Last week was our third week here in Cuenca and was our designated “filming week.” The TECHO group faced a good amount of setbacks last week (which I will explain) but we kept on trekking and still had a great time.
First, on Monday, we were supposed to start our week off by shooting our main character at her university. She had gained permission from her professor for us to shoot about 10 minutes of her class and then use the classroom for an interview afterwards. Everything started off great, we arrived early and got started shooting some great establishing shots but things took a turn for the worse when we were waiting for Gaby (our main character) to come meet us outside of her classroom building. Apparently our camera equipment caught the attention of some nosy teachers who were wondering what we were doing and then questioned if we had the permission of the Dean. Apparently, the permission of the teacher was not enough and after much negotiation and paperwork we were eventually banned from the campus. We spent the rest of the afternoon shooting some really cool time lapses though, so the whole day was not lost.
Tuesday, we were really excited to get filming again. We were going to spend the morning getting some establishing shots of the city and then spend the afternoon filming a TECHO volunteer event at our main character’s house. Early Tuesday morning the other group, FCT, left for an overnight trip up to the mountains. When we arrived to our first location to shoot we realized as we were setting up our gear that FCT had actually took our tripod with our camera’s baseplate attachment with them and left us their tripod with no baseplate for us to connect our camera to (thanks FCT!!) This meant that we could not shoot anything that needed a tripod, which was the majority of our shots planned for the morning and the afternoon. We tried to make the best of the morning situation and get some audio of the city to use but there was a cab strike going on and they were driving around the center in circles honking their horns non stop….not the best for extra sound clips. We ended up having to buy another tripod during lunch because no store would sell is just a baseplate, but again it ended up working out and we got some really nice shots from our afternoon session.
Wednesday was another extremely interesting day. We were finally heading out to one of the communities that TECHO built houses in, Quingeo, which is about an hour outside of Cuenca. How did we get to Quingeo you ask? We fit 8 people in to a car meant for 5 and drove very fast through the mountains and sort roads; definitely not the most enjoyable ride of our lives. But once up on Quingeo we were able to see first hand what TECHO was all about and talk to some owners of TECHO houses.
Thursday, shooting was going smoothly other than us starting about 1 1/2 hours behind schedule because our character was stuck in class a little later than planned. We got some great shots of her at a library (to replace the school shots we could not film Monday,) shots of her walking around the city and a really great interview at her house. Things became interesting after we finished her interview in her room and she told us we couldn’t leave because her parents were downstairs. Our character has a complicated relationship with her parents and they obviously did not know that we were going to be there and she didn’t want them to see us. So after about 15 minutes of seeing if they would leave we decided to hide our film equipment as best we could and make a run for it, one of our professors may or may not have stuck a boom poll down his pant leg.
Saturday, our final day of shooting, we returned to Quingeo for a TECHO community event where TECHO volunteers spent time with the local kids. We went to some of the TECHO houses further away from the town center and again met with a couple of families who had their lives changed because of TECHO. We got a lot of great footage and it was an excellent way to wrap up the week of filming.