Review of eXtras
by Joel del Río
To celebrate the 25th anniversary of the International School of Film and TV (EICTV) with images, lights and colors, the Colombian photographer Nicolás Ordóñez Carrillo presents his latest series, eXtras, aimed at throwing the spotlight on some of the institution’s graduates, its esteemed teachers, and, of course, the countless possible universes—imaginary, real, rapturous—that will continue to be forged in the vicinity of the San Tranquilino farm.
Hailing from different countries in the world, heralds illuminated by the flashes of brilliance of the various stages in the school’s 25-year history, the protagonists of these pictures normally work behind the cameras, but this time agreed to being looked at, observed, haloed by Nicolás’s lens, and gladly took on the role of postmodern demiurges on the alert for the recreation of powerful myths in film, television, advertising, audiovisual communication.
The countryside that surrounds the school, its facilities and spaces, provided the forum for the settings of these tributes, slightly dissociated from their referents. The filmmakers, graduates of the school, decided to star in mock movies, invented scenes, or similar to others that perhaps were once filmed or shelved in some producer’s office. It’s like putting in a photograph sequences that were shot only in the imagination from references taken out of art history, the media and private—or shared—dreams, by the onlooker and the one looked at. Theory and art history aside, these photographs also illustrate a galaxy of captured crystals, static epiphanies, human attitudes and aspirations that challenge the limits of time and space.
NICOLÁS ORDÓÑEZ CARRILLO (Bogotá, 1977)
He graduated in Literature from the University of the Andes in Colombia and earned a master’s degree in Comparative Literature Theory at the Autonomous University of Barcelona. He has worked as a journalist and photographer the printed media such as The Spectator of Bogota and Soho Magazine. He was a lecturer at the symposium Sweden and Colombia: the Swedish Heritage in the Work of Leon de Greiff, Stockholm, Sweden. His paper was published by the University of Stockholm and the University of Umea, Sweden, 2004.
He directed the feature documentary Trip Voyeur (Cine Pobre Film Festival, Gibara, Cuba, 2010), and was Director of Photography of the feature film Giraffes by Cuban filmmaker Kiki Álvarez, soon to be released. He took a screenwriting course given by Nobel Prizewinner Gabriel García Márquez.
He was jury member for Unpublished Screenplays during the 32nd Latin American Film Festival, Havana, 2011, and selector of the Herralde Prize for Novel of the Anagrama Publishing House in 2000.
Since 2008 he has worked in the Creativity and Photography division of the Department of Culture at the International School of Film and TV (EICTV) in San Antonio de los Baños, Cuba.
His first series of photographs, “Glamour in the Rubble,” was exhibited at Casa Gaia, Havana, in February 2011. This revision of the fashion of ordinary Cubans was subsequently published in the journal El Malpensante. “eXtras,” his second exhibition of a series of pictures taken in Cuba, opened at La Rampa Theater in December 2011, during the 33rd Latin American Film Festival in Havana. He is currently preparing his third series, “The Book of Trades,” in which a nurse, a carpenter, a blogger, an astronaut—among many other jobs—combine their talents and the daily chores with atmospheres and characters that cannot be ignored.