Colombia’s branch of the Academy of Arts and Cinematography has chosen the movie ‘Mateo’ to represent the country at the 2015 Oscar Awards.
“Mateo” was directed by Maria Gamboa and premiered earlier this year in March at film festivals and in August in mainstream theaters.
Gamboa’s movie was chosen from three movies. The other two finalists were ‘Los Hongos” by Oscar Ruiz and ‘Tierra en la Lengua” by Ruben Mendoza.
The movie narrates the life of a young 16 year old who extorts money from local businesses in the city of Barrancabermeja for his narco-trafficking uncle. The money Mateo earns for his criminal activities is shared with his poor and struggling mother.
Mateo’s job gets more complicated when, to prove himself to his uncle, he accepts a mission to infiltrate a theater group and expose the political agenda of group’s members. However, Mateo’s decision to infiltrate did not take into account the extraordinary pull of art from a world of conflict.
The movie is product of a long investigative project that Gamboa started in 2007 on alternative to violence projects in the Colombian region of Magdalenia Medio. Barrancabermeja is a city in Magdalenia Medio and Mateo is also a local actor from the region.
The movie can almost be described as anthropological with all the work that was done to investigate the situation of at-risk youth and young victims of Colombia’s armed conflict.
According to Gamboa, the movie shows little violence and is focused more on the power of art in providing peace and hope to the country’s youth.
“Mateo is based on stories that I heard and that I witnessed during my time in the region,” said Gamboa.
Gamboa produced a short film called ’20 mil’ which won in 2004 the Fund for Cinematic Development, of which helped fund the production of Mateo.
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