In the Argentinian musical doc project Reas, pitching at online Visions du Réel, real inmates at the Ezeiza Prison in Buenos Aires reconstruct scenes from their past lives and imagine their future through singing, dancing and performing.
“Lola is one of the most interesting Latin American artists,” explains Reas producer Gema Juárez Allen (Gema Fims) of director Lola Arias. “Her works play in the overlap zone between reality and fiction, and what I personally like about her work is that it is as playful as it is political, and [it] really confronts versions of history or questions of our identity.”
The 85-minute “music documentary starring women in confinement” is budgeted at €271,000 with just under €65,000 already in place. The film is supported by the IDFA Bertha Fund, Juárez Allen explains, and is looking to commence its 2-month shoot in September 2021 ahead of an expected May 2022 release.
“Who are the women and trans people detained at Ezeiza prison in Buenos Aires?” asks director Arias. “Why did they end up there? And can they transform their time in jail into something creative, where they can rewrite their past, where they can invest in a future.”
“The women population at Ezeiza has grown 90% in the last 5 years,” she explains. “Most of the women are there because of drug trafficking. They are victims of their gender violence which makes women in need a [target] for criminal gangs.”
In 2019 Reas held an acting workshop in the prison, where she met some of the protagonists of the film, “[singing] karaoke, making choreographies, rehearsing monologues and scenes that were based on their real stories, and I managed to see how performing was an experience of teleportation for them. They were able to travel in time and space and they were connecting with their own feelings and with each other in a completely different way.”
Starring women and trans aged 18 to 80-years-old, “they will reconstruct their past in flashbacks where they are performing their own lives and the lives of the others, and they will also perform their future [in] scenes where they imagine what will happen to them when they come out of jail.”
“The idea of the film is to reinvent the documentary genre in a musical form, mixing scenes of the reality lives of the inmates with music and choreography,” Reas underlines.