Peruvian film director reaching for the stars


In the language of the Shipibo indigenous people of the Peruvian Amazon, “pishiri” means spirit. Near to the community of Pishiri (Pichanaki, Junín), lives a supernatural being who carries in his bag the cane of the emperor, a plant that cures all sicknesses. 

He is called El Tunche and his whistling is “a torment to the ears”. The problem is that no human being can face him except through taking an ayahuasca trip. This is what five medical students who go their for a thesis investigation discover only too late. 

“El Tunche – Mysteries of the Jungle” is the fourth cinematic work that Nilo Inga has released. It premiered on the 29th of October last year in Huancayo. The actor and director has filmed other works that he is too shy to release, including a mockumentary about the Santiago festival and “The Death of my Beloved”, that he filmed with students from a high school in his home town of Huáchac, 15 minutes from Huancayo. He made these films simply for the pleasure of doing so each summer, during vacations from his course at the National Drama School.

 Interrupted by these projects his first release, Garden of Horror, was begun in 2001 but only completed three years later. In the same year the Landeo brother went to Huancayo to film Flower of Retama – as well as acting in it, Nilo learned more about the realities of production.

 At the same time staff at the Max Planck high school in Huancayo learned about his passion and bought a professional camera so that he could make educational films with the pupils. It was like this that he filmed a remake of the Mexican film A Desperate Cry, which premiered in the local Mantaro cinema to an audience of children and parents. Sitting on the floor there, Nilo saw his own work on the big screen for the first time. 

In summer 2005 he went into partnership with his work center to make an improved version of his unscreened short feature Blood and Tradition. It garnered good audiences in the central mountain region of Peru, making back its costs at the box office, and was shown at a festival in Spain. 

He filmed another educational film in 2005, Shadows of Loneliness, about the problems facing teenagers in Huancayo. His latest challenge was writing and directing the feature film El Tunche, for which he got back in touch with some actors from Blood and Tradition. This time, he has gained a place in the listing at commercial Lima cinemas. 

The dream of this 30-year-old is the same as that of the child who first went into a cinema with his uncle to see American Ninja 3.  He dreams of going farther.

El Tunche will be playing at 8:30 next Monday and a week later at El Cinematógrafo de Barranco

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