Loving San Miguel through film
By Jesús Ibarra, photos by Jade Arroyo
“San Miguel I Love You” is a project whose goal is to bring San Miguel de Allende to the big screen and open a window into this unique city to the world. The film’s producer, Alejandro Arcos, said the film will consist of several stories linked by a common thread: all of the events took place in San Miguel. Arcos said the general public, residents of San Miguel, Mexican and foreign, or tourists who have visited San Miguel are invited to send in their stories, some of which will be selected for the film. The idea is similar to that of the Cities of Love series, which includes such films as New York, I Love You and Paris Je T’Aime, but according to Arcos, this is an independent project. Stories will be accepted until February 28 and can be sent to www.sanmigueliloveyou.com, by clicking on the link “Participa.”
Renowned Mexican actor Damián Alcázar, remembered for his performances in the films La Ley de Herodes and El infierno, and probably best known to the English-speaking audience as Lord Sopespian in the 2008 film The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian, is supporting and promoting the project. Alcazar gave an exclusive interview to Atención.
Jesus Ibarra: Damián, how did you get involved in the project?
Damián Alcázar: I was invited to promote the project. A video was made, and a rumor has been spread that I’m the producer, which I would love to be, but because of my schedule I could not. I was also invited to direct one of the stories. It’s an attractive offer and it is very probable that I will accept. My job really is to advise and assist the producer. I want to call on my friends who are directors, young or not so young, to participate in the project, because promotion and dissemination are never enough. We want to produce something with quality and talent.
JI: Would you act in any of the stories?
DA: If there is some story that appeals to me, it is possible.
JI: What kinds of stories are being solicited?
DA: First we had thought of just stories of love or hatred, but I suggested widening the theme, because other extraordinary stories might come to light. All we ask is that they recount an event that took place in San Miguel.
JI: Is the call for stories open to the public in general?
DA: Yes. Anyone can submit a story; it can even be written in English. Our goal is to tell the stories of San Miguel through a film that will be seen here and around the world. It will be an important window for San Miguel. Lots of foreign film crews that used come to shoot here have stopped doing it because of the conditions prevailing in the country. With this project, we can show the world that everything is quiet and filmmakers can come here to do their work and create jobs for people.
JI: You spend a lot of time in San Miguel. How did you get involved for the first time in the city? Would you like to live here permanently in the future?
DA: It was in 2003 when I came to shoot the film And Starring Pancho Villa As Himself, directed by Bruce Beresford and starring Antonio Banderas. The shooting lasted several months and after all that time of walking through these wonderful streets, I decided that this was a good place for me. I have my CDs and my DVDs in San Miguel, but I basically come here to change clothes and leave again. Unfortunately I cannot spend as much time here as I would like because of my work, but in the future I would like to live here permanently.
Alejandro Arcos said that once they have received the stories they will make the selection and then write the script for San Miguel I love You. “If everything goes well, we intend to start filming in May and release the film in 2014,” he said. He also commented that the first financial support came from the local government, but more support is required, so they will seek backing from other entities such as the IMCINE (Mexican Institute of Cinematography) and from the private sector. “Those who are interested in sponsoring the project will be appointed as producers and can even be partners,” Arcos added. He can be contacted through the website www.sanmigueliloveyou.com.