Amancay Tapia is a young Spanish director whose first feature film Battlefield was commercially released in Bolivia from January to March 2011 and in Spain in March 2012. It was also shown in London at Occupy LSX, The Bolivar Hall and Passing Clouds as well as at several UK Universities, such as Bath University and Goldsmiths College. The film won the Best Foreign Film Award at the Portobello Film Festival in London. I was delighted when Amancay agreed to meet me and have a chat about her work as a filmmaker and actress.
Maggie: For those who don’t know you, can you tell me what you do?
Amancay: I am a filmmaker, I write and direct films. Sometimes I act in my own movies.
Maggie: Which one is harder for you: to be an actress, writer or director?
Amancay: I think being a writer is the hardest. It is all about looking for a good storyline and than transfer it onto paper.
Maggie: So how long does it take you to write a story?
Amancay: It takes a long time. Once I get a story, it takes me two months to write it but then to rewrite it is a different matter: it may take me even a year to finish.
Maggie: You made a few short films such as The Invisible Woman, The Invisible Man and Harbour Island (The Bahamas): The Girl on Holiday. You also directed your first feature film ‘Battlefield’. You used a shoe-string budget of around €7000. How did you manage to do that ?
Amancay: ‘Battlefield’ was my first feature film. I made it in Bolivia in 2008 and it was first released there in January 2011. It took me a few years before I could screen it anywhere else. It’s a fully independent film and with our €7000 budget we did everything: it was pretty impressive. I also left London for four months just to make the film in Bolivia. Battlefield is about 5 women trying to kill their time in a beauty salon while on the street of La Paz, Bolivia, the troubles caused by the coca war break out; the women have different attitudes, characters and simply don’t get along with each other.
(Tapia arrived in La Paz in late 2008 looking for actors, crew and locations. She had three months to shoot the movie and little time to waste)
Maggie: So your film was released in Bolivia, Spain, Colombia and the UK. Battlefield was the winner of the Best Foreign Film at the Portobello Film Festival in London. How did you feel about the award?
Amancay: I was very happy; the whole journey was a battle to me so winning the award felt good. The Portobello Film Festival is a great place for Indie films to be screened.
Maggie: Do you think that there is a future for independent films?
Amancay: Yes I do, there is always a market for innovative stories.
Maggie: What’s next for you?
Amancay: I am working on a short film called ‘Thou shalt not covet’ which is inspired by my previous short film ‘The Invisible Woman’. I am also writing another feature film: it’s a contemporary one. At the same time I am working on another project, the story is set between London and Bolivia. So as you can see I keep myself busy.
Amancay is one of those directors who are passionate about their work. It was a great pleasure chatting to her. I do hope to see her new project on a big screen soon.
Interviewed and written by Maggie Gogler