Director rodrigo Bellot
has inspired a new
wave of Bolivian film.
rated DVD in the country, playing fre- length feature called Sexual Depen-
quently in the restaurants and buses dency—launching Bellot’s commer-that once showcased standard Holly- cial career. The film, which follows
wood fare. But perhaps Bellot’s most five teenagers from Santa Cruz and
important contribution has been to Ithaca coming into their own sex-legitimize Bolivian filmmaking as a ual and sociopolitical identity, also
valid art form. raised Bolivia’s cinematic reputa-
In any conversation about Bo- His dream found little opportu- tion abroad. It was entered in the
livia’s nascent film industry, nity to flourish in his homeland. Academy Awards—it didn’t win—
the first name that comes up With no studios to work in and no and has since been shown in more
is Rodrigo Bellot. The Santa Bolivian filmmaker to model him- than 65 film festivals, including Ber-Cruz-born director has almost self on, Bellot, now 30, moved to the lin and Toronto.
single-handedly brought Bolivian U.S. at the age of 16, escaping what Apart from directing and writ-filmmaking to international atten- he calls the “lamento boliviano”—a ing, Rodrigo Bellot has been a cast-tion. Films such as Sexual Depen- reference to the chronic Bolivian ing director for many international
dency have won the hearts of critics complaint about the lack of oppor- films—most recently Steven Soder-abroad and inspired a new genera- tunities inside the country. bergh’s two-part biopic on Che Gue-tion of Bolivian filmmakers. Destierro (Exile), Bellot’s first ven- vara, The Argentine and Guerrilla.
One of his recent projects, ¿Quién ture into filmmaking when he was The acclaimed U.S. director’s deci-
Mató a la Llamita Blanca? ( Who still a student at Ithaca College, sion to film in Bolivia was helped
Killed the White Llama?), hasbroken garnered him an Academy Award by the presence of a growing and
box office records at home. Llamita, nomination for Best Student Film talented corps of film artists and
which was produced entirely in Bo- in 2000. The semi-autobiographical technicians, demonstrating “how far
livia, is a road comedy that follows film, a profile of a Bolivian student the film industry has evolved in Boa couple hired to transport 50 kilos finding his identity “in a place that livia,” says Bellot. That, in fact, may
of cocaine to the Brazilian border. had nothing Bolivian,” as Bellot be the greatest tribute of all to Bel-It has already become the most pi- describes it, was turned into a full- lot’s pathbreaking career.
americas quarterly 25