UncategorizedClaudia y Adriana: A Cinematographic Duo

Claudia y Adriana: A Cinematographic Duo

Por / By:  Winnie T. Sittón



Long before they even thought of making films together, Claudia Abend and Adriana Loeff became friends. Originally from Montevideo, they met in high school and discovered that they shared great intellectual chemistry. They quickly became fast friends. “We’ve been working together for a long time. At this point we understand each other so well that I would almost say that we function as if we were two parts of the same person,” says Claudia.

For them, creating a film together is an enriching and almost inevitable process. Beyond being pretty much on the same page when working together and taking advantage of those moments when they disagree “to figure out together which is the best way forward,” they believe that creating as a team is the recipe that has allowed them to dedicate themselves to film. “Making an independent film, specifically creating a documentary, is a long road. It is always interesting, but there are times when it’s very hard. And being two traveling that road together, we have found, is our salvation,” she confesses.

“For me, the most interesting and beautiful stage is the initial creation. We each write our own path to tell the story. We then look at each other’s ideas and discuss which path is the most convincing. Even when we disagree, it usually doesn’t create conflict, because we both want to tell the story in the most honest and beautiful way. We don’t want to impose an idea,” adds Adriana.

This creative duo’s debut took place during their college years and destiny made them an immediate success. Their first documentary was meant to be nothing more than their thesis but it premiered in movie theaters in 2008 and became the most watched national film in Uruguay that year, remaining in the theaters for three months. A rather unusual achievement for a documentary anywhere in the world and especially for a couple of new directors without a marketing strategy. “For the premiere, we had some radio and TV publicity, and stickers in the streets, but then the film was left to fend for itself. What drove it was word of mouth. People went out and told their friends or family, ‘go see this movie.’ And the public responded,” explains Adriana.

The film is called Hit and that is what it became. It tells the intimate stories behind some of the Uruguayan songs that have become classics and transcended their creators. “They are life stories. The songs, in a way, gave us an excuse to talk about the topics that most interest and concern us as directors: the passage of time, recognition, art, fame, and oblivion,” adds Claudia.

Some of these concerns are also addressed in their second film: La flor de la vida, a documentary that premiered in 2017 and has been showing at major international festivals, garnering several awards. It is now available on the IFF Panama Channel on the Copa Airlines aircraft entertainment system. It’s a very intimate and emotional piece that portrays people who are experiencing old age, but far from seeing it as an end, they are living it as a kind of new beginning. Aldo and Gabriella, the film’s protagonists, after being married for five decades, decide to separate and start fresh when they turn eighty years old, each on their own.

The filmmakers recorded the lives of these two octogenarians for more than three years to subtly capture the key moments they were experiencing. “

They are two very unique people. They are intelligent and educated, with many life experiences and few prejudices. They weren’t ashamed to show their vulnerability, to talk to us about the most private aspects of their lives, their mistakes and their humanity. It was a challenge when we had to edit the film. On the one hand, we wanted to tell an honest and real story, but on the other, we wanted to protect them,” says Adriana.

Now Abend and Loeff are developing a documentary series. They have also begun to work on a new extended project in which they want to reflect on another transformative and defining moment of life: motherhood. “Probably, as a director, one talks over and over again about the same thing, disguised as seemingly different topics,” says Claudia. Adriana adds that both directors are mothers and feel that “such a delicate and key moment is something that is not talked about much and about which we feel we have things to say.”

And although currently they are focused on the documentary genre, they confess that they are interested in fiction. In fact, they already have some ideas in mind, but aren’t yet ready to proceed. We’ll have to wait to find out what they are plotting.

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