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The Difficulties of the First Film

October 14, 1985

NEW YORK (AP) _ She shuttled between Venezuela and France until her movie finally was made. And after all the hustle and bustle, Fina Torres has emerged as one of the hottest directors in the New York Film Festival with her ″Oriane.″

″The first movie is the most difficult because they all shut their doors in your face,″ Torres said in an interview. ″Nobody believes in you.″

Earlier this year, ″Oriane″ won the coveted Golden Camera prize for best first feature at the Cannes Film Festival. It also won best film and best script awards at the Cartagena (Colombia) Festival.

The movie concerns a hacienda in the Venezuelan Andes and the three generations who owned it. It traces the relationship between a young girl and her maiden aunt, whose life was devastated by an incestous relationship with her half-brother. The movie, in exquisite color, is a co-production of Pandora Films in Caracas and Arion Productions in Paris.

A dozen years ago, Torres left Venezuela and went to study film production in France.

″I had to leave Venezuela because the possibilities of my making a career as a woman film director in my country at the time were very limited,″ she said. ″So I went to France and enrolled at the Institute for Film Studies in Paris. Once I finished there, I started working as a technician - as a film editor and later as an assistant director - for French movie companies, and with correspondents in Paris for South American television stations.

″But still I wanted to make my own movies, and breaking away from my own financial security and a steady job to start something totally new was a most difficult decision.″

The 33-year-old filmmaker’s career was interrupted by an automobile accident. ″I was paralyzed for months. So I started working on the script of ‘Oriane.’ And finally I left my regular job and started concentrating on my own first movie.″

Concentration was not enough. Torres also needed money and she thought the best place to get it was Venezuela. She returned to Caracas to raise funds, knocked on many doors and finally got a grant from the Fund for Cinematographic Promotion. Grant in hand, she returned to Paris and obtained an almost equal grant from the French government.

Then it was back to Venezuela for nine weeks of hectic filming in the Andes and at the shore. ″We had every imaginable problem during the filming, from scheduling difficulties with the cast to chicken pox,″ she said.

Once the filming was over, she flew back to France to start the post- production chores.

″Finishing ‘Oriane’ wasn’t easy,″ she said ″We did and redid the sound track three times to get it just right, because we couldn’t bring the Venezuelan actors and actresses to Paris to do any dubbing. We had to do with the recorded ‘live’ sound.″

The film received the Golden Camera prize in Cannes, in stiff competition with 23 other movies from Europe and other parts of the world.

″Now the showing of the movie at the New York Film Festival is like the culmination of Cannes,″ she said. ″Because, if I can talk in purely commercial terms, now I’m sure I’ll get some sort of financing for my next picture.″

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