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37th BFI Flare 2023



March 21 & 22 SOLD OUT 

March 18, 2023

Clara is a woman capable of everything, she can carry the world on her back and create a universe tailored to her loved ones in order not to hurt them.


Hi Aseneth, thanks you for talking with The New Current, how has your 2023 been treating you so far?


So far, 2023 has been amazing. We began it by spending some family time together by taking a huge road trip in January. Then it was time to get back to work and put some finishing details on some of the projects I was working on last year. I’m looking forward to whatever the rest of the year has in store.


You studied documentary production in Barcelona, what was this experience like for you?


Studying in Barcelona was a great experience. There was a diverse mix of students and we got the chance to take classes from leading figures in documentary, like Patricio Guzman, György Karpati, and Catalina Villar.


How much did winning the PARES grant help prepare and guide you for your filmmaking journey?


I had already worked on a number of projects by then, but the PARES grant really gave me a chance to explore, push myself and learn new things, a project that was truly mine. I have always been interested in the feminine universe and inspired by dedicated, hard-working women who must struggle to carve out their place in the world. I was drawn to this group of strong, independent women in Ciudad Bolivar, Berenice, Luz Marina, Raquel y Angelica.  They confronted tough situations with a both levity and seriousness, managing to give everything they did an inspiring splash of colour.


What does it mean to you to have your feature documentary Clara in the HEARTS section at the 37th BFI Flare?


I’m beside myself with joy. It’s a true honour to be included in such a renowned festival. I have always believed that we should be allow to love whomever our heart desires, so the HEARTS section is right where I want to be.


Will there be any nerves ahead of the screening or are you able to enjoy the ride?


I’m very excited. I wouldn’t quite say nervous. Unfortunately, I’m not able to be in London for the screenings, so there’s no risk of getting stage fright. In any case, I’d prefer to be in attendance at the festival and nervous as hell, rather then following it from afar, which I will certainly be doing. Luckily, we have friends and family in London that will be going to the screening, so I’ll get a full report.


How essential is it for LGBTQ+ filmmakers to continue to push the boundaries of the stories and themes they want to explore in their films?


Progress comes from pushing boundaries. I feel this question applies not only to LGBTQ+ filmmakers, but anyone who wants to do their part in making the world a better place. We all need to dialog, to communicate in order to understand each other and hopefully evolve in our way of thinking.


When you make a film it should be because you have something to say. We take things that are not always at the forefront and help make them visible. With Clara, if I was able to contribute to a society-wide conversation that helps us understand each other better and come to terms with basic life facts instead of hiding from them, then I would be very happy.

"Watch lots of movies and write, write, write. Even though film is an audio-visual experience, the basis of everything is writing."

What was the first LGBTQ+ film you saw that really left an impact? 


It’s not the first LGBTQ+ film I saw, but one that I really connected with and which led me to embark on this journey with Clara was 108 Cuchillo de Palo by Renate Costa Perdomo. The documentary, set in Paraguay, is about the “108” homosexual blacklists and their impact on the filmmaker’s family.


I remember seeing that film at a festival in Budapest and coming out of the theatre knowing that I had to make a film about my mother’s relationship with Lilia.


Can you tell me a little bit about how Clara came about, was this always a story you wanted to tell?


Well, I’ve always wanted to make a film about my mother, or my family in general, but I don’t think I really had clear what aspect of her life I was most drawn to. But, as I said, after seeing Cuchillo de Palo, I understood that our story with Lilia was something that had been buried in my family. Things happened around that time that simply were not able to be discussed, and all those buried feelings prevented us from healing. If I ever heard anything, it was everyone else’s version of events, but never heard the story from my mother’s perspective. Additionally I realized that it was not so much about “telling the true story”, but allowing my mother to express those feeling that had been pent up inside for so long.


Did you have any apprehensions about making such a personal and powerful documentary?


Yes, I was nervous, full of doubts, but I also knew that when you feel this apprehension, it is because there is something really powerful there. I was most worried about the reaction from my brothers and sisters, especially since this was a taboo topic. And I also realized that I didn’t want to have everyone’s various versions competing with each other. I knew the film should be an intimate conversation between mother and daughter. Throughout the process I had my ups and downs, but since I had the support of my amazing crew, very good friends who are almost like family, I was able to always see the light and keep moving forward with the project.


What was it about Clara, her life and experiences, that interested you so much as a filmmaker?


Clara is my mother. We are very close, but also the relationship is not always easy. I had been living abroad for a number of years and was trying to go back to visit her every year or so. Often those comings and goings do give you a certain perspective. Sometimes we have to go away to be able to come back to embrace and appreciate things we take for granted in our daily life. I felt that all these experiences helped guide me to finding the focus of the story.


What has been the most valuable lesson you have taken away from making this film?


Maybe the most valuable lesson is that once you start the journey of making a film, you have to open yourself to fully live the experience. You have to give yourself over to the process until you find the best version of the film.

Have you always had a passion for filmmaking?


When I was a teenager, I fell in love with cinema as a spectator attending the classic cinema-clubs of Bogotá.


How much has your approach to your films, stories and subjects changed since your debut film?


Parador Húngaro was a seminal learning experience. That’s where I learned about first person narrative and the importance of building a relationship with your character and to providing the space where characters can be themselves.

Do you have any advice or tips you would offer anyone wanting to make their own film?


It sounds cliché, but you just have to do it. Look around, share your ideas, depend on and also support your friends and family, who can be of great help. Watch lots of movies and write, write, write. Even though film is an audio-visual experience, the basis of everything is writing. We need to write to hash out our ideas and help ourselves understand them.


And finally, what message do you hope you audiences will take away from Clara?


Well, I believe art should speak for itself, the artist shouldn’t be following their work around explaining it to the audience. That’s the beauty of interpretation, everyone can take something from the experience, but it's not always the same impression.

However, if there is one thing I hope people take from the film it is:  “Live and let love!”

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