Cinencuentro [es] was one of the first blogs dedicated to film in Peru. Juan Arellano interviewed two of the blog site's members Lucho Ramos and Laslo Rojas for an article on the site BlogsPerú [es]. This is an excerpt of the interview and to read the entire article in Spanish, please visit the original link [es].
Juan Arellano: Please tell me about yourselves
Lucho Ramos: Even though I studied Electronic Engineering, I have always been interested in audiovisual communication. I am from Cusco, but I have been working in Lima for more than 10 years and currently I am part of TV Cultura, an NGO and where I feel like a fish in water. During this time, I developed a love for film that has brought me to become a part of Cinencuentro. It was all Laslo's fault that I began to blog :), it must have been in 2004 when I first heard about blogs (La Petite Claudine was one of the first blogs that I read), but I didn't realize what a blog was, even though in my defense, I have been connected to the internet since 1995, including forming part of a mailing list about Amiga computers and later on the Tolkien Peru mailing list. I can communicate in English and Quechua. I am married to Mary and have a son, Joca, who is 11 years old. Both of them have blogs, and I am very happy. My other hobbies are music, reading, traveling and working under pressure.
Laslo Rojas: I am 27 years old. I am a graduate in Information Technology. I found out about blogs in mid-2002, when I visited some Peruvian LiveJournal pages. I later found out about Cinencuentro during its original phase and later online. In this group, I made great friends that helped me with personal and even, professional growth. Thanks to Lucho I became a part of TV Cultura. Little by little, I was drawn closer to their new projects and initiatives and it was also a desirable working environment. I became familiar with the beginnings of National Links, above all in the technical aspects and later I was added to the team of NAPA. As one might say at that moment, “my life changed.” I try to find time during the week to watch a movie in the theaters or on DVD, read a good book, listen to mp3s on my cell phone for those trips to the “73”, watch the latest episode of Lost, 24 or Heroes, or in the best of cases spend some time talking with friends.
Juan: And how did Cinencuentro begin?
Lucho: At the beginning of 2003, we came together for the first time after spending a long time of exchanging messages on the movie list of RCP, and we became seven friends that went to the movies more than once a week and we gathered to talk about movies over the course of many hours.
Laslo: In those gatherings, the Cinencuentro group was formed and months later a Blogger blog was created, which was to find a way to publish and share small reviews about new movies amongst ourselves . Months passed and the 9th Lima Film Festival arrived, and with that excuse we decided to put all our movie-going interests on the blog. After this, we wanted more and we decided to add news, conduct interviews, share soundtracks, cover movie openings, distribute information about movie clubs, and highlight everything that is directly or indirectly related with film.
Juan: How do you share the work between the team?
Laslo: In a mobile form of way, the daily work was conducted by Antolín Prieto until a few weeks ago, and now Jorge Esponda and Miguel Piscoya are now in charge to create the content that can be found on Cinencuentro. I also help with the editing, publishing of content, general administration, moderation of comments, updating of static content and publicity. Lucho is also in charge of general administration, and above all adding new ideas for content. Anto is in charge of reviewing the daily edition and suggesting new content. That is the core team.
Lucho: Nothing would work without the contribution from all of the members of Cinencuentro, and their contribution varies according to the free time of each. Currently the most active contributors are Gabriel Quispe, Juan Jose Beteta, and Blanca Vásquez (from Spain) for the movie reviews. Mary Panta is involved with the general production and Rolando Jurado is involved with the photos. Actually, it is during the important events, such as festivals where the production increases. For example, at the beginning of this year, Rodrigo Portales, Luis Carlos Burneo and Juan Daniel Fernández went to cover the International Independent Film Festival in Buenos Aires. In all, I would say that there are about 15 people that contribute content on a regular basis and another 15 that do so sporadically.
Juan: What is the difference between the original Cinencuentro and the current version?
Laslo: A lot, from the ability to publish with blogs to the number of collaborators of the blog (more than 30) to the primary interests that are reflected in the blog. For example, we began to focus on movie reviews, then the content shifted to the most commented and popular films, now we are placing emphasis on that cinema that we would like to see, which unfortunately does not arrive to our theaters, not only in Peru, but all of Latin America.
What do you think of Peruvian Cinema?
Laslo: Peruvian cinema as it is now, is ripe for a type of resurgence, in the capital and above all in other cities across the country. I see our cinema with a lot of curiosity, with interest and in some cases with a certain subjectivity, when one watches the work of people that one might know in one way or the other. Actually, I do not know all of the details about the reality of film in past decades, but one can see now the relative boom with the appearance of many new directors. In any case, I hope that this is a time to consolidate Peruvian cinema.
Lucho: As Laslo says, this is a fascinating time for Peruvian cinema, because I think that finally there is a good number of directors, especially young one, with the desire for renewal and change. Our hope is that these directors continue to take risks and tell their stories without excuses. It is interesting to note that many of these directors are also movie lovers, thanks to a large part to the availability of pirated material. On the other hand, one must take into account that in Cinencuentro, there are many directors, more than half of us have projects on the way or have a project in mind. That makes us have a hand in many parts, dedicated to film because we are part of the art. To balance things, we must also say that there is a lot of bad Peruvian cinema.
Juan: There are plenty of blogs and people that write about cinema. How do you see these blogs, are they of good quality? Are there some that should be highlighted?
Lucho: I think we are seeing the initial phase of the phenomenon, as there is definitely a good amount of blogs dedicated to film, some are maintained by just one person (La tetona de Fellini) and others are group efforts (Los Cinerastas, La Cinefilia no es patriota, El buen cine) and others. There are some by critics well-established in the field (Páginas del Diario de Satán, La soga), not including the blogs of film companies, production houses, unions, movie clubs, etc. I think the most interesting are the blogs maintained by people without experience in critique or journalism. They tend to improve the quality of reviews and serve as practice ground for future critics or directors. On the other hand, the established critics are starting to use blogging tools in order to publish their articles on online magazines or newspaper sections. I think we are forming a movie enthusiast blogging community that should serve – among other things – to promote a common agenda (elevate the level of movies in the theaters, complain about the inaction of the State, to have a presence in the traditional media, festival coverage, but at the same time maintain independence and healthy competition.