Werner Herzog, the tireless explorer, creator and protagonist of the history of cinema, has traveled the world investigating, rediscovering, making it into films. 

Each one of the more than 60 works that make up his extensive and versatile filmography, testifies to his unique and particular way of narrating the world: the stories, characters, landscapes, absurd and incoherent companies, complexities and failures of the human existence.  

With serenity and without limits, the Bavarian filmmaker has faced throughout his more than 50 years of career the biggest and most crazy obstacles that a film director has been able to face when creating, producing, carrying out epic and titanic cinematographic projects.

From a place of honor in the history of cinema, his films shot in the Amazon Rainforest resigned the collective imagination of the colonizers of the Americas, representing them as fragile, insane and defeated by their ambition, possessed by the power of the jungle.

Anyone better than Klaus Kinski to embody such possession?

Valle del Cauca, Cartagena and Villa de Leiva were the main Colombian locations witnesses of what would be his last collaboration with the uncontrollable and brilliant German actor.

In 1987, Werner Herzog, supported by the technical and artistic team of the Cali group, shot some main scenes of Cobra Verde, a film based on the novel The Viceroy of Ouidah by Bruce Chatwin, a nomadic adventurer born in the United Kingdom.

In 2020, 33 years later, Werner Herzog returns to Colombia with the Film Accelerator program while premiering his most recent film, NOMAD: In the Footsteps of Bruce Chatwin, a documentary in honor of the legendary writer who inspired him to shoot in Colombia and with whom he shared the passion of discovering on foot the ecstasy of truth.

The Amazonian city of Leticia, located on the triple border between Colombia, Peru, and Brazil will be the headquarters of the international creation meeting.

Under the advice of the mythical German director, each participant will individually experience all the stages of making a film, from the idea, inspired by a theme proposed by Herzog on the 1st day of the meeting, until the first exhibition of the piece finished on the eleventh day.

Daily, the fieldwork in locations with characters will be enriched by individual exchanges between Werner Herzog and the participants, as well as by the group night meetings, in which they can address the concerns they face when making movies.

To facilitate the creation process, the Film Accelerator production team will provide each participant with a complete database of production resources available in the area to develop their projects. This database includes a varied casting, scouting of locations with their respective filming permits, a daily transport system for the filming crew, as well as a team of translators that will facilitate the work of exchange between the characters of the stories and the filmmakers.

To favor creativity and the maximum use of time, the Film Accelerator will take place in an isolated residence without internet access. The base camp of the Accelerator, in addition to hosting the auteurs, will host the group talks and individual scriptwriting and editing advice.

As a result, the works are screened publicly, thus closing the cycle of Cinematographic creation with all its participants.

Leticia is a small town located south of the department of Amazonas in Colombia. Its main feature is social diversity as a result of these close relations with Peru and Brazil due to its shared border with these two countries; a street separates Colombia from Brazil, and the Amazon river separates Leticia from Santa Rosa, Peru. Explorers, rubber pickers, drug dealers or artists have passed through Leticia and have left a mark that is reflected in

some houses and in the stories that some people who live in the city still tell.
Its great cultural diversity, the indigenous communities of different ethnic groups, the colonizing populations and some people of Afro descent make Leticia position itself as one of the most culturally plural cities and rich in stories that are to be told.

Day 1: Observation: “Day one is the point of no return”. WH

Initial General Meeting

Introduction and explanation of the method of work of the Accelerator by Werner Herzog.

Delivery of accreditation, work perimeter maps and pre-production dossier.

Field work day: Exploration without cameras

Participants will visit some locations in the area preselected by Herzog around the central theme of the workshop. Neither cameras nor sound recorders will be allowed.

Night talks

How to learn to read the inner essence of a landscape?

Day 2: Intuition.

Day Field Work: Field Exploration 2

Participants will visit new locations in the area shortlisted by Herzog based on more general themes that can enrich the stories.

