“The guerilla wins by not losing.” – Che
I’ve never been in the military but based on observation and on what people who have been in the military have told me, film production has to be the closest thing to a military operation than anything else in terms of logistics, operations and planning. A military that goes out to war is essentially a self-contained unit. It has to bring food, shelter, medical supplies and equipment to the battlefield in order to get the job done. Filmmaking isn’t very different. A crew moves out in the early morning hours onto location eats breakfast, unloads equipment, sets up, shoots, eats lunch, sets up more equipment, shoots some more, wraps up, loads the equipment back in the trucks and moves out only do it all over again the next day. On a shoot that has several locations the unload, set up, shoot, load and move process can happen two or even three times in a single day.
Major film productions are run like a military operation with several departments acting as platoons fueled with vast budgets and deep resources. When filmmakers talk about making a film they invariably use military metaphors and go into production war stories.
No-budget independent guerrilla film production is the complete opposite of major studio productions. MACHETERO’s production was the equivalent of a small rebel guerrilla army going up against the odds of almost certain failure fueled with of a vast belief in the impossible and a deep resourcefulness that kept us going. The struggles that were waged and the risks that were taken to get MACHETERO done, in a way, were indicative of the struggles that were being portrayed within the film itself. After all, an independent guerrilla film production like MACHETERO ran on the ether of faith that we would make it through with a clever and passionate resourcefulness. And guess what? It worked.
As artists we were prepared to sacrifice for our art. We were ready for the long grueling hours, the pangs of hunger, the cold New York nights, the hot Puerto Rican days, the exhaustion that settles into the body and the frustration that seeps into the mind. And when our art required more from us we took the risks… too many to count, and like characters in the film we wanted to be free . We wanted to be free to make some art, to make a film. We wanted to bring some beauty into the world by telling a story that few people have heard or seen and bring some understanding to what is misunderstood. The world is in such a place now that in order to do that we had to lie, cheat, and steal, most of the time we got away with it and the few times that we didn’t we had to deal with the arrests, the warrants, the court dates, and the summonses.
We live in a world that talks about freedom but in order for us to be free to make our art, to make our film we had to the run and hide, we had to be clever and clandestine. MACHETERO the film and the making of MACHETERO… like a small guerrilla army waging cultural war in the streets… block by block… corner by corner… second by second… frame by frame…
We may not have won anything by making MACHETERO but we certainly didn’t lose anything…
MACHETERO opens in New York City for a one week limited theatrical run.
WED. JUNE 12TH – TUES JUNE 19TH
CLEMENTE SOTO VELEZ
KABAYITO’S THEATER (2ND FLOOR)
107 SUFFOLK STREET
NY NY 10002
(BTWN RIVINGTON & DELANCEY)
SCREENING TIMES • 1PM • 3PM • 5PM • 7PM • 9PM
F Train to Delancey Street or J , M , or Z Trains to Essex Street.
Walk to Suffolk Street, make a left.