“As a film-maker, I am an activist” Julia Vargas

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By Aditi Desai

“Making films on social issues is my way of giving back to society, from which I drew a lot as a creative person,” says Julia Vargas. Her ‘Sealed Cargo’ (2015) is part of the International Competition segment and makes its world premiere at IFFI 2015. The movie is based on true events, and deals with the fight of villagers to stop the trafficking of toxic waste on their land. “It is the story of ordinary people forced into a situation over which they have very little control” the Bolivian director told The Peacock.

Vargas started her career as a photographer. She was actively part of a 1980’s movement where audio-visuals became increasingly important in education. Later, in Argentina, she first thought of joining the film industry, “I wanted to be a Director of Photography (DOP), however it was difficult for a woman to get an entry into the field. So I decided to make a small film for practice. This ended up being thirty minutes long, and went on to win awards. ”

“I think fiction is a very powerful medium,” says Vargas, “the complexities of real-life issues can be well portrayed through fiction. As a filmmaker I am an activist. My movie deals with a pertinent global problem. We are becoming a garbage country. I hope I have played my part as an activist by making this movie.”

Art can play a crucial role for countries (like India) undergoing rapid change, says Vargas “in Bolivia right now, we have, for the first time, a President from the indigenous population. We worked for this change. I was part of this struggle. We succeeded and there have been several favourable social developments now. However the recent announcement of a nuclear complex [a $300 million project near the capital of La Paz] is a little difficult to understand. Ecology and development, as depicted in my movie, are complex issues. They involve powerful networks that are difficult to deal with, for any government.”

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