Director, Krisstian de Lara, answers questions from the audience after the premiere of El Chácharero, a documentary short film about a man that survives by picking up trash in downtown Juarez, Mexico at El Paso Film Festival. The film premiered this Saturday, October 26 at El Paso Museum of Art in downtown El Paso. De Lara speaks about his impression when filming the documentary, getting to see the other side of the coin and if he would consider using El Chácharero as inspiration for a feature film.
The Q&A session hosted by festival’s Artistic Director, Carlos Corral, kicks off with Corral mentioning that he is a fan of de Lara’s work since the beginning of the trilogy with El Dragón. El Dragón tells the story of a fire breather who makes a living working on the streets of Ciudad Juarez. These films including El Chácharero, form part a trilogy of documentary films that showcase the most shocking lives from the border community of Juarez, Mexico and El Paso, Texas. These films brings together the stories of these individuals that have shaken the film community of the borderland due to its compelling raw visuals and have won awards and been showcased across the nation and abroad. “Check out El Dragón on Amazon it’s a really fabulous short film” Carlos states and asks Krisstian about the second installment, “The second is a male prostitute in downtown too but at night.” This second chapter tells the story of El Flaco a male prostitute that pays for police protection to be able work in downtown Juarez. Carlos encourages audience members to visit Amazon and watch both of these films that spotlight people that otherwise would go unnoticed if it wasn’t from this trilogy.
Thereafter, Corral asks de Lara the reason of profiling these kind of individuals, “I would ask all of them, ‘Why don’t you do something that can get you out of poverty? You’re living in this extreme condition, why not do something that could help you?’ Like drug trafficking.” Krisstian recalls how impressed he was when interviewing El Chácharero and made him reflect how much influence the United States has on Mexico. Specifically, the aspect of searching for individuals that come from low income families to join the drug trafficking world and get them out of poverty. Krisstian suggest how eye opening it is to know that drug trafficking is funding households out of poverty.
As small as this story seems it reflects a lot about what the border is and how we are seen around the world.
KRISSTIAN DE LARA
Krisstian continues by explaining the lack of acknowledgment this has on a national stage, “some of these short films that showcase that Mexicans are the bad guys and because of that we have incidents like this mass shooting that happened in Walmart people don’t really know who we really are as Hispanics and Latinos and we are in desperate need of showing, having us Latinos, El Pasoans, showcase who we really are, what the border really is all about.” Carlos emphasizes how important is to have stories like El Chácharero be shown to diversify national points of views of the border. Krisstian concludes, “El Chácharero made me see the other side of the coin that maybe we are not seeing something here in the US that is causing all these ripple effects in Mexico and to immigration and everything.”
Lastly, Carlos asks the audience for one last question in which a gentleman asks Krisstian about using these people as inspiration for a narrative film due to the difficulty of finding such rich characters. Krisstian responds, “not really because I like to interview them and let them tell their own story.” Krisstian then points out to the producer of El Chácharero, Uriel Venegas, sitting by the audience and narrates how much material they had when doing the transcript of the footage and getting to the core of the story.
Nonetheless, Krisstian mentions he filmed a narrative feature film last year giving a shout out to Karla Giselle, an actress also sitting by the audience who participated in this project titled Rift City. “[It’s] about a woman that goes to Juarez and looks for a story to film and she lies to her subject to be able to continue her documentary to win a festival at UTEP. So, I’m trying to shine a light on Latino stories and put them on a pedestal.” Krisstian explains. He then concludes by stating that Latino stories can go beyond the stereotypical roles,
We also can be on the standards of physical and emotional transformation.
KRISSTIAN DE LARA
Carlos concludes the Q&A by thanking Krisstian and inviting audiences to the scheduled films of the following day. Watch the full Q&A session above.
Plus, watch the second sneak peek of El Chácharero below or click here.
For more information about El Chácharero visit the official site here.
More about El Chácharero: Director Krisstian de Lara speaks about El Chácharero’s premiere, what to expect and underlying messages | Watch the first sneak peek | New documentary “El Chácharero” joins the US/Mexico border trilogy films