawings took patience and time-management to progress through. Lots of organization was also needed for a project of this scale.

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

IVAN: Blown away!! I was very humbled and proud to hear the reviews from the folks in the video. I also felt very honored that they enjoyed and understood the film and took the time to record their reactions.

JOHN: I really enjoyed the feedback. It was wonderful that our film’s message came across clearly to audiences and that it resonated well. Also, I am grateful that the audience appreciated the soundtrack, colors and different experimental animation techniques that went into the film.

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

IVAN: From very early on, I have always been a movie fan and buff. I love how films can evoke so many emotions in the viewers, as well as the special effects/ puppetry and animation in the 1980’s sci-fi/horror genre.

JOHN: I’ve been making animations on film and VHS since I was a child. While I’ve worked in other art fields, I don’t think there has ever been anything else I’ve wanted to do other than make animations.

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

IVAN: It would be between “La Bamba” and “Child’s Play.”

JOHN: “Star Wars,” “Akira,” “2001 A Space Odyssey,” and “Battle Royale.”

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

IVAN: I think it would be amazing to be there in person and see the reaction of the audience to your film. The movie viewers first impression is something every filmmaker looks for.

JOHN: The whole concept behind the FEEDBACK Festival is fantastic. It allows for unique audience engagement.

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

JOHN: FilmFreeway has been extremely useful over the years. I’ve submitted various short films, animations and documentaries that I’ve worked on via the site. It’s convenient and I’ve gotten a good response from festivals. It is my preferred film festival platform for searching and submitting.

10. What is your favorite meal?

IVAN: I love seafood!!

JOHN: Spicy vegan tacos and arepas.

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

IVAN: I’m looking forward to finishing the soundtrack to this film and releasing it on vinyl. Hopefully developing this film into a series, as well as a new film.

JOHN: I’m currently working on several new animated music videos, and documentaries. I am also recording new music and have other art projects in progress. I’d love to work with Ivan again on a follow up series to “La Curandera Cumbiambera.”


By matthewtoffolo

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

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