Cinema - The height of video

In the 1980s, Paraguay saw the arrival of portable video, which meant an important innovation.  This began a rather busy phase of short films like those made by Hugo Gamarra (“Peregrinación a Caacupe”) (“Pilgrimage to Caacupe”) Ray Armele (“Liberada”) (“Liberated”), Bernardo Ismachoviez (Ya no hay islas”) (“There are Islands No More”), and Juan Carlos Maneglia (“La clase de órgano”) (“Organ Lessons”).

In 1990, Hugo Gamarra premiered his feature-length film, made on tape “El secreto de la señora” (“The Lady’s Secret”), based on a story by Dirma Pardo de Carugatti.

In 1993, the Paraguayan-Swedish-Chilean co-production “Miss Ameriguá” was produced, with participation by both Paraguayan and foreign actors.  In the making of “Miss Ameriguá”, the filmmakers working were those who had graduated from the International School of Cinema and Television in San Antonio de los Baños, Cuba.  This institution, in later years, received many young cultivators of audiovisual standards. 

In 1996, “El Toque del Oboe” (“The Touch of the Oboe”) began filming, a co-production between Paraguay and Brazil, directed by the Brazilian Claudio McDowell.  The cast was mostly made up of Paraguayan actors.

In those same years, Hugo Gamarra made his documentary feature film, “El portón de los sueños” (“The Door to Dreams”), about the life and work of Augusto Roa Bastos, which had been shown at important festivals and cultural gatherings in Latin America and Europe.

Among new moviemakers in the last few years, standouts include Juan Carlos Maneglia with works like “La clase de órgano”, “Artefacto de primera necesidad” and “Amor basura” (Love is Garbage).

Other filmmakers that made interesting contributions during this time are Tana Schémbori, coworker of Maneglia, marcelo Martinessi, Richard Careaga, Paz Encina, and the Aguirre brothers.

The beginning of the year 2000 saw the return of full-length films, using video as support.  With this form, several films were made:  “María Escobar” and “Réquiem por un soldado” (“Requiem for a Soldier”) by Galia Giménez, both from 2002 and “Miramenometokéi” by the plastic artist Enrique Collar, in 2003.  These movies had acclaimed exhibitions and distinctions abroad. 

The production of short films continues to develop in the last few years, with the participation in several film festivals and contests, like those of Fundación Génesis (Genesis Foundation), and Baviera Arte Joven (Young Art Bavaria), who gave recognition to new young and talented filmmakers.  In 2005, the script for the movie “Hamaca Paraguaya” (“Paraguayan Hammock”) received important international awards, which permitted its creator Paz Encina to be able to film in 35 millimeter, which she achieved between August and September of this year.

Audiovisual language has come to stay in Paraguay and a legion of new artists delves into this field, making interesting combinations of experiences and art.