I never imagined how interesting it would be to discuss one of my film projects with an economist, or a biologist, or even with a lawyer, for a change.Mariana RondónDirector, Screenwriter, Producer, and Visual Artist
The ongoing economic and political Venezuelan crisis—its human scale, and its social and cultural implications—is always present in my work. That’s the overarching theme of Zafari: scarcity, migration, and the lengths Venezuelans are willing to go to survive. The film is a dark comedy—a dystopian depiction of the darkest period of the Venezuelan crisis, when food was largely unavailable and animals started to go missing from the zoo because people were eating them.
And to be able to have long conversations about universal issues with a member of the French Agricultural Academy—Henri Rouillé d’Orfeuil—was deeply enlightening. I spent long nights with Henri talking about the fables of La Fontaine, which adorn the walls of the dining room at the Bellagio. We found common threads between his profound knowledge of agriculture and development, and the focus on scarcity and exodus in my film.
Coming from an overly hectic and stressful period in my life—of constantly migrating, moving places and trying to escape the somber reality that’s taken over my country—this was a much-needed reset. It was fundamental for my project, which basically underwent a rebirth there, but also for myself as a human being.
The residency gave me a much-needed push and a renewed sense to write and make cinema. Ever since we came back from Bellagio, Safari hasn’t stopped growing. Several co-producers from different countries have now backed the project, and we are currently scouting locations in Peru and getting ready to shoot. One of those new backers for the film is from France, and so we now have a French version of the script. I’ll be sending it soon to my new friend Henri, who will finally be able to read it —I very much look forward to hearing his thoughts.
We’d like to thank Mariana for her continued contribution to the network. You can watch several of her movies on the arthouse streaming service Mubi.
Find out more about Mariana’s films and art projects on her website.
You can connect with Mariana’s Sudaca Films on Instagram.
About the Bellagio Center
Since 1959 The Rockefeller Foundation Bellagio Center has hosted thousands of artists, policymakers, scholars, authors, practitioners, and scientists from all over the world enabling them time and space to work, to learn from each other, and to turn ideas into actions that change the world. To learn more about the Bellagio Center’s Residency and Convening programs visit The Rockefeller Foundation’s website: https://www.rockefellerfoundation.org/bellagio-center/.
Welcome to the first edition of the Bellagio Bulletin, where you can find stories about what happened because of Bellagio, experience a bit of the magic, and understand the impact that the Center’s distinguished alumni are having in the world. In this first edition, you’ll find the origin story of a collaboration between a New […]More