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Filmmaker Q&A: Jonatan Relayze (Rosa Chumbe)

So far, we've had two entries in our "Filmmaker Q&A" blog series: Linda Ohama from A NEW MOON OVER TOHOKU, and Jordan Roberts, director of BURN YOUR MAPS. Today we're aiming south and heading all the way to Peru, the setting of Jonatan Relayze's ROSA CHUMBE. We asked Jonatan some questions about the film and about what he's looking forward to while he visits Calgary. Take a look behind the scenes with us!

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Can you tell us something fun about the making of ROSA CHUMBE? 

We wanted to shoot the religious procession from the roof of an abandoned building in downtown Lima. It took us more than four months to reach the owner, who was part of a religious movement called Mahikari.

At the beginning he granted us the access, but then he asked the location manager to attend one of his healing sessions at the Mahikari temple and "receive the light". After that, the owner asked for more members from the crew to attend the ceremony. A week later, we went with the producer, art director, location manager and my assistant to a huge temple. The ceremony started in Japanese, and then we had to close our eyes for more than half an hour with someone behind us praying and other people chanting. After that, the building owner asked us to attend again next week and we realized that all he wanted was to convert us to his movement!

After that, he never said a single word about the building and he was always inviting us to their ceremonies, so in the end we had to choose a different building. The guy called us for months after that, even offering access to the roof of the building.

What are you looking forward to doing the most when you're in Calgary for the festival? 

I love to walk, especially in new places, and eat a lot of local and fusion cuisine since I consider myself a foodie with a weakness for street and Asian food. My grandparents are from China, so everywhere I go, I need to try the "local" Chinese food. I also like to learn some of the history of the place, so I found Heritage Park – I think it will be more like an amusement park because it's intended for tourists, but it will show some of the original town from that era.

Another thing I enjoy is taking panoramic pictures, so I want to go to the Calgary Tower. On the professional side, I'm always looking for possible contacts with programmers, distributors or future production partners.

What do you hope audiences will take away from watching your film? 

The first thing I note, after almost every presentation of the film, is the silence from the audience at the end. They need some time to release the feelings and emotions from the film and then, they start to connect the dots. I like that Rosa Chumbe is a local drama, but has an universal story – that's why most of the people at the screenings connect with the film. Alcohol, gambling, dysfunctional families, corruption, faith...you can find these problems everywhere.

For me this film can be dark and dense sometimes, but at the end there's a place for hope and redemption.

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ROSA CHUMBE plays on Saturday, Oct 1 (7:00 PM, Eau Claire 3) and again on Sunday, October 2 (11:15 AM, Eau Claire 3).  Jonatan will be at both screenings to answer your questions and talk more about his films and future plans.

In the next entry we'll be talking with Toby Fell-Holden, from the short film BALCONY