A short, poetic documentary: Enjoy Your Meal follows links in the food chain to show how Western eating habits impinge upon the lives of people on Colombia’s remote Pacific coast.
Indie Movies Online's questions for directors
1. Name: Fernando Arias
2. Your film: Enjoy Your Meal
3. Please describe your film in seven words:
Food, the food chain and environmental impacts.
4. Who or what is the biggest influence on your work?
My everyday life. Colombia and its problems are a big influence too.
5. What is your earliest movie memory?
MOVIE? A street boy stealing a pear from a market stall.
6. Who would you most like to work with?
People with integrity, especially those living on the world's remote places.
7. Favourite film of all time: Mother and Son (by Alexander Sokurov)
8. Favorite film of the last twelve months: Exhibit A
9. What do you want to achieve with your movies:
To learn more about the human condition by exploring its borders.
10. Where did Enjoy Your Meal begin for you?
There was no 'beginning' as such as everything in life is connected, so the ideas that influenced it were there before I picked up a video camera. In 2007 I went to live in Choco, a wild and remote part of Colombia's Pacific coast, to plant food and eat fish from the sea in front of my wooden cabin. I took the video camera in order to record the lives of the people around me. Enjoy Your Meal came about when I began recording the connections between the people living in the rainforest, the African-Colombians on the coast and the fishermen trawling seafood to send to Europe.
11. What was the high point of the experience for you?
I never planned to make a film that joined these different groups and activities. I recorded the events during those months of cutting trees, planting food, making a canoe and following the fishermen. But the more time I spent talking to local people, the more I realised the links between each action - and how they related to living sustainably from the land and sea. Most importantly I had a more global perspective on food production and consumption than my neighbours. Locally, I could see the changes taking place to fishing patterns as a result of trawlers ploughing the ocean beds each day. I also realised how people in wealthy countries expect to be able to eat whatever they want, whenever they want. This could not be further from the approach to living and eating shared by my neighbours in Choco.
12. What single thing would improve the film industry?
More financial support for independent movie makers.
13. What’s the most exciting development in contemporary cinema?
HD consumer camcorders and the Web.
14. Complete this sentence: My next movie is going to be:
The Blind Cardinal: representing the dangers of Catholicism, power and politicss.
15. Could you tell us about yourself?
I have lived and work between Colombia and England for the last 20 years. Through video, photography, installation and live events, amongst other techniques, I deal with the human condition; from physical and mental states to cultural and social conditioning. Issues of sex, religion, drug politics and identity are themes present in my work.
I aim to create art that confronts both the individuals involved and the broader society in focus through presenting the work. The outputs are often confrontational, creating a consciousness in the participants, and a better understanding of the issues they face within the wider society when presented.
Since I won the Colombian National Art prize in 1994 my work has been exhibited internationally. In 1999 I represented Colombia at the Venice Biennale.Other Bienials include: III Bienal de Bogotá, la V y VIII Bienal de La Habana, la II Bienal de Mercosur y la I Bienal de Tirana.
Solo exhibitions and presentations include: Mapa Teatro, Bogota; Eduardo H Fernandes Gallery, Sao Paulo; Videografía Fundación Telefónica Lima; Communion Time Doque Gallery Barcelona; Contemporary Art Gallery Vancouver; Gate Foundation, Amsterdam; Chapter Arts Cardiff; London Printworks Trust and Gallery of Modern Art Glasgow.