REFUGIO, 9min., Bolivia, Documentary
Directed by Rebecca Basaure
Sergio, a 27 year old environmental engineer, veterinary student and environmental activist in Bolivia makes it his life's mission to save animals and the vulnerable ecosystems we depend on. His journey takes us to Senda Verde, an animal refuge in the jungle with over 900 wild animals rescued from the illegal wildlife trade. Sergio and Senda Verde work to inspire us to take action and create a world that is kinder and more responsible with nature.
Get to know the filmmaker:
1. What motivated you to make this film?
As a filmmaker, I am very passionate and motivated to use film to teach, learn and inspire people about conservation. The stakes are so high and giving people who deserve a platform to speak up about environmental degradation and climate change, is not only important but necessary.
In 2019, fires were raging in Bolivia, largely as a result of intentional burning to convert forests to farmland. As our forests continue to burn and our governments continue to put profit over life, it is hard not to feel powerless and betrayed. We want to call them out and make them accountable for not only allowing but fueling these environmental disasters. And we should. But we often overlook those who tirelessly fight to protect our ecosystems, those who save and protect wildlife, and who dedicate their lives to conservation. This film was made to celebrate those people.
2. From the idea to the finished product, how long did it take for you to make this film?
This film took a year to complete. This includes travel, pre-production, production (shoot days), editing and color grading.
3. How would you describe your film in two words!?
4. What was the biggest obstacle you faced in completing this film?
Sitting still for many, many hours to edit the film
5. What were your initial reactions when watching the audience talking about your film in the feedback video?
While Refugio has been successful in the festival circuit and has entered festivals around the globe, it has been hard to feel like a participant with so many festivals going online since the pandemic. Even when people would log in to watch films, it was hard to share the experience like you would in a theater and watch or hear people's reaction to the film. Watching the audience talking about Refugio was very touching and inspiring. It was the first time I had the chance to hear what the audience had to say and I was grateful for the feedback and for such thoughtful and eloquent reviews. It makes all the hard work worth the while.
6. When did you realize that you wanted to make films?
I knew I wanted to make films when I realized that having so many interests was a strength rather than a weakness. I could combine all my favorite hobbies and passions into one career. Filmmaking brings so many people and elements together. It is very hard for me to sit still, so I knew since I was a kid that I didn't want an office job or a sedentary lifestyle. I want to travel, explore nature, meet different people and learn a variety of skills. I want every day to be different and I want to create work that is meaningful.
7. What film have you seen the most in your life?
Aliens and The Abyss by James Cameron.
8. What other elements of the festival experience can we and other festivals implement to satisfy you and help you further your filmmaking career?
Opportunities to fund future projects and connect with people and other filmmakers that may be interested in supporting our work.
9. You submitted to the festival via FilmFreeway. How has your experiences been working on the festival platform site?
Overall it's been a positive experience and it allows easy access to festivals around the world as well as the opportunity to participate and streamline all your information in one place.
10. What is your favorite meal?
Anything my dad cooks.
11. What is next for you? A new film?
I've had incredible opportunities to work along side explorers, scientists and filmmakers who focus on social justice and environmental justice. I am lucky to be involved in the development of a couple documentary series and hope to get them off the ground in the next year.