TRAILER: ‘Todo por la taquilla’ Chronicles the Misadventures of a Venezuelan Production Team Making the Country’s First Western

Getting an independent film made is a herculean task in just about any country – except for Germany, France, Argentina, and a handful of other countries that generously shower filmmakers with state money – but despite this common denominator, each industry tends to have its own quirks that reveal a lot about local cultural norms and idiosyncrasies. In Venezuela, this process may or may not include excessive government bureaucracy, mafiosos with dreams of stardom, and a whole series of absurd obstacles and mix-ups that turn filmmaking into a quixotic adventure fit for only the strongest at heart. At least, that’s the self-reflexive portrait that first-time director Héctor Puche paints in his debut feature, Todo por la taquilla, which recently premiered in Venezuelan cinemas.

Following the misadventures of an independent production team hell-bent on making the first Western movie in Venezuela, Todo por la taquilla plays with the film-within-a-film format to bring us a rollicking send-up of the vicissitudes of indie filmmaking in Venezuela. The film’s trailer showcases its ultra-low budget, run-and-gun aesthetic, complete with a handful of genuinely laugh-out-loud moments and a certain rough-around-the-edges guerrilla charm. The comedy may seem a bit over the top for fans of more nuanced Anglo traditions, but Puche’s goofy, fictitious production team shows solid chemistry as they take their show on the road to the small, rural state of Trujillo – where some of the film’s standout moments seem to come from actual residents unaware that they’re part of the joke.

Overall, this self-conscious treatise on the absurd business of filmmaking calls to mind a sort of tropicalized Tropic Thunder, albeit with less pyrotechnics and more burros.