Fidel, Brave Child
Argentina Festival de Cine Nacional Leonardo Favio Bolivar Special Mention
Fidel is a child who migrates from Paraguay to the bowels of the jungle of Misionera, Argentina. In the mountain is horse the workers call "El Che" for his noble spirit; just like the Revolutionary Che Guevara. The boy will ride his dream horse wearing Maradona's number 10 jersey as his amulet. His goal will be to earn money to help his mother living in poverty.
Fidel is a child who lives in the bowels of Monte de Puerto Libertad, Misiones. At the age of twelve he works in the field and competes in races with Che, his horse. With these races he seeks to triumphs in order to earn money and help his mother who lives deep in the heart of Paraguay. But Che will have a near-fatal accident and the child will try to heal him with his limited resources. Fidel must wait for his partner or race with another horse. While he awaits his friend's fate, he will ride Lunita de Libertad, always wearing his lucky Maradona jersey, awakening even more hope in the peasants who follow him. With an epic humanity, the small but great jockey will make his way into the improvised turf court built on the land claimed by Alto Paraná S.A.Multinational, a company that owns 10% of the Missionary territory and that is in conflict with the peasants residing there. Riding on his dream horse, the borders will be blurred with his Sapucai roar, a cry from the noble roots of his Guarani blood, shouts that mimic "freedom’s call, which expands the asphyxiated lungs of those who wish to be, ask for rhythm, beg for justice for what they feel to be excessive."
For more than 10 years I have been working in the Province of Misiones, Argentina with indigenous people and farmworkers fighting for their land against Multinational Companies. Thus a very strong bond of friendship with them was forged. I must say that the story of this child surprised me after the first call made to me by the farmworkers. It's a unique story, and “You should film it,” said Dario Araujo, referring to the farmworkers. They told me that there was a boy named Fidel, who was racing on a horse named "El Che", like Che Guevara. The horse had been named by the community in homage to the revolutionary historical character. As if that wasn't enough, this kid was running around in Maradona's number 10 shirt because according to him, it brought him luck. They quickly became the horse and jockey representing the village. Undoubtedly, all this was magical, but I can say that what touched me was that Fidel traveled to another country in shoes that were falling apart and crossed a river to try to win races and help his mother escape poverty. Without question, for me this story that had to be told was "magical realism" - reality surpassed fiction once again. This is what encouraged me to tell this story. The finances were frustrating as there was no immediate budget, and if I was looking for funds with film contests, the bureaucracy would have ended the child's story immediately. The story of Fidel, Brave Child would be lost and i could not afford to let that happen. I'd like to say it was definitely an urgent film for me. I had to figure out how to use what I had on hand and the economic problems became a narrative opportunity.
A movie can be austere and beautiful, so I headed to that place in a thought-out way. How can I film to contemplate the scene, without being invasive? I lived in the mountains for 5 months without filming - eating what they ate, sleeping where they slept, learning to work the earth, always understanding that I came from somewhere else. But I needed to understand their pain, their joys, their struggles. The goal then was to build a bond and from the bond love, from love to trust, until achieving what you see on the screen. Indebted and almost budgetless, with my house pawned by the bank, I could barely sustain this, and I was emotionally distressed. It was Fidel who supported me with his encouragement and example. The sixth month, he came to a team, which we filmed for 15 days. The results are on the screen. I directed the film with a premise "A scene rather than an aesthetic fact is an ethical fact." Today, Fidel and I have a friendship that still endures and the certainty that among all of us we made a film that possesses what every film should have: humanity. I dream that the story of Fidel, Brave Child will boldly travel the world for him and for the anonymous children who show us the way forward, regardless of their cultural origin.
Diego Maradona with Fidel, Brave Child DVD
Diego Maradona, the best soccer player of all times and one of the most famous men in the world with our film. Fidel runs with his shirt. It's very difficult to get to him, but we did it and he was very excited.
The film Fidel Niño Valiente is a poetic documentary, and to achieve this goal, Verón lived in the mountain for five months without any film recording equipment, building trust with the protagonists and their natural environment. This was a tool to be a participant in the observation and was treated with delicacy, to define those natural scenarios that later in the story were highlighted as characters of the story. It worked, through Carmen Guaraní's concept of "Shared Anthropology", where the characters reveal their feelings. The subjects negotiated with the director about what could and could not be filmed in their lives, with mutual respect for each other. As for the lighting adopted in the film, it was decided to work with natural light, which took time to contemplate and to find the ideal position of the sun, in order to give a pictorial composition to the film. Only in the night scenes was it recorded under the light of the candles that the protagonists used daily when the sun set. The film is shot with handheld camera, in order to not invade their space with an excess of film equipment. We sought to respect their daily lives and keep a respectful distance, trying to achieve an intimate, sensitive and profound documentary. Sound is relevant in the film as it builds the environment of the child's daily life and the nature that surrounds it. To conclude, it is worth mentioning that Fidel's voiceover is used, as he will be the one who immerses us in the story.