Bastards y Diablos was shot entirely on location in Colombia in over a dozen cities and their surrounding environments. Our crew of six had 35 days to make five flights, navigate unfamiliar cities, find local actors, and secure viable shooting locations. There were concerns about safety, the language barrier, and the likelihood of gaining access to remote regions of the country. It was an unconventional production in every sense, and required creative solutions at every turn. Much of the production’s success can be attributed to the support of family.

Surrounded by people we trusted, we had more than just translators at our sides: we had uncles setting up casting calls, cousins scouting locations, and grandmothers decorating sets and providing catering. In addition to becoming de facto crew members, much of the family were put in front of the camera as well. They had no acting experience, but their genuine desire to share their familial love and express their connection to the story gave their performances authenticity.

Through these family connections we were put in contact with Colombian television actors Sebastian Eslava and Juanita Arias, who were cast in pivotal roles. They had just wrapped a long arc as lovers on the telenovela Mama Tambien, and came to set with an already-developed chemistry.

Beyond the circle of family, we found Colombians at every location who proved to be natural actors. Padre Gabriel Mejia, a priest who runs a foundation for abandoned kids in many centers across Colombia, exemplified the natural, un-self-conscious ability to connect with others on screen that gives the life of this film its unique quality.

The natural beauty of Colombia emerged as a character itself, though some of the more stunning locations proved difficult to access. We chopped our way through banana trees with a machete, ran out of gas driving up the desolate coast of Guajira, and clung to our equipment when whitecap waves blasted our raft in the Pacific. Reaching these remote locales would have proved impossible for a larger production, yet our small crew - who had risked our lives for our film - were rewarded with unspoiled beauty.

We wrapped shooting from a rooftop overlooking the walled city of Cartagena. The click-clack of a horse drawn carriage echoed across cobblestone. In the distance the sound of a lone trumpet signified the passing of another hour; we knew that it marked the end of our time also. We reflected on the country that had given so much of herself, and her people full of pride and passion. It is to them that we owe this film.

LAFF15 SelectionLaurel
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