San Cristobal: Award winning Gay film Chile
Urban man meets a more rustic fisherman in the fishing village of San Cristobal. He has come to say goodbye to his sister as he is bound for Canada. The young men commence a torrid romance, and they are spotted by the fisherman’s boss. He sends goons who beat up his employee. The town boy rescues him from this homophobic attack and takes him to a clinic. The man’s life is not in danger and he does not “squeal”.
In the few remaining days, the young men fall in love and it is no longer a holiday fling. The movie ends with the possibility that they could find happiness in Canada.
Interview with the director
Omar Zúñiga will premiere his short film “San Cristobal” at Berlinale 2015
Omar Zúñiga Hidalgo is a young Chilean filmmaker, a graduate of the Catholic University who lives in Brooklyn, New York. In 2008 he founded with Catalina Marín and Dominga Sotomayor the production company Cinestación, who will be presenting two films at the Berlinale: San Cristóbal, the latest short film by Zúñiga and Mar, the second feature film by Sotomayor. Today he speaks with CinemaChile on the details of his short film and his future projects.
Omar, when did you shoot this short film and how was its production?
It was an unorthodox production. The shooting was made in the context of developing a feature film with a much larger story, and I wanted to shoot some material to define some things, so I decided to make a short film. There was very little funding and in that sense the delivery of the technical team was a key factor, they gave their time and talent and I am deeply grateful.
Did you shoot at Niebla?
Yes, we shot there and I had to travel, because now I’m living in the US, so it was a production deployment, too. When Berlin selected the short film we were very happy and we thought it was a privileged window to display our work, but our goal remains to gather funds for the feature film project.
Who produces this project?
The same producers of the short film, Cineastación and the girls from La Medallita: Amparo Aguirre and Ana Perera.We made a partnership and we are very happy working together.
The gay issue has been present in almost all your films, what is that haunts you about this topic?
It is not as deliberate as you might think, but it is a constant. Actually, I am very interested in the world of masculinity and fragility. I like to explore this hidden streak behind the masculine, which always tends to be associated with strength. And particularly in San Cristóbal I wanted to portray something of contemporary Chile.
It caught my attention when one of the characters tells the protagonist “behave yourself, you are not in Santiago.”
Yes, Chile has made many political and social changes in this regard, and I welcome this recent openness, but clearly it is not the same throughout the territory. In other less urban areas the subject remains taboo, and the news remind us that terrible things are still happening today: boys beaten, homophobic attacks, discrimination… I do not think we have had a full transformation in Chile.
And what is your opinion on the same-sex Civil Union Pact passed by the congress?
It’s good, positive and necessary that progress is being made on this regard.
What elements of “San Cristóbal” will be present in your next feature film?
Well, the story is very similar, but my idea is to go deeper into the life and work of these characters: fishermen, family dynamics. And I would like to have both actors involved in the film.
In your short films there is an ever-present imminent trip, which gives the situations a much more dramatic character, why is this?
This is completely unconscious, but it’s real… I’ve been constantly moving for the last five years and it has somehow sneaked into my stories. I tend to relate to people in transit and that is the context where I come up with ideas.
And personally, how has this changing process been for you?
It has been exhilarating. Still, there is a certain nostalgia, you always want to be elsewhere and sometimes this doesn’t allow you to appreciate where you are and to be able to disconnect yourself. This happens to me sometimes.
And in Berlin, what expectations do you have?
We’ll be with Cata (Marín) and Ana (Perera), on behalf of the entire short film crew. I’m happy and I think it is an excellent showcase, we are proud to have San Cristóbal and Mar in this festival. It is a work we have been doing since 2008 and it’s getting stronger every day. The idea is to show our film to the audience and display our other projects in the market.
By Roberto Doveris