Amores Perros The postman rang twice for Mexican filmmaker Carlos Bolado, and the second time was bad news. “The same week I received the script for Reuben Cabrillo, I received a letter saying I was being deported,” Bolado, who lives with his wife and newborn baby in Berkeley, recalls. “I was scared.” The deportation letter was a mistake (the INS was looking for a different Carlos B.), but he had to hire a lawyer and tangle with the Feds to get it cleared up. The script he'd received — George Rush and Frank Salgado's tale of a family in the Mission struggling to survive after the father is deported — suddenly took on an extraordinary relevance. “This is destiny calling,” Bolado told himself.
Bolado aims to shoot the low-budget Reuben Cabrillo on location in the Mission this summer. “Closing the street, getting the extras — you won't capture the feeling,” Bolado says, explaining why he'll use digital video in a “direct cinema,” neorealist way. “Yes, we're doing a fiction narrative but with a real portrait of the place.” In the sly, humanistic tradition of Satyajit Ray's masterful Pather Panchali, the film will take the point of view of a 10-year-old boy who has to become the man of the family. “I think it's important to always have humor,” Bolado says. “Life is like that, you cry and you laugh so easy. When you're relaxed, you're more open.”
Although Bolado's mystical first feature, Bajo California: El Límite del Tiempo, screened at Sundance, and though he's developing 35mm projects in Brazil and Mexico, he's best known for editing Like Water for Chocolate and the Oscar-nominated documentary Promises (which he co-directed with his wife, Justine Shapiro, and B.Z. Goldberg). Now he can't wait to get behind the camera. A benefit and kickoff party for Reuben Cabrillo is set for Thursday, April 4, at 8 p.m. at SomArts Cultural Center, 934 Brannan. For info, call 759-4201.
Paradise Lost “Lawyers being lawyers, you can tell them what it is you want to do, but they're natural skeptics,” documentary maker Pamela Yates explains. “Their job is to question everything, and investigate. That being said, all sides understood it would be good to make a good film, and make people more trusting of the judicial system.” Yates and fellow New Yorker Peter Kinoy scouted 12 public defenders' offices around the country before choosing to make Presumed Guilty in San Francisco. In the wake of the O.J. trial, the filmmakers had to follow strict rules when shooting in courtrooms: “We had two fixed positions, and we had to be there for the whole trial, so the jury didn't think that one part of the trial [such as opening arguments or the testimony of a certain witness] was more important than another.”
Presumed Guilty, which had its world premiere earlier this month at the S.F. International Asian American Film Festival, follows four PDs through the disposition of four cases. One is Jeff Adachi, who was passed over for the top job when Willie Brown appointed Kimiko Burton, whom he's known since she was born, to the post; the shuffle set the stage for the recent contentious election, won by Adachi. Presumed Guilty opens Friday for a week at the Roxie, prior to its broadcast on KQED on April 5 at 9 p.m.
A Tale of Springtime Congrats to Ralph Eggleston and Pixar, whose “For the Birds” won the Oscar for animated short. Pixar wizard John Lasseter has been tapped by Disney as “creative consultant” for the dubbed U.S. release of Spirited Away, the Japanese animated film that screens (with subtitles) in the S.F. International Film Festival in April. Tin Toy, the short that put Pixar on the map, in currently on view in Spike & Mike's 25th anniversary greatest hits show, which moves from the AMC Van Ness 1000 to the Palace of Fine Arts on Friday. … Local filmmaker Antero Alli's latest digital video extravaganza, Hysteria, has its world premiere March 30 at the Fine Arts Cinema in Berkeley. … Toast the centenary of director Max Ophuls' birth with a new print of The Reckless Moment (remade last year as The Deep End) on March 31 at the Pacific Film Archive in Berkeley.