"Lack of government support is an advantage for Peruvian film makers."

October 2007 -

Josué Méndez (Peru, 1976) introduced his internationally acclaimed Días de Santiago in 2004 with support from the Hubert Bals Fund. The footage for his second film, Dioses, is currently being edited.


Still from Dioses

"In the period after Días de Santiago, I was offered enormeous possibilities to develop myself artistically. I participated in the Résidence programme of the Cannes film festival, for example. I was also mentored by Stephen Frears for a year and a half. He taught me a tremendous amount about the creative process of film making.

The funding of my second film was entirely different thanks to the success of Días de Santiago.Back then, the film cost $ 120,000.00; now I have a budget of $ 600,000.00 for Dioses. Días de Santiago brought me international recognition. That helped me significantly in finding my way to international funds and subsidies. But these are still competitions in which you compete with large numbers of competitors. In the end, artistic quality is what counts.

Young film makers in our country need not expect much from the Peruvian government these days. The act passed in 1994 requiring the government to invest two million dollars each year in Peru's film industry has not been effectuated by a single president. In Peru, cinematography is the responsibility of the Ministry of Education. As a result, artistic filming will never be a priority. Moreover, cultural donations are not tax deductible in Peru. This makes it unappealing for large businesses and private individuals to invest in art and culture.

The paradox is the fact that the very lack of that cultural infrastructure and government support is what makes it appealing to make a film in Peru. If you can get the financial resources together, you are completely free to do what you want. Peru is an enormously informal society that is highly dynamic. Making films has always seemed urgent to me. I want to contribute to this process of formation and say something about the changing world around us."