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Enrique Pérez Him
2015, 85m, comedy, drama
Joshua a successful young professional family accepts the challenge to keep his cousin Kenny off marijuana without disclosing to anyone that he also shares this vice. Together, Joshua and Kenny face a society governed by double standards and other societal addictions.
Produced by: Isabella Gálvez, Enrique Pérez Him
Cast: Milko Delgado, Erick De León, María Elena Mena, Alejandra Araúz, Raúl Rolla, Mileyka Rudas, Nyra Soberón Torchía, Natalie Medina, Winnie T. Sittón, Mr. Fox
10 questions with Kenke director, Enrique Pérez Him at the half-way mark.
Sunday, September 11th, 2016
1"Kenke" is the first feature film I've seen from Panama. Are there many movies made in Panama? Where could someone find more Panamanian movies? Actually, there are not many films being made in Panama. The first fiction feature length film was released in 2010 (Chance) and since then there have been less than 10 local films released, many of them are still in post-production. But in the last few years there has been an increase in documentary production.
2Is there an indie scene in Panama? Are you able to easily find colleagues and crew to help on a down-and-dirty project like this? I wouldn´t say theres a "scene" at all here in Panama. Independent film experiments, such as Kenke, have been few and scattered through out several years. But things are changing with the efforts of groups such as Mente Publica, which is an organization that dictates courses in filmmaking and has recently created a local film festival for short films. With these efforts a local scene of short films is slowly emerging.
3Your movie has a documentary-style feel which is a really effective choice for the story you're telling. Did you intend to shoot the movie that way from the beginning, or was the rough style a budgetary choice later on? Both. From the beginning we knew that we would have to shoot the movie with a very small budget, so the style was decision to save time (and money). But we decided to incorporate the style to the elements of the story. It was a risky bet but Im very happy with the result.
4What are your other films like? Are they shot in this same style? My first fiction feature length film, Puro Mula was shot in a very classic way. In this experience I learned how time consuming it could be to shoot this way, and very risky for a low budget production. This is why I decided to try something different with Kenke.
5The treatment of the story and characters feels so honest. How much of this movie is based on personal experience? I have to admit that a lot of it is based on personal experience, but it also comes from observation of the personal stories of close friends and members of my family here in Panama. Its a story that tries to portray the prison that double standards have built around panamanian society.
6Your movie explores double standards and hypocrisy in attitudes towards drugs in Panamanian society. How was the movie received in your home country? Were some people upset by it? Surprisingly no. We got more positive feedback than a negative one. It was really rewarding (and fun) to see how a large number of people here in Panama are still "in the closet" about certain subjects. I feel Kenke has become a social experiment that opened the door for people to discuss subjects that they were afraid to talk about before.
7What filmmakers or films were you inspired by in the making of "Kenke"? Since I wanted to experiment with this freestyle, documentar-like narrative, I looked into the films of Lars Von Trier and John Cassavettes. I also looked into the films of Sara Gómez, a cuban filmmaker from the 1970s who used to combine documentary and fiction very elegantly.
8Your cast works very well together. What did you do in preparing for the movie or on set to help establish that rapport? We worked on the casting for over a year, trying tor find the correct actors for each character. Once we had locked the cast, I worked with Nyra Soberon Torchia (who plays Silvia in the movie) as an acting coach. She prepared the actors for a couple of months before I started rehearsing with them. I think her work was fundamental to the process.
9Have you had much luck on the festival circuit? How has the response been to your movie? To be honest, we haven´t really tried our luck in the festival circuit. Since the beginning of the project, we knew we were aiming for alternative distribution, using internet tools such as Fandependent. This is were we want Kenke to go.
10What's next? Im currently working in the development of a documentary called "Guararé" and a fiction film called "Días de luz". Both films are scheduled to be shot in 2017. I am also writing a new screenplay for an indie styled science fiction film (but I want to keep that as a secret for now...)
About the Interviewer: Jay Stern
Jay Stern is a film and theater director and producer based in New York City. HIs two features "The Adventures of Paul and Marian" and "Spirit Cabinet" were shot back to back and recently appeared on Fandependent Films. Jay is a founder of the Iron Mule Short Comedy Film Festival, which has screened monthly in NYC since April, 2002.
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