Thanks again to all who helped Cineastas de Granada to begin it's 2nd year
We've had a really busy time these past few months: The Introductory class
is ongoing. The students are producing 2 short films, which will be
completed in June. And remember the 2 students who were pregnant? They
did give birth and they will be rejoining the class soon, with their
children! The Intermediate class finished their film, The Condom Squad and
it was a huge success. We had an amazing screening at Casa de la Mujer in
Granada, a great turnout with lots of cheers and support. I will let you
know when the movie will be available on DVD.
Following this message is an article from the Nica Times, (an English
language paper based in Nicaragua), about the Condom Squad project. I
know I've already sent this to some of you, so do forgive me for the
Cineastas de Granada
ps. If you will be in the Bay Area next week, please come to see "Toxic
Energy Little Miss Potentiality Returns" at the Parkway in Oakland, Tuesday,
March 6th at 9:15 pm. I hope to see you there! TD
Condom Squad' Helps Local Girls
By Tim Rogers
Nica Times Staff | firstname.lastname@example.org
If you're a young girl who's being pressured into unprotected sex, have no
fear: The Condom Squad is just a phone call away.
Liberated, educated and hip, the squadron members are: Alex, the teenage
heartthrob; Marvin, the goofball, Gloria, the psychologist; Carlota, the
driver of the speedboat, and Gaby, who doesn't like to get his hair wet.
Together, they form The Condom Squad, the most venerable and eclectic group
of modern day problem-fixers since the A-Team.
The Condom Squad: The actors and director take
five for a cast photo.
Written, produced and directed
by a group of six teenage girls from Granada, The Condom Squad is the third
movie effort by Cineastas de Granada, the brainchild of former U.S. film and
video professor Thalia Drori. After six months of writing, rewriting and
casting, the young actors, two teenagers from Managua and the rest from
Granada, started filming last week on Granada's Las Isletas, in Lake
Drori, who taught film and video for nine years at the Minneapolis College
of Art and Design, says the first two movies the group made a short film on
domestic violence and another about a haunted rocking chair were well
received during screenings at smaller film festivals last year in Nicaragua,
London and the United States.
Her hopes for The Condom Squad are even higher.
One day I hope we are all at Sundance with our ski outfits, she said, only
The Condom Squad will be a short, 15-minute film with elements of action,
comedy and drama.
Set on the islets off the coast of Granada, the film depicts the struggle of
an orphaned 15-year-old girl, Betti (played by Managua actress Michelle
Navarrete), who is torn between her desire to study in school, her budding
romance with 18-year-old Diego Javier (played by Roberto Guilln), and her
obligation to work in her aunt's restaurant.
Tourism is down due to the elections, her aunt tells her, so she must work
extra hard in the restaurant. Betti wants to study, but is told she is
wasting her time with school.
Diego Javier, who first notices Betti while drinking a beer with his friend
in her aunt's restaurant, promises to be her salvation.
�With the resources and influence of my family, I can save you from all this
garbage,� he tells her.
But Diego Javier's interest in Betti is perhaps more carnal than altruistic,
and the two quickly find themselves in a romantic interlude that escalates
quickly, despite Betti's uncertainty.
Luckily, Betti's younger brother sees the two sneak off together and runs to
warn The Condom Squad, which arrives in time to tell Betti to consider the
consequences of her actions.
Director Samantha Chevez (white shirt) goes over
the script with Thalia Drori.Tim Rogers | Nica Times
The film, whose plot and
characters were created by the girls of Cineastas de Granada, shows the
world through a young girl's eyes: the pressure of sex, the difficulty of
remaining in school, the obligations and bond of family, the worry of
poverty and the influences of tourism (the bumbling red-faced father of a
Gringo family waves money in front a local man and says Nicaraguans will do
anything for money).
Drori insists that she didn't influence the storyline, despite being a
person whose personal concerns for the health and wellbeing of her girls
seem to be reflected in the movie's central message.
My role was mentor, she said. I make suggestions, like I do with any student
at art school.
Drori, who recently quit her job in Minnesota to dedicate herself fulltime
to the girls in Granada, said she feels a duty to give something to
Nicaragua after �how much damage the United States has done here.
When she first came to Granada several years ago, she said she found a
unique set of problems associated with the growing tourism industry and how
it was affecting local girls through sexual tourism and prostitution. She
decided she wanted to help.
Cineastas de Granada, she said, aims to give girls the opportunity to tell
their story and become a part of the world of media, as well as the chance
to learn technical skills, such as how to use a camera, how to use a
computer, how to write a script and how to produce.
The $6,000 volunteer project, whose costs are equipment, food and
transportation, is funded by a couple of small grants and Drori's personal
I actually baked 40 pies and sold them for $25 each to raise money,� she
But, she says, the project has been worth it. The girls have learned to work
toward longer-term goals without instant gratification, and many have become
more self-confident to the point of becoming bossy and opinionated, Drori
says with a laugh.
The star of the class is 18-year-old Samantha Chevez, an extremely
intelligent and self-reliant young woman who is directing the movie as if
she already had several Oscars sitting around the house.
This has been a great experience for me to grow as a person and have better
human relations, she said. I always liked watching television, but I never
thought I would be able to do this. Now I feel comfortable in this role and
I think I can do it.
Drori, too, thinks Chevez can do it. She hopes that her experience as
director of The Condom Squad will land Chevez, who used to work in the
Granada market, a paid position at Managua production company Puntos de
Better yet, Drori says, she hopes that Cineastas de Granada will someday
become its own fully functioning production company of Nicaraguan women. If
it gets to that, Chevez may be a shortlist favorite to someday run the whole
show herself a challenge she already seems up for.
For more info about screenings or how to help, visit: www.cinegranada.org.