Video Interview with director Yulene Olaizola and cinematographer Sofía Oggioni on “Tragic Jungle”

Shot with ALEXA Mini and supported by ARRI, “Tragic Jungle” premiered at the 77th Venice International Film Festival. In a video interview director Yulene Olaizola and cinematographer Sofía Oggioni talk about the challenges when filming on the border between Mexico and Belize.

Sep. 15, 2020

“Tragic Jungle” (“Selva Trágica”) is set in the early 1920s on the Mexican/Belize border where one of the most powerful forestry industries emerged: the rubber tree exploitation. Everything changes when a group of Mexican rubber tree farmers cross paths with Agnes, a mysterious Belizean woman. 

Director Yulene Olaizola and cinematographer Sofía Oggioni explore boundaries between fiction and reality. For their challenging journey through the Central American jungle, the ARRI ALEXA Mini was chosen as the crew’s reliable companion.

Produced by Malacosa Cine & Varios Lobos and coproduced by Manny Films, Contravia Films, Zoología Fantástica, and Barraca Producciones, the film was selected by ARRI’s International Support Program. Camera and lighting equipment was serviced by CTT EXP & Rentals, Mexico City.

Yulene Olaizola, born in Mexico City, drew attention with her first film, the documentary “Shakespeare & Victor Hugo’s Intimacies” which received more than 30 awards. Three feature films followed and premiered successfully at international film festivals: “Artificial Paradise” (2010), “Fogo” (2012), “Epitaph” (2015). Olaizola’s films are strongly inspired by specific places. Her fascination for the southern jungle of Quintana Roo, the peculiar cultural mix of the population, and the Mayan myths and legends served as inspiration for “Tragic Jungle.”

The camera acts as the eyes of another character. The camera breathes and is always paying attention to what is happening around it; looking for motivation to pan or move around in the sounds or movement of the other characters. A human point of view.

Sofía Oggioni 

Sofía Oggioni is one of the first female cinematographers in Colombia, shooting both documentaries and narrative features. She has worked with directors such as Beatriz Seigner (“Los silencios” 2018), Oscar Ruiz Navia (“Los Hongos” 2013, “El vuelco del cangrejo” 2009), Ruben Mendoza (“Wandering Girl” 2017) or William Vega (“La Sirga” 2011). Familiar with urban landscapes and rugged natural surroundings, she has developed a sensibility for interpreting and complementing the natural light and colors of the wilderness. “Tragic Jungle” is Oggioni’s first creative collaboration with Yulene Olaizola.

In our interview, Olaizola and Oggioni speak about the challenges they faced filming “Tragic Jungle” on location. They also elaborate on their vision and inspiration for the film as well as their choice of equipment. 

Watch the video interview with Yulene Olaizola and Sofía Oggioni

Interview credits:
Editing: Karime Torres & Luis Rábago
Interview: Mandy Rahn
Footage courtesy of Malacosa Cine & Varios Lobos 

“Tragic Jungle” premiered at the 77th Venice International Film Festival and will feature later at the San Sebastian and New York film festivals.