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How Shooting Super Wide with Super Harsh Light Created the Drought-Stricken World of ‘Utama’

Alejandro Loayza Grisi is one of the few filmmakers in the small-but-growing Bolivian film scene.

An accomplished photographer, Loayza Grisi was shooting a docuseries in the high country of the Bolivian Altiplano. There, he encountered an amazing couple living a traditional Quechua lifestyle—in the face of climate change and drought. Their faces told many stories. He knew they would be perfect in a film. The only problem? They didn’t want to be in it.

Living on location for several months leading up to production, for Loayza Grisi, all things found a way.

Loayza Grisi spoke with No Film School before the 2022 Sundance Film Festival premiere of Utama to talk about casting non-actors, shooting with DP Barbara Alvarez on the ALEXA Mini, and how to forget about beautiful sunsets when you really need high-altitude light.

No Film School: How did you decide to make this film, and how did you come up with your characters?

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Author: Oakley Anderson-Moore
This article comes from No Film School and can be read on the original site.

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