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DP Tonatiuh Martínez


Mexicans and Ecuadorians Film
"Sin Muertos No Hay Carnaval” (Such Is Life in the Tropics)
By: María Eugenia Mansilla
After the challenge of doing "Las Oscuras Primaveras" (The Dark Springs), the DP Tonatiuh Martínez threw himself into a new cinematographic experience from many exciting points of view. On this occasion, filming in Ecuador, in the city of Guayaquil, with temperatures of up to 40 degrees Celsius, with the sun fully overhead (90º), with a 200% humidity, but with a joy of working with a multinational crew, an excellent director and on a phenomenal movie: “Sin Muertos No Hay Carnaval”.
The movie, which takes its name from a popular saying in this South American country, is the largest cinematographic production ever made in Ecuador. And precisely from the hand of the most renowned director of this country, Sebastián Cordero, known internationally for his award winning feature films, “Crónicas”, “Rage”, “Ratas, Ratones y Rateros”, “Europa Report” and “Pescador”.
"I had the fortune to be invited to participate in this movie - says the DP Martínez - the director and the producers Bertha Navarro and Arturo Yépez liked the visual presentation I gave. It was three and a half months of very intensive work, but at the same time very gratifying, for the technical challenges that we had and because of the experience of working with people of different nationalities."

The feature film, a Mexican/Ecuadorian production and with the participation of Germany, is the original story of Andrés Crespo (an actor that was also in the movie) with the script from the director Cordero. It tells the story of conflicts over land tenure between the rich and the poor but that has also always been between the owners and intermediators who want to take their piece. A local story, but it may well be the reality of many Latin American countries, and in which EFD is honored to participate in.

"I had the opportunity to speak with Gina Terán, - mentioned Tonatiuh Martínez - to ask for the support of EFD Colombia, due to their proximity to Ecuador. For me, it was very important to have the peace of mind of having the support of a known equipment company, such as EFD. The reply received was total support, we work very well with them, and the interesting thing was the good working environment armed with the Ecuadorian equipment company who also participated, RM Ecuador. ”
To the DP Martínez, attention to the Ecuadorian Protection Law for projects on TV and the National Cinema was a positive thing, the obligation to realize that it applies to everything transmitted in this country. He considers that this helps the growth of the local industry, because it promotes the recruitment of companies and talent of the country, and it motivates a professionalization of the same and generates more work. "In Mexico we need a law as well." He believes.
Light, Color and Heat
On the challenges of filming, the DP Martínez said in jokingly, that he had work with similar circumstances before, but here everything came together at the same time.
"The city of Guayaquil is visually very interesting for its architecture and color. It has a very bright light and it is overhead, and we had more rain than had been recorded in many years. It rained constantly, it would be cloudy and then the sun would come out. These variations of light made it necessity to have very large light sources, a lot of equipment so it would be natural, but aesthetic."
A requirement that translated into the use of large lamps, like: 18,000w, 12,000w and a M90, as well as a dolly, equipment that was operated by the dolly operator "Punky", also from EFD Colombia.

Another aspect that Tonatiuh Martínez for grateful for, was that the producers and the director permitted him to do pre-production work on a feature film, in which he was able to work in the studio on the lights of the place and of the locations. "It was eight weeks of pre-production and eight of filming. The pre-production that we did was very important. The movie, is not really an action film, it has various dynamic sequences, moving autos, bullets, crashes, etc. It also has many characters and many locations in the city, the jungle, rivers and mangroves near Guayaquil."
How was it working with an international crew?
- It was an interesting mix of doing things. The Mexican showed their style and the Ecuadorians showed theirs. There were many young talents, the director is very appreciated in his country and he convenes a lot of youth. On the other hand, I had the great fortune to work with the best gaffer in Ecuador, Jimmy Pazmiño. As well as the Mexican professionals that I have known for a long time, as the focuser and first camera assistant Hugo Navarro, Barbara Enríquez, production designer, Manuel Hinojosa, first assistant director, Mario Zamacona, production manager, Alejandro Vázquez, coordinator of special effects and Gerardo Moreno coordinator of action scenes.
And with the director Cordero, how was the interaction?
- Very well, he is a great person and director. We had an enriching work table and with a lot of creative freedom. We achieved points in scenes that reflected the magic of this director to tell stories. For my part, I think that the fact of being a foreigner and not having worked before in that city, allowed me to have a fresh look in the search for the aesthetic of a city with lots of personality.

To Tonatiuh Martínez, having participated in this movie, made with great economy, meant an enjoyable experience, by the work accomplished, the human contact and the attentions of the place: "we ate deliciously and the people treated us wonderfully".
The post-production of “Sin muertos no hay carnaval”, will be done in Mexico in the coming months, so you still have to wait a while to enjoy a new installment of good Latin American cinema.