“El Camino,” an award-winning independent film by Costa Rican writer, director and producer Ishtar Yasin, is premiering in major theaters around the country following years of anticipation.
“The work on the film started in 2000 with my grants,” Yasin said. “In 2006, we filmed it. Post-production took two years. I feel very emotional today. This is a long-awaited movie.”
The film, centered around two Nicaraguan children’s experience with their parents’ immigration, won awards at film festivals in Guadalajara, Mexico, Berlin, Germany and Fribourg, Switzerland. It was also Costa Rica’s first showing at France’s Cannes International Film Festival.
“‘El Camino’ is the story of two kids who migrated from Nicaragua to Costa Rica in search of their mother,” Yasin said. “The majority of Nicaraguan mothers sacrifice for their children.”
Indeed, the female lead, 14-year old Sherling Paola Velásquez, could identify personally with the plight of her character as she never got to know the mother that left her and her younger brother with their grandmothers over a decade ago.
“It means a lot to me because my mother moved to Costa Rica,” Velásquez said. “I didn’t hear from her or my father for over 10 years. I only had my brother.”
Velásquez and fellow first-time film actor Juan Bordas, also 14, were members of a small acting group, Dos Generaciones, in the Acahualinca neighborhood of the Nicaraguan capital, Managua, when Yasin came looking for actors.
“Ishtar presented me with a fragment of the script and then I had to improvise,” Bordas said. “I was fine because I had had experience with auditions before.”