Armando Ravelo: “Canarias is a land with induced Alzheimer’s”

 In Canary Islands, Films, Interviews

The Gran Canarian director Armando Ravelo brought his latest work, ‘La Cueva de las Mujeres’, to the Lanzarote public, at the Municipal Theater of Tías with a notable public success. One more piece of the puzzle that the Canarian filmmaker is mounting in what he has called ‘Project Bentejuí.

How was the reception of the screening in Lanzarote and how is it being, in general, throughout the Canary Islands?

Yesterday more than 300 people went to the Municipal Theater of Tías to see “The Cave of Women”. It is out of all the forecasts we had, but even more the love and warmth that show after the pass. This is happening in all the passes we have made in Gran Canaria, Tenerife and La Palma. We are happy and very grateful.

How would you personally define this work? That is, do you notice the evolution in each of your projects?

This is our most rounded film work, I think. We apply what we have learned throughout several projects, especially when it comes to working with a reduced budget, “La Cueva” has had less budget than Ansite, which was the first of the shorts from Proyecto Bentejuí, and a third in the number of people who have worked in it. However, there is a noticeable improvement in all the sections. We have optimized resources to the fullest. In the artistic, this is a more resounding piece, we wanted to combine the sensitive with the violent. I hope we have achieved it.

The Cave of Women is one more piece of the Bentejuí Project. For those who do not know it, what is the Bentejuí project?

The Bentejuí Project was born with the vocation of telling stories about the islands especially through the cinema, although we have also made plays and soon I will be releasing a novel where I narrate the story of the legendary warrior from Gran Canaria Doramas. The idea was born under the passion I feel for the cinema and for the history and culture of the Canary Islands. We are a people with induced Alzheimer’s and audiovisual is a good way to give us a mirror in which to reflect. It is a small mosaic, humble in terms of means, which is growing little by little, project by project.

What has been done within the project? And what is left to develop?

In films so far we have produced the shorts Ansite (2012), Mah (2016) and La Cueva de las Mujeres (2018) and the children’s feature film, La Tribu de las 7 Islas (2017). In all the works carried out so far, we explored episodes based on the indigenous culture of the islands, with the exception of Cueva de las Mujeres, where we entered the 40s of the last century to get closer to the world of witchcraft in the Canary Islands in that environment. dark postwar.
We will continue working on this line, hoping to get to shoot a feature film as the closest project.

Do you believe in the need, as a Canarian creator, to value the culture and tradition of the islands in your creations?

Yes, Canary Islands is the place where I was born, grew up and where I currently live. I have traveled and I have known other cultures and I admire those who live with dignity, from the everyday, and with healthy pride their traditions, history and identity traits. If you look closely, you will see that everything related to these aspects in the islands are limited to folklore and some aspects of gastronomy. However, Canarian culture includes its history, its idiosyncrasy, art, traditions and current cultural work, among other things. If we see it with that perspective we realize that the cinema is not a luxury, it is a way of observing ourselves necessary to express ourselves and to make ourselves known to the world, and strengthen our society, adding self-esteem and using identity as an integrating element. On the other hand, I do not say that all creators have to use that starting point, but the islands offer us a lot of material to express ourselves through art.

Regarding the  feedback of the audience after seeing your shorts, is there a common denominator?

Perhaps I would highlight two, the need to have references as stories and creations in which we see ourselves as a people and, on the other hand, the surprise that cinema can be made with a certain bill in the Canary Islands.

How do you see the level of cinema that is made in the islands?

Ascending and with a lot of creativity. Economic means are scarce, but talent abounds.

Towards what goal or objective do you want to take your work?

As Kurosawa said, I make the next film to see if it finally works out for me. I always keep the feeling of the need to improve, and I aspire to do it at least a little better in each work. Answering the question with a little more perspective, I would love to be able to complete the mosaic that I have in my head with this project and make several more works that touch different aspects that I am passionate about the history of the islands

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