‘Ñusta’ teams Epopeya, HAIN, Lady Vinces, Casa Aguaflorida

Ecuador-based producer Daniela Fuentes Moncada of Epopeya introduces the introspective queer feature film Ñusta as part of three regional films on her slate in development at Locarno’s Producer’s Lab, an Open Doors initiative that spotlights Latin American and Caribbean talent.

Epopeya unites Moncada with the founder María de los Ángeles Palacio.

The project’s industrial appeal is underscored by director Papu Corotto of Argentina’s HAIN Cine (“Esteros”), along with Lady Vinces (“Checoslovaquia”) and Silvia Arellano (“En Medio Del Laberinto”) of Casa Aguaflorida in Peru.

The pair bring poignant narratives to life, with Moncada previously supporting ‘La Mala Noche’ directed by Gabriela Calvache, a raw portrait of human trafficking which premiered at SXSW and was chosen by festivals worldwide, earning 15 awards and nominations. Epopeya produces animation, documentaries and feature films with a focus on future-oriented narratives.

“We believe we have a powerful tool to change the world for every viewer. That’s why we produce films that show diversity and provide an opportunity to develop new talent. Our audience is the one that allows art to stimulate their lives and reflect on the purpose of community,” Moncada said.

Written and directed by Ecuadorian Christian Rojas (“Chigualo”), Ñusta delves into the complexities of coming out in a less-than-hospitable community.

The film follows Kallpa, a 12-year-old indigenous boy from the Ecuadorian highlands, who slowly realizes his need for change. Along with Inti Raymi’s community winter solstice celebrations, Kallpa must channel these wishes around seemingly closed and biased thoughts and abuse to honor self-truth and inner peace.

“Kallpa’s desire to become a woman reflects my experience and desire to acknowledge and show my homosexuality and the necessary and courageous daily realization that there is nothing wrong with being who you are,” said Rojas, which founded Oso Rojo Films to focus on LGBTQ film projects and gender rights.

He continued, “Ñusta examines Kallpa’s gender transition, starting from instinct, body and sexual abuse, but most importantly he reflects on the indigenous roots.”

In 2021, the film won the Punto Género section at the Ventana Sur Latin American Industrial Market in Buenos Aires, after receiving the market prize at the co-production meetings of the Chilean Bio Bio Lab event.

The main cast includes Camilo Burneo from Ecuador as the protagonist Kallpa/Ñusta in his first feature film after appearing in Rojas’ short film Phuyu. Activist and Peruvian theater actress Pamela Mendoza will play Toa, while Romel Vargas, who recently starred in Pablo Bustamante’s Bolivian short Superman, has been cast as Nebraska. Peruvian actor, visual artist and playwright Amiel Cayo (“Samichay”) will also star.

Ñusta is a very intimate film born out of the need to make visible the reality that certain minorities live in our country, Latin America and the world,” explained Moncada.

Rojas added: “The true warriors are those who fight every day, every defeat will be a victory tomorrow. This is what Ñusta is in the indigenous worldview.”

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Daniela Fuentes Moncada
Photo credit: Popeya SA

https://variety.com/2022/film/festivals/nusta-epopeya-hain-lady-vinces-casa-aguaflorida-1235335433/ ‘Ñusta’ teams Epopeya, HAIN, Lady Vinces, Casa Aguaflorida

Charles Jones

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