Have you ever watched a film from the sands of a virtual beach? It’s one of the ways you can see La Marea (The Tide)—an interactive short documentary that follows Jorge, an 18-year-old resident of Seybaplaya, Campeche, Mexico, as he walks through the tropical landscape he calls home.
The 14-minute film is presented by CiNEOLA, a platform for Latinx narratives that connect audiences to the diversity found across Latinoamérica.
“We wanted to provide an alternative to just streaming the film at home,” CiNEOLA founder Daniel Diaz tells Remezcla. “I hope that the interactive format provides an immersive and participatory experience that takes the audience deeper into Jorge’s story.”
Along with the 360-degree view from the shore, La Marea can be seen through an interactive platform where viewers can click on different areas of Jorge’s hometown to uncover hidden scenes that make up his life in paradise.
Director and experimental media artist Miguel Novelo wanted La Marea to serve as a cinematic portrait of the region he grew up. Novelo is originally from Campeche and now lives in the San Francisco Bay Area where he teaches at Stanford University. Having taught Jorge in the past during a couple of filmmaking workshops he held in Seybaplaya, he knew his former student wanted to “live the Mexican dream” and build a life there.
“It was an inspiring moment to hear him say that he wanted to stay home and live his dream there,” Novelo says. “So, I decided I wanted to document that story and see where we would go.”
During the film, Jorge takes viewers on a tour through Seybaplaya as he hangs out with friends, strums his guitar, swims in the ocean and visits a touring circus show. Jorge also talks about how he did not inherit the love for fishing his father and grandfather had.
“I wanted to approach the documentary as a moment in time and space,” Novelo said. “You get a chance to make your own resolutions with Jorge.”
Novelo, too, was able to resolve some things on the way. He wondered if he had made the right decision in migrating to California five years ago, for example, and asked himself if he should have followed the same journey as Jorge and put down roots in Mexico.
“It was something I admired about him,” Novelo says. “He had his dream of staying in Seybaplaya, which I think I long for, too, in Campeche.”
As an artist and filmmaker, Novelo hopes the interactive aspect of La Marea will prove to cinephiles that the format in which one presents their work is also part of the artistic process.
“I will be very happy if viewers play the film and see the overhead shot of Seybaplaya,” he said. “But I would also be very happy if they watched it and decided they want to start exploring and clicking to create their own path in order to discover what is happening in this story.”