Film Film & Television

Documentary Award Nomination for Our Song to War at 2018 Cannes Film Festival

Our Song To War director Juanita Onzaga. Photo credit Sergio Rodriguez Ortega

OUR SONG TO WAR by Juanita Onzaga is nominated for the L’ŒIL D’OR – Documentary Award at the 2018 Cannes Film Festival. The award recognizes documentaries selected for the festival and will be presented on Saturday, May 19thOUR SONG TO WAR will have its world premiere on May 17th at the Directors’ Fortnight section.

The hybrid documentary OUR SONG TO WAR is the second short film by Colombian-Belgian director Juanita Onzaga. Her first short THE JUNGLE KNOWS YOU BETTER THAN YOU DO won the Jury Prize for Best Short Film in the section Generation 14plus at the Berlin International Film Festival last year.

OUR SONG TO WAR was shot in the emblematic village of Bojaya, Colombia. Bojaya is an Afro-Colombian village which endured the worst massacre during the Colombian war. In these times of political turmoil in Colombia, the short film comes as a poem of reconciliation between the world of the living and the world of the dead – the lost souls and spirits that have flown over the Colombian landscapes for over more than 50 years of war. It is a howl at the transformation of the memories of war into something else, into magical realism stories and myths. A vision about a mystical dialogue between life and death, which can be a way to find balance after such a long war.

“I think it’s very important to be able to deal with death in a proper way; we have to be able to forgive and move on. People in Bojaya have lived through hell, yet now they live so peacefully and calmly. That’s really extraordinary. It’s that rebirth after the war that I wanted to capture,” said Onzaga.

Synopsis

Crocodile-men, a mystic river, some kids who like fishing and a war that is coming to an end, share the same Colombian land: Bojaya. In this place, villagers have strange beliefs and celebrate the “Novenario” death ritual. This might be the beginning of a very long story, where spirits and humans meet each other to learn what there is to life after the end of war.

About the director

Juanita Onzaga is a Colombian-Belgian film director and cinematographer. She studied cinema in Brussels, obtaining a Bachelor’s degree in Direction of Photography at IAD and a Master’s in Film Direction at LUCA School of Arts. She worked as a director and DOP for several short films, documentaries and video clips. In 2017, her short film THE JUNGLE KNOWS YOU BETTER THAN YOU DO won the Jury Prize for Best Short Film at the Berlin International Film Festival in the section Generation 14plus, the highly acclaimed VAF Wildcard and other prizes, while being selected worldwide in festivals as San Sebastián, São Paulo Reykjavík, Vilnius and Cartagena. Onzaga is currently developing her first feature film THE LANDSCAPES THAT YOU SEEK at the Torino Script Lab.

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