2,500 kilometers from the U.S border in a small town in Guatemala. Sandra, a young mother of two is faced with the decision between trying to fix her relationship with her abusive husband or run away to U.S in the hopes to find the American dream of a better life.
Interview with Writer/Director Daniela Arguello
Congratulations! Why did you make your film?
Thank you! I decided to make 2500km after having the idea in my head for many years. When I was 13 I moved to Florida from Guatemala City where I had the chance to meet a group of undocumented women who shared their story with me. I was impacted by their stories and amazed how even though all of them came here from different countries their stories were very similar. They were all running away from violence, especially domestic abuse. As a filmmaker I felt the responsibility to bring the story to life and to a bigger audience to give another perspective about the way illegal immigration is viewed in the United States and show people that there’s another side to the story and a huge group of women who needs their stories to be heard.
Imagine I’m a member of the audience. Why should I watch this film?
We are hoping that by people watching the film we will start a conversation not only about immigration but also about domestic violence affecting women in third world countries, and hopefully raise awareness to these stories and together come up with a solution to stop it from happening and give these women a safe space to talk.
How do personal and universal themes work in your film?
The film talks about many universal themes, The two big ones are immigration and domestic violence, but it also touches themes of motherhood, and inequality of women in Latin America.
How have the script and film evolved over the course of their development?
I like to call this the film that fell apart a thousand times before sunrise. Because we didn’t have a budget to make it the script kept constantly evolving to be able to adapt to what we had and creatively bring the story to life. Throughout the process many scenes were taken out, and added but the main storyline and message was untouched.
What type of feedback have you received so far?
The film keeps surprising me every day. The first time the film was showed to an audience was on May 2016 when we premiered in Guatemala City. We sold out our opening night, and the reaction of the audience was incredible. Many of them thanked us for telling such an important story, and doing in a way that did justice to the women in Guatemala and Latin America without the need of having extreme violence or overly sexual scenes which many films in Guatemala often do. After the Guatemala premiere the film took off, and we played at a film festival called Cine Vivo in Perth Australia, the Hollyshorts Film Festival, and next month at the Academy with Newfilmmakers Los Angeles. The film also premiered on HBO on May of 2017.
Has the feedback surprised or challenged your point of view?
Definitely surprised me. It was such a difficult film to make, and in the process of post-production for a very long time I was worried it was not going to work, but as soon as the film premiered it was clear that there’s something about it that people are able to resonate with. As a director you can never see your own film, you can only experience it through the reactions of the audience, and every screening it keeps surprising me.
What are you looking to achieve by having your film more visible on www.wearemovingstories.com?
We want the film to get as much exposure and coverage we can get to be able to reach a wider audience and keep spreading the awareness for people to get a chance to see this side of the story, and those who have negative views against immigrants to see the film and empathize with the story: hopefully we can change their minds.
Who do you need to come on board (producers, sales agents, buyers, distributors, film festival directors, journalists) to amplify this film’s message?
What type of impact and/or reception would you like this film to have?
Like I said in the previous question I would love to be able to start a conversation, and for people to be able to see a different side to immigration.
What’s a key question that will help spark a debate or begin a conversation about this film?
How is domestic violence in Latin America, and 3rd world countries impacting illegal immigration to the United States? How can we help these women who are running away from their homes due to violence and can’t afford the visa applications or get them denied?
Would you like to add anything else?
The film was a very small production in Guatemala where the filmmaking industry is practically non-existent. I was the director, writer, producer, camera operator, cinematographer, etc.. with the help of my parents and my sister who had never made a film before and they were able to help me bring this story to life. We had a diverse cast from Mexico, El Salvador, and Guatemala. And for the post-production of the film we worked with people from the United States, Portugal, and Belgium. We all came together from different countries and experiences to tell this story.
What other projects are the key creatives developing or working on now?
I’m currently developing the feature film of 2500Km following the main character story after the end of the short film, and I’m also getting ready to go into production for a short film and TV pilot in Guatemala and Los Angeles, CA.
Interview: August 2017
We Are Moving Stories embraces new voices in drama, documentary, animation, TV, web series and music video. If you have just made a film - we'd love to hear from you. Or if you know a filmmaker - can you recommend us? More info: Carmela
Length: 22 Minutes
Director: Daniela Arguello
Producer: Daniela Arguello \ Pedro Arguello
Writer: Daniela Arguello
About the writer, director and producer:
Key cast: Cinthia Vazquez, Carlos Aylagas, Victoria Morales, Melanie Erichsen
Looking for (producers, sales agents, buyers, distributors, film festival directors, journalists): We are looking for film festival directors, and journalist to write articles about our film to spread awareness.
Social media handles:
Facebook: @2500shortfilm (2500Km)
Made in association with: N/A ----- Production Company: Twenty-Four Productions
Where can I see it in the next month?
HBO, HBO Now, HBO Go & Cinemax. And also at the Newfilmmakers Los Angeles event on Sept. 16 at the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences.