VIP - VideoChannel Interview Project

Sanhueza, Mauricio

Mauricio Sanhueza
Peruvian videomaker


Interview: 10 questions

1. Tell me something about your life and the educational background

When I was in high school I wanted to be a painter but according to my parents it wasn’t a good choice for middle class young man like myself. So, they convinced me to study Business Administration. During my second year at the University of Lima I secretly changed to the Communications School because it was the closest thing to an Art School. I had gained an interest in films, but back in 1996 one had to receive a government film grant or raise funding in order to produce a short or feature film. At that time, since I was only a second year communications student with no experience as a filmmaker, the idea of receiving funding was a near impossibility.

2. When, how and why started you filming?

Later in 2000, I left the Communications School and began my career as a painter in a Fine Arts School. After the first year, the lead singer of a popular Peruvian punk rock band named “Futuro Incierto” asked me to direct a video clip for one of their songs. In the making of that video clip, we used a cardboard robot suit I had made for a final exam. The video made it on the Latin American MTV channel for several weeks in 2003, and thus marked the beginning of my passion for the audiovisual arts. For me, the video camera represented a cheap alternative to the use of film, which could be very expensive. The use of video allowed one to shoot freely without worrying so much about budgeting. It was a refreshing experience and I was hooked.

These days, I can’t imagine my career as an artist without the audiovisual arts. During my time as a painter, I always felt as if something was missing. I was not able to communicate what I wanted in a clear and concise way. On the contrary, the audiovisual arts allowed me to fully express the ideas that I had in my head.

3. What kinds of topics have your films?

The topics of my most recent group of audiovisual works are about the battle between Eros and Thanatos. The theme or lei motive of a trilogy named “claustrophobia” are based in the ancient Greek myths and tragedies.

On the other hand they are other video in particular with a political issues like “Do You Smell That?” who represent in a sarcastically way, the mechanisms of power and the double discourse of a country that is promoted as a tourist destination and finally is better known for drug trafficking, the violence and the death that this brings with it, not only within Peru but around the world.

4. How do you develop your films, do you follow certain principles, styles etc?

Artistically, I am very much a product of a globalized culture. My influences range from a number of European, Asian, North American, as well as South American artists. However, all the locations I have used in my videos are here in Lima. Therefore, one can argue that my projects contain Peruvian elements, specifically in the context of locations, backgrounds, personalities, and lighting, while still using universal themes and stories that have to do with what Jung called the “Collective unconscious”.

5. Tell me something about the technical equipment you use.

I usually work with a DSLR Full HD Cannon. But in the last 4 projects I use only stills frames to create through the stop motion the illusion of movement.

However now I started to take videos from internet and re editing it these clips to create something new, like the video I was talking about (Do You Smell That?)

6. These days digital technology is dominating also video as a medium. In which way the digital aspect is entering the creation of your videos, technologically and/or conceptually?

It is evident that today with the democratization of technology, the low cost of high-definition cameras, and free editing and post-production software, one is able to produce a high-quality work with little to almost no budget at all. These digital tools have allowed me to combine newer editing techniques with old-school film techniques such as stop motion in order to fully express myself more closely to whatever I had or have in mind.

7. How do you finance your films?

For now I produce my own work because of the internet, the capabilities of sharing videos and ideas online is limitless and nearly cost-free. As the result of decreasing costs and the increasing of high-quality technologies, I expect that the world of videoart will become more diverse as it becomes more accessible to the average artist from all corners of the world.

8. Do you work individually as a video artist/film maker or do you work in a team? if you have experience in both, what is the difference, what do you prefer?

I usually work in the script, directing, design production and the post production as well. It depends of the kind of project I have in mind. But until today is a three persons group involved in the making of an audio visual work. I think the differences between these two ways of working is that in the first place you have total control in a video made with digital animation, internet or other kind of free footage and in the group work you have to make concessions with others and this allows you to make a particular take in the closest way you had in mind.

9. Who or what has a lasting influence on your film/video making?

An untold number of artists have had a direct and indirect influence on my works. Some include painters such as Pieter Brueghel the Elder, Hieronymus Bosch, Rembrandt, Bacon, Magritte, Man Ray; and classic writers such as Cervantes, Dante Alighieri, Sade, Homer, Sophocles; and contemporary writers such as Pamuk, Foster Wallace, Roberto Bolaño, García Marquez; film directors such as Buñuel, David Lynch, Cocteau, Kubrick, and so on and so forth. All of the aforementioned artists use the narrative as principal means of expressing an idea, and this is what I find most appealing about them and their works.

10. What are your future plans or dreams as a film/video maker?

Right now I’m working on a short film script with a several characters, is a challenge to me because I only worked in the past, like I said, with two more people, including the leading actor. It’s going to be the second live action film I’m going to make in ten years. It’s exciting, I can’t wait for shooting.

Can works of yours viewed online besides on the CologneOFF platform? Where?