Its fair to say that, as a Latin American filmmaker, I very much cherish the world of pirated movies in poor Spanish speaking neighbourhoods. An instant access to a world of cinema and television that would have never reached the DVD players of these folks is an art form that deserves its own merit. If it wasn't for these hard working vendors who hustle like no other, how could these people have access to this world of independent and foreign cinema? The truth is that they wouldn't. The day will come when I am randomly walking around in a market within the ruins of a Latin America city like La Paz, Quito or Buenos Aires and randomly spot a copy of one of my films and at that moment I'll know - I've made it.
Known amongst various international filmmaker circles, Lima has one of the most respected kiosks in Latin America of pirated independent and foreign cinema, located en el barrio de Polvos Azules. Cesar and his store/stand "Mundo Trasho" (Local 18 / Stand 17) has been providing pirated DVDs of the highest caliber to the citizens of Lima for years. During my six days in Lima I visited Cesar not once but twice for an afternoon of searching and flipping through hundreds of foreign and independent titles. Lets not forget that the trek from where I was staying to the beautifully textured neighbourhood of Polvos Azules can take up to forty five minutes in taxi, depending on the traffic.
It was as impressive as I've heard people speak about it. The titles he had in stock were shocking. One that stands out is, having had its Canadian theatrical release two months agao, an original DVD of Guy Madden's new film "Keyhole." Also a fully pimped out DVD box with menus of both Denis Cote's "Bestiaire" and "Curling," not to mention six titles of films that were actually playing the film festival where I was presenting El Huaso. Three of six titles were autographed by the actors and directors that have made the pilgrimage throughout the eleven days of the festival to Polvos Azules. How does he get all of these titles? His dead pan face reaction when I ask the question is enough to say that the provider's identity is a secret that will die with him. When I first heard about Cesar and "Muncho Trasho", I was at an outdoor screening in Montreal through Los últimos Cristeros director Matias Meyes. One of the things he mentioned that was really common were filmmakers going there with their films and making a five for one trade for other titles. Now because one of my feature distributors may read this, I'm not going to mention how in the world that at during my second visit to this wonderful mecca that I found a copy of El Huaso with a picture of the film's poster, standing tall in the festival section. What I can say is that my heart fills with warmth with the idea of some kid walking up to the stand and asking Cesar "¿Tienes El Huaso?"