What inspired you come up with the idea for the film? Why did you want to tell this story?
“Bleed. Scream. Beat!” is a film that reunites three very important stories at the conjuncture of Peru. It is a country where the levels of bullying has made the kids not want to go to school. There are even kids who commit suicide, something that wasn’t an issue in my country. But now it’s getting more serious, more cruel, more violent. The second story is about how much a life is worth. The life has absolutely no value; you can die in any corner, anywhere. Death in Peru does not discriminate. And the last story matters to me, because the health conditions in my country must be as bad as is the problem with education. The average person in Peru can’t access to an operation or a decent health service. Such a situation made me want to talk about these three subjects in a movie.
How do you relate to your characters or subjects?
My relationship with them is very close, because I’m in charge of co-writing and then directing the script, so I have to sketch out the story and then develop the characters with my co-writers. As the work goes on, the characters remain with you, you start to care for them, and a thing I learned at the theater is not to judge them, to let them be, to let them chase what they need, what they ought to do, and to avoid laying your morals or particularities on them, so they can remain themselves. A father who wants to save his daughter; two guys who need to find the solution to a mistake; and a teacher who wants to heal in the present all his pain from the past.
What aspect of the story changed the most during writing and production?
It actually has been a very respectful process; everything went as planned. We closed each working day on time or earlier, because we had everything clear. The only thing that got complicated was that, in “Scream” our second plot, I wanted to tell the story putting together several sequence shots. But on set, we realized that it was absolutely impossible, because of the length of the film. Just a shot of a character entering a room took 7 minutes, so we had to look for other options.
What was the most courageous decision you or your crew made during production?
This film was produced in a rare way, financially. I thought: “I want to make this movie, but it isn’t possible to get the money for it”. So I decided: “Let’s make two”. That’s how this movie was made. “Let’s make one movie with a commercial approach, for which we can actually get financing that makes possible for us to shoot a second movie”. It was a crazy risk, but we took it, and fortunately, we made it. There was a time when we asked for economic support for the film and they laughed at us and said “Don’t do this film, do something else”. So we didn’t want to apply to some national or cultural fund, because they usually care for some specific subjects, and I wanted absolute freedom to create my project. And the great thing about our film is that it is entirely itself. It hasn’t had any conditions from a ministry, a country, a fund or a sponsor that would say “I don’t want that scene”.
Where there any risks that you faced during production and how did you find a way to embrace them?
In a country like mine, the risks are always economic. In regard to everything else, the staff takes on with real companionship and solidarity. They are ready to work. You hardly have a problem with the cast or crew. Everybody is happy to do what they do. But you have to face that the money is never enough, that you have to cut the days of shooting and that nobody will spend a dollar to support your film. That’s the reason we decided to do our film freely but also produce a second movie. And it is because of the second movie, that “Bleed. Scream. Beat!” is now alive.
What influenced the visual style of the film?
We wanted a film that had: three stories, the same cast, different plots – even genres – and three different styles of photography. And we wanted the visual style to be charged with all the pain, impotence, silence, frustration, resignation. I think some parts of the film can hurt, or show you real dark, hard, perverse humor, and that is because of the visual treatment. As the stories change from one to the other, you can recognize different colors, different textures. That’s what we wanted to achieve.
What risks did you take to tell your story?
We didn’t think of the viewers at all. And in Peru you always have to think of how much people you can get to your screenings. While producing this film, we didn’t think about that, which is a tremendous risk. We also have ten wonderful and talented actors, but they work mostly at the theatre or are very young, and therefore their names are not specially selling. So that’s another risk. The plots are also an issue, because they are heavy and deal with situations that the average Peruvian does not want to deal with. The audience in Peru prefers a comedy or scary movie. Finally, there’s the tempo. It’s a film that goes real slow at some moments, jumping from one story to another. So the main risk was, that with the film we didn’t mean to please anybody. And through that path, there may be someone who loves it.
How would you encourage others to tell their story or manage through the process of screen writing or film producing?
The process is terrible, exhausting, frustrating, painful, unhappy, heavy… But it also brings so much gratification and the chance to learn. I think you shouldn’t quit. Sometimes you want to do it; you finish the script and start looking for financial support but nothing happens, an actor quits, a location fails… This happens all the time, it’s part of the game. But when you watch your film and you realize someone is laughing, suffering, that someone is thrilled or intrigued, that’s it. That’s what you were looking for, to get into someone’s head. With this film we wanted people to leave excited, disgusted, thrilled or absolutely irritated.
Grab your badge or film pass today to see this film and many more at this year’s Austin Film Festival!