Hotel Paraiso (2019) is a coming-of-age story about family, first love and restoring self-esteem. When Guillermo, a pre-adolescent introvert, arrives with his family at the wonderful HOTEL PARAÍSO (Paradise Hotel) for summer vacations, he does not only have days full of activities and colorful entertainers, but he also runs into Andrea, a beautiful and curious girl from his school, he regularly fantasizes about. Unfortunately for him, Nahel, the popular and heartthrob boy, who often bullies his classmates, is also staying at the hotel and seeks to make Andrea fall in love with him. With the help of unexpected allies and family members, Guillermo confronts his insecurities and participates in different hotel activities to win the weekend’s real big prize: Andrea’s heart.
93 Mins | Spanish | Coming of Age, Comedy, | 2019 | Peru
In its persistent mission and zeal to promote good cinema, the Indian Film Institute brings you the experience of the Director of the film - Daniel Rehder
Why this subject matter for your film?
It’s a very autobiographical film, most of the details are fiction, but the feelings are those that I experienced in my preteen years. So I wanted to reach out to any kid that was feeling the same way and tell them that it’s okay to feel that way, that they can control those feelings and overcome them.
Where did you find this story for this film?
I was writing a similar film for film school, I was about a 15-year-old going on a family trip to a cruise ship in the Galapagos, but I knew it was going to be very difficult to make. So I decided to change it to a place I knew and had experienced something similar. When I made that decision, it was clear to me that I had to change the age of the protagonist to when I had those experiences in that hotel.
What were the challenges you faced in making the film?
The biggest challenge was the coordination. We shot in 24 days and only had each location in the hotel for a certain amount of time, so everything had to be very planned out and I had to improvise a lot during the way, but I think that always gets your creative juices flowing. Limitations are your friend.
Did you face any problems in releasing the film?
I think the biggest problem was the marketing campaign. Trying to get so many people in to watch the film was very tough and something I don’t know a lot about. There is so much relying on that opening weekend that it’s very difficult to be objective to try and make the best call.
What was your background before making your first film?
I studied film at NYU Tisch School of the Arts where I wrote and directed several short films and also helped out producing several others, but before that, I was going to study law. After studying film I went back home to Lima, Peru to start working on films and make my own. I knew I had a bigger chance doing it home than anywhere else.
How do you think filmmakers like you can overcome common challenges like finance and distribution?
Unfortunately, make the film you can and not the one you want. Once you make that decision, the creativity is focused on making the best possible film you can make. In my case, I really loved this story, so it was an easy decision, but I think that if I had to make my first film again and did not have that story I would approach it that way, for a first film. Just get it done, that is the only way to continue making films. Try to find allies that fit your story, locations, brands, institutions, whatever you can get. Distribution-wise, if you get a known actor it's easier, I would put my money there unless you have an amazing story and you execute perfectly, which is very tough. Send it to festivals, win some, take those laureates to a distribution company. Or release it online. It’s very difficult to make money out of your first film. The sooner you get that out of the way, the faster you can get to actually making films. I wish I would have known that earlier.
Any other interesting facts about this film that you may like to cover?
Filmmaking is finding beauty in the middle of chaos, embrace that chaos. They tell you to never work on a first film with kids, animals, water scenes and a ton of actors, I did all of them. There will always be complications, even in the most stripped-down scenes, if you care about something you will try to make it beautiful. I had fun, I suffered, I will always have mixed feelings about it, but as long as you are happy with your work and effort, you will never regret the experience.
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