Al borde del río, a film by Cuban director Rigoberto Jiménez set in the 50s, tells the story of Lola, Gelacia, Pepa and Cira Garlobo. The four young sisters live alone on a coffee farm in the middle of the Sierra Maestra mountains. They don’t want any men in the house but the passing through of a young man from the city who is on his way to rise up with the ”rebels,” will suddenly change their lives.
The director has turned to Spanish crowdfunding site Projeggt to complete the film, as shooting in the Sierra Maestra presents its own challenges and costs. We caught up with Rigo to talk about how he learned to make films, his inspiration for this story and why he choose to shoot in the mountains.
Where were you from?
I was born and raised in the Sierra Maestra in the East of Cuba in 1967.
How did you begin to work in film?
At TV Serrana, it was a training process to dominate the audiovisual language all while fulfilling an intensive community task. Las cuatro hermanas was among the documentaries I filmed there, an intense story about four sisters immersed in a contradictory world, between customs and personal realization. From this documentary I begin to think about making a fictive film about this story, and after a long process, we are in the final stage. Al borde del río is an entirely fictional film inspired by these four real characters.
What inspires you to use film as a medium to educate others?
I think that audio visual is very conducive to working in order to help others. I think that was one of TV Serrana’s main objectives, allowing people without access to audiovisual technology to dominate it along with their language, so they could express and share their reality by themselves. As well as producing documentaries, at TV Serana we created a Study Center to train young people in the community and they themselves direct the work. Today those that work there are trained by TV Serrana and live in the area.
Can you talk about the documentary that inspired this project?
The idea came from a research process that we did to look for new topics and one of our students in the Study Center (Luis Guevara, today director of TV Serrana and director of photography) talked to me about the characters and I went to look for them. When I met them their way of life really moved me and so began a process of approach until the amount of trust was built to work on the documentary. It was hard because it meant going into a type of intimacy that didn’t correspond to me, but I always approached the subject with utmost respect. In the end we were able to converse about everything I was interested in knowing, and there was also a lot of exchange with our crew. For example, how to treat the subject of marriage, which is hard for the characters’ personalities but in the end was solved without problems. These women are very well aware of why they took such a decision and so they explained it to us. It is a documentary that plateaued a “before” and “after” in my life and in my work.
Why did you choose to shoot in the Sierra Maestra?
Life in the Sierra Maestra has a unique character, the passing of time has another form, happenings often turn around one simple fact and people face their destiny, sometimes without being able to do anything to change it. Its how many people in the mountains think; isolated and refugees, most of the times surrounded by a beautiful landscape and the rough mark it leaves in the face and the soul.
You can contribute to the project here; the campaign ends in a few days!