Una Telenovela de Guapas
A group consisting of lgbti activists, theater actors and filmmakers gather to create a film using a common language: the one of latin american telenovelas. From white magic rituals to ideas of love, religion and police oppression, this project explores how to use film as a tool for social inclusion.
Daniel is from Manizales, Colombia. He has previous studies in Documentary film from the University of Bordeaux in France and this is his MFA film project at HDK-Valand. He’s interested in the pedagogical aspects of documentary film and its use in social processes.
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Daniel Aguirre Montoya – Artist Statement
I spent my teenage years going to demos, organizing punk concerts and traveling. I was also very much into watching movies, but I struggled to find ways of merging my political/ethical interests with the world of cinema. Movies in Colombia are done (almost exclusively) by the rich and consumed by them. In a country with big social gaps, this artistic expression is just the reflection of it. This is why I have been trying to use a social approach to an artistic inquiry, very much empirically.
I have a background in documentary filmmaking, but have struggled to find strategies to incorporate political and social work into this profession in a way that actually makes an impact for the people involved. In the year of 2014 I had the chance to meet the LGBTI collective Armario Abierto, when I reunited with an old time friend whom was part of the punk scene when growing up in Colombia. Armario Abierto works since 2010 in the fields of popular education, using pedagogy to create together. Popular education is a concept encourages active participation in processes of learning by taking for account that we all have previous knowledge by what we have experienced in our lives. We learn through making, and teacher and students learn collectively.
This was a turning point for me. I asked myself what would happen if I try to reconstruct the ideas of filmmaking that I learn from school and instead put a focus on popular education? What If the importance of making a certain film is not the film itself but the process? This task required a different framing in order to understand the underlying dynamics of making a movie and what it means for the people involved . I realized that I wanted to create movies with people and not about people.
Nowadays, the abundance of images requires us to understand how to read (audio)visual information but also how to produce it. I believe that learning the filmic language is as important as learning how to write, visual literacy is a growing skill that needs to be promoted through popular education. In my project “Una Telenovela de Guapas” done with Armario Abierto, I gather a group of lgbti activists, theater actors and filmmakers to create a film using a common language: the one of latin American telenovelas (soap opera in Spanish). In this film the idea was to make a collective creation, a short film that would use the aesthetic codes of Mexican and Colombian soap operas. The use of that language and aesthetics was an intuitive response to the idea of “encouraging critical and creative thinking” proposed by Freire, as I understood that this language of soap operas was understandable and accessible for all the participants. This was further explored and presented as my masters film.
I want to engage my work with a focus on working in community by reshaping the traditional models in which films are made. I think that art has to be in constant dialogue with people and should not belong to a specific closed space. I believe in the potential of popular education as a ways to bringing the ideas from the academy and art schools out to the streets.