by the El Reportero’s news services
Journalist and moviemaker Miguel Parra opens one of the most painful wounds suffered by those in debt, the telephonic harassment they endure from businesses calling about unpaid bills, in his first fictional short film “Sin Respuesta” (No Answer), starring Natalia Mateo.
“I wrote the screenplay because a friend of mine, who hadn’t paid one of the last installments of a very small personal loan, began to get telephone calls from a woman who badgered him with such cruel remarks that I asked myself, what must life be like for people who get behind on much bigger mortgage or loan payments,” the 46-year-old Spanish filmmaker told Efe.
The journalist launched an investigation that he turned into a film story condensed into little more than 10 minutes, but in which every second is absolutely essential.
Shot in a claustrophobic cubicle where a telephonic bill collector goes after debtors, and with the face of actress Natalia Mateo the only video content, the short tells several stories about the people in arrears she is hounding, and whose only presence is their voices.
The film is all about “the perversion of the system,” Parra said. “The same telephonic bill collector will earn very little, but this is her job – these are the times we live in. I think we have to ask ourselves what on earth we’re doing, what kind of world are we leaving our children,” he said.
With the most expressive words and images, Parra manages to make the viewer feel the same anguish as is suffered by those receiving the dunning phone calls.
The short has been honored with awards at the ABC Ibero-American Short Film Festival (Fibabc) and the Aguilar de Campoo Short Film Festival, and has just been nominated for France’s Clermont-Ferrand International Short Film Festival, considered the world’s most prestigious in the category.
Latin films and actors making a difference
by Alejandra Arce-Salazar
Eugenio Derbez is without a doubt one of the most prominent Latino actors from Mexico working in the United States.
The 52 year old Mexican actor decided to pursue his career at the age of 7, when his mother, the actress Silvia Derbez, saw the Oscars as a dream come true.
Today, he could be nominated to this prestigious award.
His movie, “No se aceptan devoluciones” (Instructions Not Included), is one of the most successful foreign films in the country at the moment. “Instructions Not Included” has brought in more than $44 million in the United States, and $46 million internationally.
Partygoers can forsake their cars on New Year’s Eve and rely on the designated driving of SamTrans, which will be offering free service on the big night.
Starting at 8 p.m. and lasting until 5 a.m., SamTrans will allow passengers to ride free of charge on all bus lines. RediWheels, the San Mateo County Transit District’s paratransit service provider, also will offer free rides between 8 p.m. and midnight, when the service closes.
On the day of New Year’s Eve, SamTrans will operate on a regular, non-school day service. On New Year’s Day, SamTrans will operate on a Sunday schedule.
For more information about fares and schedules, call SamTrans Customer Service at 1-800-660-4287 (TTY 650-508-6448), or visit www.samtrans.com.