The feature film Alis was presented for the first time in Spain on Wednesday 26 October at the Teatro Cervantes. Present at the screening was Clare Weiskopf, co-director of the film, which competes in the Tiempo de Historia section of this 67th Seminci and is up for the Fundos Award.
Alis is set in a Colombian hostel for teenage girls, ten young women sit down, one after the other, and close their eyes. They are asked to think of Alis, an imaginary friend, and to bring her story to life in a creative dialogue with the filmmakers. Like the interviewees, Alis lived on the streets of Bogotá. This imaginary companion is the germ of a documentary story that gives way, in a reflexive and subtle way, to the protagonists’ own stories.
Weiskopf wanted to tell us about her experience of meeting the teenagers who take part in the film: “In 2016 we were invited to a workshop where there were girls between 12 and 18 years old in a boarding school, abandoned by their families because they couldn’t support them. My husband and I thought about how sad we felt about their situation and when we did the workshop we met these incredible women”. Along these lines, she expressed her concern at the beginning of the project to “make the film out of admiration and not out of victimisation”.
The director also reflected on the taboo that exists about this sector of the population, which has marked the way of filming it. “It is a population that we don’t want to see because it makes us feel guilty. Alis exists all over the world. Everything is filmed with a fixed camera because we wanted them to look at the audience for an hour and a half without escape.
The short film Party Poster was also screened in the presence of its director, Rishi Chandna, who defines it as “my way of talking about the culture of political groups and people trying to climb the ladder of political life in India, as I like to say. It talks about the aspirations of those people”.