+ Individual advice of ideas — brainstorming.

Night talks

Move to where the heart of the story is.

Day 3: Ecstatic truth.

Day Field Work: Actors and Stories

Participants will meet the local characters and discover local stories.

+ Individual advice of ideas — brainstorming.

Night talks

Sublimates the truth. “The facts are facts, but they do not enlighten us. The facts are for the accountants. Cinema and filmmakers have to look for new answers ”. WH

Day 4 : Practice: “Work under pressure, with your knees in the mud” WH

Day Field Work: Shootings # 1

Herzog will visit the shooting of the participants to advise them on their work.

+ Individual advice on mise-en-scène.

Night talks

Cinema is learned by doing.

Day 5: Exploring the world

Day Field Work: Shootings # 2

Herzog will visit the shooting of the participants to advise them on their work.

+ Individual advice on mise-en-scène.

Night talks

How to picklock or obtaining filming permits in North Korea.

Day 6:  Respect for actors, technical, artistic and production team.

Day Field Work: Shootings # 3

Herzog will visit the shooting of the participants to advise them on their work.

+ Individual advice on mise-en-scène.

Night talks

How to keep the team rolling after 5 minutes with Klaus Kinski?

Day 7: Action! “That unexposed celluloid reel that you have in your hands, could be the last one in existence, you have to do something impressive with it”.

Day Field Work: Shootings # 4

Herzog will visit the shooting of the participants to advise them on their work.

+ Individual advice on mise-en-scène.

Night talks

How to sell a clock in the middle of the Amazon when food is scarce in a shooting camp?

Day 8: Work alone as a movie soldier: following your own vision

Day Field Work

Last Shootings # 5

Editing

Start of work on Editing Room # 1.

“You will follow your vision and you will not fear: I try to be a good soldier of the cinema. A good soldier has a sense of duty. Your duty is to follow your vision. They have to follow their vision. If they are very convinced of their vision, if they see something on the horizon that nobody else sees, and they want to share it so that it becomes part of everyone’s collective dreams, then they have a reason not to be afraid. I am not afraid of anything; That word is not in my dictionary.” WH

Day 9 : No complaints!

Daytime desk work: Editing room

Herzog will view the material of the participants who have already edited a first version of their works.

+ Individual advice on editing.

Night talks

Night talks: How to restart from scratch. With new actors and less money. The filming of the most complex feature film of your life after having shot more than 70% of a version you cannot save?

+ Finished shorts exhibition.

Day 10: Never regret

Daytime desk work: Editing room

Herzog will review the material the participants who have already edited a first cut.

+ Individual advice on editing.

Night talks

How rewrite the film in the editing room, finish and move on to the next project?

+ Finished shorts exhibition.

Day 11:  Finished shorts exhibition.

“You will not cry on the set: It is not allowed to have too many emotions; You have to do your duty, you have to do what you have to do. S/He does not cry on the camera ratio. Nobody cries. If someone cries, it has to be the public; never the actor, nor the director, nor any of those on the set. So I delegate my emotions to the spectators”. WH

* Werner Herzog is free to modify the method of the program taking as a framework of reference the practical work in the conclusion of an individual piece. Following his method of work, some participants manage to make up to three short films during the 11 days of the program.

+ Delivery of diplomas
+ Family photo
+ Yearbook signing

Workshop closure: Celebration workshop.

GUIDELINES
  1. Each applicant must fill out their application form, attaching the requested documents.
  2. The Film Accelerator is a practical program, so it is essential that all participants are technically autonomous, have skills in scriptwriting, filming, and editing. They must also have a basic and portable unit for filming and editing. Technical collaborations between participants are allowed and recommended as long as they do not affect the individual creative process.
  3. The language of the group talks will be English. However, individual counseling can also be in Spanish, German, Quechua, or Ancient Greek. 
  4. Applicant profiles will be selected according to the following criteria:
    – Motivation
    – Autonomy
    – Importance in the development of her/his career
    – Previous works
  5. Each author must complete their application individually, applications of two or more people are not allowed.
  6. We are not a state initiative or a film school, so we do not have a scholarship or tuition financing system at the moment.
  7. For the participation in the residence it will be essential that the selected authors certify a health travel insurance and their vaccination card updated for yellow fever, essential to travel to the Amazon.
  8. The organization is not responsible for the expedition of travel visas. Each participant may cover all the necessary documents in order to entry Colombia.

