“We’re winners… We proved that as women we can make quality films”
Kat Waj or I Care For You in the Quiché language is the title of the short video selected on a national level to represent Guatemala in the category of short fiction in the Icaro 2016 International Film Festival. Kat Waj is a production of the Lemow Collective, one of FCAM’s partners.
We talked with Veronica Sacalxot, coordinator of the Lemow Collective, who told us about the experience of the group in the Festival.
“Our aim from the very beginning has been to make films with a gender focus. To show the situation of women in Guatemala, especially women from indigenous areas and that’s what we’re doing with our most recent production”, Veronica affirmed.
For the Collective it’s important to continue to highlight women and girls as protagonists in their own stories. “In Kat Waj we tell the story of Ixmucané, a twelve year old girl who, in spite of her young age has a fascination for life and for reading. She lives in a family that has scarce resources, but she does have the chance to go to school, even though her father refuses to let her. Ixmucané’s life changes unexpectedly when one of her parents makes a decision about their daughter’s life. This pushes the young girl to rebel against her family and take her life into her own hands. In her search for freedom she makes a life-changing decision”, the group coordinator tells us.
“We think that Kat Waj or I Care For You has had a big impact among young women who have seen it, especially those who feel like prisoners in their own homes. Many are Young women that are forced to marry or to do other activities in the home instead of studying”, Sacalxot says.
The Icaro Festival awards were held in Guatemala from the 22nd to the 29th of October 2016. Even though Kat Waj was not the final winning video in the category, for the Collective just having been selected made them winners. “We are winners just because of the fact that we made the short list selection. We proved that as women we can make quality films”.
For Lemow getting into that short list was not so easy. The production was costly than others and the Collective didn’t have much of a budget. But they knew how to risk it and juggle and the whole team was committed to do deliver the best work they could. “Teresa, the director of the video, made the effort to put the music into the short film. This meant more costs for us, but we thought that if we didn’t take the risk we wouldn’t have been able to show a work of quality and we wouldn’t have got into the festival to compete. This short film did have all the technical requirements they asked for”, Veronica commented.
The Lemow Collective received several invitations during and after the festival to show their film in other countries. “We were invited to go to Cuba to participate in a demonstration of film organised by the Guatemalan Embassy in Cuba. We won’t be able to go personally but the material will be there”, Sacalxot indicated.
The Collective takes with it a very enriching experience from participating in the Icaro 2016 Festival. They feel that this year has been one of their best. “It was great meeting new people, showing our work, talking with personalities from Central American film circles. People came up to us to congratulate us for being a group led by women and they commented that there should be more collectives like ours”, she concluded.
Get to know more about the Lemow Collective: http://bit.ly/2gmS09W