Filming the Journey11 Jan, 2008 By: Billy Gil
At 25, Pablo Veliz can make you feel a tad lazy. “I started making films left and right,” said the young director about finishing his fourth movie and starting on a fifth. But for the moment, Veliz has coming to DVD Clemente, which streets Feb. 19 from Laguna Productions.
The $24.95 DVD is in Spanish with English subtitles. A clip of behind-the-scenes footage can be seen on YouTube.com. Prebook is Jan. 22.
Clemente's titular character is loosely based on a man who crosses over the U.S.-Mexico border in Texas to start a family and a new life. Years later, married with a daughter, the man is deported back to Mexico and tries to cross back once again to reunite with his family on the U.S. side.
The film shifts focus to Clemente's daughter, Dahlia, who pieces together what it means that her father is an illegal alien. Clemente, on the other hand, is seen trying to make it back to his family, in a brutal, real-time sequence of human response to conditions people face when trying to cross the border, such as extreme dehydration and hallucinations.
“When I see people get up and walk out for a minute because the scene is so disturbing, that's good to me,” Veliz said. “I grew up in the art world. One of the biggest lessons was that art is meant to disturb, to change, to move.”
Clemente furthers the trajectory set by La Tragedia de Macario, Veliz's acclaimed 2005 film based in part on a 2003 attempt to enter the United States from Mexico that ended in the deaths of 19 people.
“Clemente … is kind of like the second part, of what happens when someone does make it into the United States,” Veliz said.
Although grim, Veliz said his films seek to humanize things that occur every day. But in a growing field of immigration-related films, Veliz said his next film to explore immigration issues, which is still being written, will deal with a much-neglected subject: finding a solution.
“It will be completely ideal at this point and time,” Veliz said. “An ideal view of a possible solution that could occur. That's why we have movies, right? … To explore imagination and possibility that can design our world.”
Behind the scenes footage of Clemente