What happens with love in a tropical city? Do we love the same in Guayaquil, the same way they do in Manhattan, Paris, or Rio de Janeiro? Most likely, the answer will be “yes”, but we wanted to discover it hand in hand with our students from the Audiovisual Communication and Performing Arts career at “Universidad Casa Grande”. Inspired by the films of “City of Love”, such as ‘Paris, je t’aime’; ‘New York, I love you’; etc., in 2016 it occurred to us to dream that Guayaquil was also city for love, and that each of its neighborhoods hid their own stories, deserving to be told.
In the first stage, the students taking the Dramatic Production course were divided into small groups, and each chose a specific neighborhood located in the city. The different possibilities of love (love for a career or profession, filial love, love within an age difference, etc.) were randomly assigned in the classroom.
Then, with a neighborhood and a type of love assigned, the groups carried out their preliminary research on the neighborhoods. They took pictures, recorded videos, and spoke to the residents of the area. They also explode how love had been portrayed in cinema, literature, and theater to use these as references at the moment of narrating their stories. Afterwards, under our guidance, the script-writing process began. The students filmed in various instances over the course of two months, until they had the edited shorts in their hands, and the most challenging stage began: assembling the projects to create the feature film. Several weeks of work were necessary to find the correct rhythm, respecting the energy of every short.
As faculty members, this project also meant receiving emails in the middle of the night, hours of revision and correcting the montage; handling the temperament and mood changes of everyone involved, product of the hard work. But we had to go on, remind ourselves and the students that the show had to go on despite any arguments. We accomplished it together.
And then, the premiere; a wonderful night for the students who witnessed, on the screen, with an audience, the result of many months of work. Faculty and high members of the university, friends and family were summoned in this small yet loving event that marked an important event in their student life. Without knowing it, the first edition of a project, that became important and awaited every year by the university, took form.
We have had stumbles, arguments, hugs, and congratulations in all editions, and even if it is only one project, each edition is a new bet to creativity, to love. Just like when we fall in love, and risk everything to make that spark work. Perhaps not everything is pretty in love, but just like this project, it is worth to try it one more time.
When you watch every one of the shorts that make up the different editions of “Guayaquil de mis amores”, think not only of the love woven in those neighborhoods, but the love to cinematography, in the enthusiasm of our students that have worked day and night to tell a new story.
May the love of words and imagery continue giving us more stories for Guayaquil.
Santiago and Diana