How a Movement in Chile Is Transforming Film Worldwide

Wired, By Sam Fragoso, June 12

Chances are you haven’t heard much about The Stranger—it’s been hard to pick up any frequency other than “Jurassic” this week—but director Guillermo Amoedo’s unnerving sophomore feature is worth your attention. On the surface, it’s an atmospheric genre movie about a bearded nomad out to kill his lost wife, who shares his thirst for human blood. But that’s just the story. Deeper down, in its marrow, it is the embodiment of filmmaking in Chilewood—a movement of indefatigable artists who are poised to change how movies are made in 2015.

The term “Chilewood” refers to an emerging camp in its eponymous country where genre films are being made by a myriad of talents and attracting high-profile names like Eli Roth and Keanu Reeves. And the etymology of the catchy name originates with its creator Nicolás López, who dropped out of high school at 15 to produce a show for MTV Latin America and never looked back. “When I was 10 years old I used to direct short films with my friends and we called that Chilewood,” says López. “Now I’m 32 and I’m still playing with my friends, but this time, the movies are longer.”

It’s true: At 32, López has written and directed seven feature length movies, attracting like-minded artists from around the world to come and work in Chile. The Stranger, hitting theaters and VOD today, is just the latest offering to come out of the movement López started as a kid. Here’s everything you need to know about Chile’s most fascinating new moviemakers.

Every burgeoning movement, filmic or otherwise, needs a raison d’etre. For Chilewood, that purpose is simple: “We want to make genre movies that we want to see for the entire world,” says Eli Roth, an instrumental player in the movement’s growth. Since joining the Chilewood camp in 2012 with Aftershock, Roth and co. have been largely successful in crafting those genre pictures for the masses. They’ve done so by constructing, from the ground up, their own methodology. “We can take bits and pieces of the best from all the different systems,” says Roth, “and really shoot however we want.” For Roth, this means moving away from the studio system, where he believes “things get overdeveloped to death and are very star-dependent.” In Chile, they prefer to “go on instinct and not second guess ourselves,” says Roth. “We take chances and cast new faces.”

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