Magazine article Screen International

A New Side of Colombia

Magazine article Screen International

A New Side of Colombia

Article excerpt

Cartagena world premiere Manos Sucias shows a different side to the Colombian drug trade.

There have been many films about the Colombian drug trade, but none are quite like Manos Sucias, which is having its world premiere this week in the Colombian Cinema Official Competition at the Cartagena Film Festival.

Manos Sucias is especially unusual because it is directed by an American of Polish and Japanese descent, Josef Kubota Wladyka, who became fascinated by the Colombian culture when he traveled extensively in the country. It's a case of a foreigner bringing a fresh set of eyes to the Afro-Colombian culture found on Colombia's Pacific Coast.

The story follows two ordinary fishermen who get caught up in the transport of cocaine.

Wladyka co-wrote the script with DoP Alan Blanco; both had attended NYU film school alongside one of the producers, Elena Greenlee. Spike Lee, who had been Wladyka's tutor at NYU, has become a mentor and now an executive producer on the film.

Greenlee and fellow producer Marcia Nunes (formerly of Goldcrest Films), both based in New York, were part of Film Independent's Producers Lab with the project. When they pitched it at the Film Independent Forum in 2012, they landed WME to represent domestic rights and find financing from Mary Regency Boies of Heart-Headed Productions, who wanted to work on films that give back to the communities where they are shot.

That goal was certainly accomplished, as the team used Kickstarter to raise $60,000 to use partially for a series of workshops teaching filmmaking skills to the people of Buenaventura, Colombia, where they would later shoot the film. …

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