Peace negotiations with the now ex-guerrilla group FARC have produced thousands of journalistic works, each with their own angle. One of them is “Truce”’ a documentary that will be screened at the Havana Film Festival, but won’t be released to the public until 2018.
During the conflict in Colombia, the media has played a fundamental role in highlighting certain dynamics and ignoring others, so that the information that reaches the public and the stories that are told are varied.
For this reason, the work regarding the peace agreements signed between the Colombian government and FARC (now the Alternative Revolutionary Force of the Common political party) are both important and necessary. One of them is “Truce”, a documentary co-directed by Teilo Vellacott and Pablo Navarrete, which uses this opportunity to highlight issues that are not always at the centre of media attention.
In “Tregua” (Truce) Vellacott and Navarrete analyse the role of women in the FARC subcommittee on gender.
Victoria Sandino and Dutch citizen Alexandra Nariño both play a pivotal role, whilst the city of Havana itself also plays a special part in the documentary.
Between interviews, the camera captures small stories about the lives developing in the capital.
How didyou come to make the documentary?
We made the film in July 2016 and we had an opportunity to gain access to Victoria Sandino and some of the key players in the gender subcommittee. We then decided, Teilo Vellacott and I, to co-direct this project.
Why did you decide to make it?
On the one hand this opportunity was handed to us. On the other hand, we had noted that there were loads of documentaries being made surrounding the Peace Process and they were all going to be interviewing men; the leaders of FARC in Havana. I thought that as a journalist and documentary-maker it was worth exploring the topic and giving access to these other important characters.
Who financed your work?
Although we looked for other channels of financing, in the end it was through my producer and the other director.
Who participated in the making of the film?
Although the film doesn’t just focus on one person, in some ways Victoria Sandino, one of the two commanders of FARC at that time and the woman who lead FARC’s women’s commission in Havana, is the film’s protagonist.
There are also interviews with Alexandra Dariño, a Dutch woman who has worked with FARC for many years and who has quite a high profile. There are three or four women who contribute many stories to the film, as well as two journalists, one from Le Monde and the other from Telesur, who were also there interviewing. Part of the film is about showing their interviews with these women. The style is observational; it tries to humanise the process of peace and these stories.
Being Chilean yourself, why were you so interested in events in Colombia?
My parents are from Chile and they came to England in 1975 after being imprisoned during Pinochet’s dictatorship. I was born here so I have both British and Chilean nationalities.
Colombia is a country that I’ve been interested in for years, to try to access stories I think are important so that people can see what’s happening in these countries.
Are there plans to take the documentary to any festivals?
Yes. This year we’re trying to show it at the Bogota Film Festival and also the Havana Film Festival, where it has already been accepted and where it will be shown on 9th December. As the documentary was filmed in Havana, which also plays a role in the film, we are really looking forward to presenting “Truc e”. For this reason, we are launching a small crowdfunding campaign to cover the costs of travel.
How long did it take to make the documentary?
In July 2016 we were filming in Havana for almost 2 weeks and we arrived in London and started the editing process in September. The film was ready by the start of 2017, but it has been a long process trying to get it to the festivals.
What is the crowdfunding for?
We are asking for a fund of £1,700 which is approximately half the cost to travel direct. Although we are a committed to telling these stories, unfortunately producing these films costs money. As documentary makers we have to cover our costs and continue making documentaries.
(Translated by Eleanor Gooch) – Photos: “Truce”