“The struggle between what’s right or wrong and the battle within oneself after being stuck between a hard rock and a hard place; can be very eye opening. When you don’t know who you are and you’ve been searching. Sometimes things happen or are allowed to happen to awaken who you really are, sometimes to solidify whom you think you may be.” ~ Author and Poet Until…
Santiago, my name is Quanda R. Graves and I am a journalist with the California Crusader Newspaper in conjunction with Until TV and EIN. I want to thank you for allowing me to interview you. Let’s begin with my first question below:
1. I watched the screener and needless to say, it really evoked many emotions within; anger, sadness, disgust, compassion and it made me see vulnerability in a whole other light. I suppose that is what human trafficking is right? I understand that “The Fare” is based on a true story, but what inspired you to want to do this narrative?
|Santiago Paladine Page 3 Quanda R. Graves|
Years ago I witnessed a moment when a group of people, that had crossed the border, reunited with their families after many years of being apart. Something at that moment touched my heart deeply. It took me a long time to realize that what had actually moved me was the fear of thinking of the possibility of that family never getting to their destination. I decided then that I wanted to explore that. Through a very extensive research I found out that Ecuador has the highest rate of children that travel alone to the US. That got me curious but it wasn’t until I found the idea for the characters that I decided to write the script.
2. I love the words “Affecting Drama”. In keeping with that, do you consider your art your activism? Do you consider yourself to be an activist at all in regard to sharing a story like this?
I tell stories out of a personal need to let things out. Things that move me are the things that I feel I can see clearly and understand. I don’t consider myself an activist nor have a social or political agenda when I make movies, but I do feel a responsibility to tell things with honesty and truth. Most of the time, honesty is not a sweet thing. It can hurt people and be hard to accept, but still, is necessary to establish truth full relationships with others. I like to tell human stories and I like to think that characters that love and hate, laugh and cry and sometimes act in contradiction to their beliefs are human characters. This is the case for captor and captive in The Fare. If people are able to see a human side in these characters it might probably help us act more humanly towards them, which by definition, could be a way of activism.
3. The Fare shows what happened to a young girl and you boy in two very different ways hints my beginning quote. Though you’ve put the story in perspective for us, would you mind sharing exactly how you feel about “The Fare” from both points of views in regard to the two characters?
Both Characters share many aspects of each other, which in a way, is what gets them together through out the story. Both of them have lost everything in life and were forced to grow up alone and become adults prematurely. Cristina’s decision to travel alone and Javier’s decision to be part o a gang come from a need to survive and find something they can hold on to for the first time in their lives. The feature version of the fare will explore both points of view in full, but because of production limitations I had to make a decision in this short, so I chose Javier’s narrative point of view.
4. I understand that “The Fare” has officially been selected for more than fifteen (15) worldwide festivals and has won six (6) and counting. What are your thoughts on that? Was that ever your intention when you first started this film?
It was not our intention. In fact, when we found the direction for the story we knew we were stepping into something that was going to be challenging to shoot and to show to people. The developing process has tough because we had a lot of reactions in our circle of friends. Some people warned us that doing something of this nature could cause rejection by the audience because nobody wants to see people being trafficked and abused on screen. I completely disagree with that. I think cinema is meant to touch people and make you feel things regardless of what this feeling might be. I knew that I had to tell this story and I was lucky enough to have complete support from the team. When we screened the movie for the first time I was mentally preparing myself for the rejection. It was a big surprise when we found out it had obtained and excellent score. One month after the screening, we were awarded with the Hispanic Heritage Short Film Award in Washington DC. Everything after that has been a blessing.
5. Congratulations on all of your success. This has to feel great, people appreciating your work. But I also know, you’ve put in a lot of hard work. So what is Santiago’s favorite pass time?
Thank you. Years ago I decided to quit my job so I can start making films. In a way; every day is pass time for me. Right now, I spend most of the time writing and taking care of my 6 months old daughter, Isabel.
6. If Santiago weren’t doing film; what other profession would be doing _________________________.
Music is a very important part of my life so if I couldn’t make films for any reason, I’ll be making music.
7. You’ve tackled so much and I’m pretty sure you haven’t even begun to scratch the surface. Tell me, what’s next for Santiago Paladines?
I wrote the script for the feature version of The Fare almost at the same time we were editing the short. We are pushing hard to get that off the ground. I have other scripts that have been optioned and I really hope one of them happens soon. Until then, I’ve been traveling constantly to my home country Ecuador to direct some episodes for a local television show.
Well, Santiago I want to thank you for allowing me to interview you and I also want to thank you for bring “The Fare” to the light, may you always have the spirit to carry that torch. Congratulations again and on behalf of California Crusader Newspaper, Until TV, EIN and myself, Quanda R. Graves, we salute you and wish you continued success.
Thanks for the interview and your words of support. It means a lot to us.. I enjoyed answering every question and I’m looking forward to meet you personally in a near future.