Tuition Value: 5.200€

Includes:

Accommodation
– 12 nights (from 04/23/20 to 05/04/20)
Meals
– Three daily meals for 11 days
– Coffee station morning and afternoon.
– Availability of drinking water 24 hours.
Shuttles
– Air Transfer Bogotá – Leticia / Leticia – Bogotá
– From Leticia Airport to the Workshop Basecamp / April 23rd
– From the Workshop Basecamp to Leticia Airport / May 5th
Assist Card
– Assist Card for medical assistance during the entire stay in the Amazon.
Transportation
– 8 Daily routes in motorized boats available for visits to locations and shootings.
Assistance
– Production team of La Selva, Creatiu Ecosystem
– 12 Local guides (English x Spanish interpreters)
Pre-Production
– General pre-production folder made for the area.
Database of actors: will include a varied casting of characters with their availability and contact.
Database of locations: list of locations, with photographs, descriptive and shooting permits.

* Once the tuition fee has been paid there will be no possibility to make refunds.

The Film Accelerator emerged thanks to the meeting between Abbas Kiarostami and the director of the Acceleration Program, Liliana Díaz, who extended the experience made by the Iranian director for more than 15 years towards Latin America.

Three years of collaboration with the Iranian teacher resulted in the completion of the project in Colombia 2014, Spain 2015 and Cuba 2016.

From 2017, the German director Werner Herzog, integrates the initiative by taking over and making the method of training and practical advice in Cuba 2017 and in the Amazon Rainforest of Peru in 2018.

The unique creative experience in Peru inspires the birth of La Selva, Ecosistema Creatiu, a group of Ibero-American filmmakers and producers, determined to stimulate the growth of author cinema.

In 2019, the experience takes place in Barcelona with the Argentine Director Lucrecia Martel, reaching its 6th edition.

More than 300 short films have been produced thanks to this initiative, many of them awarded at international festivals such as Locarno and Berlinale, among others.

12 Master Classes that have reached an audience of more than 6000 spectators in 4 countries, as well as 6 retrospectives that have reached an audience of 18,000 spectators.

RETROSPECTIVE

Exhibition of the 15 most representative films of his work.
Location: Bogota
From April 22 to May 5 / 15 Projections

MASTER CLASS

Q&A between Werner Herzog and the public about his work and vision of cinema, accompanied by excerpts from his films.
Location: Bogota
April 22/120 min

PRESS CONFERENCE

Location: Bogota
April 21/45 min

Organized by

In alliance with
With the support of

With the collaboration of

Allied Media

Credits

Quotes

Film Lessons: Los mandamientos, consejos y frases de Werner Herzog para hacer cine. Film fellas club, No Film School, EnFilme, Indiewire, Pantalla Adicta, Morelia Film Festival, Bunke Pop. 20 septiembre, 2016.

Amazon Advisors

Joana Higuita Castro y Enric Cassú Camps

Photography Behind the scenes

© Werner Herzog Film
Aguirre, Cobra Verde, Wings of Hope. Werner Herzog Film Archivo Cinemateca Alemana. 1972 – 1987 – 1998.

Photographs Amazon Rainforest

Manuel Medir Roca. 2017.

Photographs Tikuna communities of San Pedro de los Lagos

Alex Rufino Parente. 2019.

Graphic Design

Vera Tamayo

Copyright © 2020 La Selva Ecosistema Creatiu, SCCL. All rights reserved.