Monday, September 11, 2017

“I’m Tired of this Appropriation of Stories by Filmmakers from the West:”: Violeta Ayala and Dan Fallshaw on Cocaine Prison

Part of IFP’s 2013 Project Forum slate, Cocaine Prison is the latest completed work from indigenous Latina filmmaker Violeta Ayala, who’s long been an outspoken critic of the War on Drugs, which not only disproportionately affects low-income folks here in the States, but especially our impoverished neighbors south of the border, from Mexico on down. For this follow-up to 2015’s The Bolivian Case (another tale of South American coke smuggling and its consequences, but with a Norwegian teenagers twist), Ayala, along with filmmaker partner/husband Dan Fallshaw (a producer, cinematographer and editor on Cocaine Prison), have headed back to her birth country of Bolivia, and to the heart of the fallout: the dangerously overcrowded San Sebastian prison (where inmates who can’t afford to buy their own cells sleep outside).

The pair focus on a trio of “foot soldiers,” a teen drug mule named Hernan and his equally young sister Deisy fighting for his release, along with a low-level cocaine worker called Mario, incarcerated while the drug bosses above him remain untouchably free. Compellingly Kafkaesque, Cocaine Prison puts three remarkable faces on a too often abstract web of international injustice and systemic corruption. Filmmaker spoke with Ayala and Fallshaw prior to the film’s TIFF premiere.

To read my interview visit Filmmaker magazine.

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