Samir Oliveros

Samir Oliveros Interview

Our Closing Night film is a story that pushes sibling rivalry to another level when a brother and sister, from the Colombian Caribbean, accidentally kill a goat with their father’s truck. 

Bad Lucky Goat takes place in the lesser known island of Colombia called Old Providence, where Rastafarianism folklore resides and people speak creole, a mixture of various languages.

The director, Samir Oliveros, set out to film this project after graduating from film school in New York City. We spoke to Oliveros to talk about his processes in producing his film. From what started out as a bleak dream with declines from production companies turned to crowd-sourcing support from enthusiastic communities. With unpaved roads, unpredictable weather and a small production time frame, filming on an island brought about many challenges for Oliveros. However, the result is a hilarious, feel-good comedy.

Being diverse and not following the traditional conventions of Latin America, Oliveros reveals a point of view about the Colombian Caribbean that “…has been very untouched cinema wise”. He chose to showcase the Caribbean lifestyle faithfully through the landscape and people, introducing audiences to characters like a witch doctor, crafty shop owners, tribal singers and a laid back police officer with nothing but time.

Oliveros chose to film a comedy in the Caribbean because of the overexposure of tragedy in Latin American cinema that Oliveros sees. ”It’s always the same typical, traditional film about the lower class and how they suffer and how it’s super dramatic. I believe we have to break those preconceptions of Latin American cinema.” With Bad Lucky Goat, Oliveros has created a fresh view on what Latin American cinema can achieve.

Although this film sets folklore themes of Rastafarianism, Bad Lucky Goat was actually inspired by true events from friends of his film school. The mother of his friend, who lived in Jamaica, was once fatigued driving her children to school. “The mom, in the morning, fell asleep while driving and she hit a cow…  she had to wait for a long time with a dead animal and three crying kids and I thought it was a very powerful scene.”

Always inspired by stories and been given with this bizarre event, Oliveros implemented this into a script as his thesis for film school. From rejections and long-awaited grants from every production companies he met, Oliveros became impatient and create a Kickstarter to fund his film ”It was because I thought I could do it without having to go through all the lengthy trouble of doing it through production companies and national grants.” With over $60,000 funded by the Colombian and United States countries, this Kickstarter project has succeeded in achieving its goal.

Oliveros ran into various amounts of problems as he was filming at an undisclosed island not having the same procedures as traditional sets. “Every single day something crazy happened while shooting”. With one unpaved main road and old pickup trucks, transporting equipment became dangerously difficult. “So all the equipment would just move a lot… The camera guys would go insane because the lenses were jumping. It’s just not made for shooting.”

But asides from logistics, shooting became a problem sometimes as well. “The water was extremely difficult.. we only had like 15 minutes to shoot inside that bag because it would fog up, the lenses would just get foggy”. One story that almost ended in tragedy happened during the shoot. The string that was holding them (the actors) to the anchor popped, so they just went away really fast..we had to pay another guy that had a big boat with four motors to go and save them and bring them back. It was like an intense five minutes in which we thought we were gonna lose the kids”.

Overcoming the odds, Samir has created a well shot film has since been screened across the world including official selections at SXSW 2017 and Panama 2017 film festivals.

Oliveros plans on continuing to film at exotic locations.  “Location should be the biggest character in your film… I want exotic locations and I want to keep doing it so hopefully it would become one of my trademarks.”

Bad Lucky Goat will have its Australian premiere at the Sydney Latin American Film Festival, Monday 11th September at Dendy Opera Quays from 7:45pm kicking off with musical performance by Errol H Renaud!

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