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Hari Sama

Hari Sama from Altered.LA: For Me, The Set Is The Most Sacred Place There Is

22 de abril de 2019


Hari Sama is a Mexican director, scriptwriter, actor, producer and musician. He studied cinema in the Centro de Capacitación Cinematográfica (CCC) and musical composition in the Centro de Investigación y Estudios de la Música (CIEM). Since a young age, he has been divided between his two passions: cinema and music. After his second film, El Sueño de Lú, he has become one of the most robust voices of the new independent Mexican cinema.

His films have been screened in the most important festivals in Mexico and the world and have won several awards, such as the Festival Internacional de Cine de San Sebastián, the Shanghai International Film Festival, the Festival Biarritz Amérique Latine, Mar de Plata Film Fest, Quebec City Film Festival, Festival Internacional de Cine de Guadalajara, Festival Internacional de Cine de Morelia. His most recent work, Esto No es Berlín had its international debut in the Sundance Festival in January 2019, receiving excellent reviews from Screen Daily, Out Magazine and many others. He is currently working on his sixth feature film, Lastre.


1. What keeps you motivated to get to the set?

For me, the set is the most sacred place there is. I have two places that are extremely important to me, the first is any place that is destined for deep meditation, for the development of internal observation and spirituality, the second is the set. There, what keeps me motivated is that it is a place for play, but very deep; at least that is how I handle it in my shootings. There is a lot of play but also a great deal of seriousness, respect, discipline, and it is deep. What we do there is create, manage to literally become a spirit for the creation of game, of achieving intentions with the camera movements and positions, that is where the entire truth of a shooting is conjugated.

2. With all your experience, how has your visual style evolved?

Certainly, I have gone through different stages and everything has to do with what I am going to tell. For me, what rules is the story, fiction is what rules. Regardless of it being a documentary, it is fiction, because behind it, there is a spirit of creation that organizes and structures everything. That is where I find inspiration to decide how I am going to shoot a film or project, understanding what I want to say, ultimately, I manage to say it. I have, indeed, evolved a great deal. I have used different strategies. There are films in which I never put the camera down, films in which I have made 10-minute long takes, when the film required that, and in contrast, there have been films that are more contemplative, or at least acts that are that way. But it is precisely that: each project requires a different aesthetic. Even though I have made five films, I have worked on thousands of small and big projects such as videoclips and advertising, that have allowed me to test many types of languages and storytelling, therefore, I have no need to use a type of storytelling that is important in itself, but instead think very much about what I am trying to communicate and what the story requires.

3. What has the process of Esto No Es Berlín in festivals been like?

The process has been something truly unexpected, unique, and very moving. To begin with, the huge satisfaction of having our world debut in Sundance. But what I never expected was that so many people with such varied profiles would come to see me to tell me how important the film was for them. Additionally, we were acknowledged with four awards in the Malaga Film Festival and many more festivals are coming and I hope the film is accepted there as well as in the festivals it has participated in up to now.

4. What projects have you worked on recently?

I continue working in advertising in Mexico and the U.S., and recently finished five days of shooting a very nice campaign in Los Angeles which I will soon share. I am also developing a series commissioned by a platform in Los Angeles and finishing the script for my next feature film. Now, I am focused on the writing and development aspects, both are more individual processes that require great time dedication. It is what takes up most of my days.

5. What would you recommend a young director?

Not to look for stories outside but inside. In other words, to use pain, joy, maybe the loss of a boyfriend or a girlfriend, or the reunion of a friendship, but to use feelings and emotions which they have lived themselves to tell stories. This is the only way to render depth to the characters. Regardless of if your story takes place in Mars or in an apartment in Lomas Verdes, what matters is that the emotional path of the characters is authentic and that is achieved when you are familiar with that path.

6. Where is Hari Sama heading?

Pragmatically, I am heading to Los Angeles. The success of Esto No Es Berlín has opened many doors that we are barely now going through and we are exploring collaboration opportunities. I will continue to be active in advertising, but I also hope to be shooting my next feature film at the beginning of next year, unless I begin with a series that is taking shape.

Altered.LA, EE UU
Contact: Marcos Cline-Márquez
T +1-310-729-8291

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