Chilean director screens Sundance film at DVC

Sebastiàn Silva conducts a question and answer session after screening

Gustavo Vasquez

Sebastiàn Silva conducts a question and answer session after screening "Crystal Fairy and the Magical Cactus" in the BFL conference room on Feb. 18, 2014.

Regina Ortanez, Staff member

DVC was graced with a visit from a writer and director known for his Sundance nominated films on Feb. 18.

Chilean native Sebastian Silva came to DVC to screen his  film, “Crystal Fairy and the Magical Cactus,” in the BFL conference room, sponsored by the San Francisco Film Society’s Artist in Residence program.

The program aims to both educate and provide networking opportunities by bringing a filmmaker from abroad to San Francisco for a two week residency for public screenings of their work. As a resident, filmmakers are also able to make visits to Bay Area high school and college classrooms.

Silva is the seventh resident of the program so far, having arrived to the Bay Area two days prior.

“Crystal Fairy and the Magical Cactus” as Silva’s fourth feature length film.

According to Silva, it was shot in just 11 days with a $400,000 budget and no actual dialogue written. It stars Michael Cera as a self-involved American tourist in Chilè in an epic journey for the famed San Pedro cactus. It focuses on the misadventures he encounters along the way with the free-spirited and somewhat annoying hippie, “Crystal Fairy,” played by Gaby Hoffman, who decides to tag along.

Laura McCormick, a broadcasting major, found the film intriguing.

“It was really interesting, it felt very cinema vèritè,” she said. “I was curious about the lighting and challenges of shooting it outside.”

She went on to speak about how interesting the question and answer session afterwards was, which Pavlo Agirre, a film major agreed with.

“I thought it was fantastic to meet him and listen to what he had to say,” Agirre said. “It was so refreshing to hear about that and how he comes up with ideas and how to shoot anywhere, plans or no plans, and that was encouraging for me to hear.”

When asked what he hopes to accomplish by coming to the Bay Area and showing his films, Silva’s response was, “this is the first time I’ve done something like this, just sitting in front of people and sharing experiences about the craft. I’m learning about myself and about my craft and also it feels really good to give tips that could have helped me so much in the beginning.”

This event was organized by Kristy Guevara-Flanagan, film productions and broadcasting professor here at DVC, who worked with the San Francisco Film Society to bring Silva here and explains what her goals were in making this happen.

“Just to get exactly what Sebastian gave us: what its like to make films, advice for beginning filmmakers,” she said. “He’s still kind of an emerging filmmaker himself and fairly young, so just really getting to see that behind the scenes process and understand the creative process as well.”

Editor’s note: the name of the San Francisco Film Society program changed from Artist is Present to Artist in Residence.