Out of Focus

San Fer­nan­do is the most noto­ri­ous juve­nile prison of Mexico City, where the young pris­on­ers serve their sen­tences for seri­ous offens­es. This doc­u­men­tary result­ed from a series of film and pho­tog­ra­phy work­shops inside the prison, which were con­duct­ed by film­mak­ers for inmates aged 15 to 19. During the project, these tough young men were able to express their view of their expe­ri­ences in prison by means of short film and pho­tog­ra­phy.

Keep­ing their faces ‘out of focus’ to pro­tect their iden­ti­ties, the par­tic­i­pants show their new­found pas­sion for the arts. They write short sto­ries, weave, make tra­di­tion­al papier-mâché sculp­tures, paint, shoot films, and make music. Inspired by the project, sev­er­al ques­tions arise: Once they are released from prison after many years, what will life be like? Where will their new inspi­ra­tion lead them? Cholo, a young inmate reflects: “In my com­mu­ni­ty and in all of Mexico, even inter­na­tion­al­ly, I want to be known as an artist, not just as a thief and a fail­ure.”

 

Pro­duced by Homov­i­dens, Etno­sco­pio and Alas y Raíces de CONACULTA
Script by Adrián Arce, Anto­nio Zirión and Hugo Chávez Car­va­jal
Edited by Adrián Arce, Anto­nio Zirión and Hugo Chávez Car­va­jal
Cin­e­matog­ra­phy by Anto­nio Zirión and Adrián Arce
Asso­ciate Pro­duc­er Hugo Chávez Car­va­jal
Music: Este­ban Chapela
Sound: Pablo Fer­nán­dez