Landscapes and Women: I AM RAJA by Avatara Ayuso


I have never made the connection between choreography and film direction, however renowned dancer Avatara Ayuso has proven via her transition into short filmmaking that the link is a tenable one. Body language is such a huge part of directing actors: if nothing else, as you wildly gesticulate for them to move into a space, it shows them that you see your script as more than just words on a page, and that they are alive. For I AM RAJA, the first in her trilogy of short films about women in extreme landscapes spanning three generations called 3 Women 3 Films, the language barrier between the twelve year old leading lady (after whom the character Raja was named and written) and herself meant that a lot of the talking had to be done without words.unnamed

‘Water will be the common theme between the three films. It just developed that way naturally,’ explained Avatara, gesticulating enthusiastically and in doing so demonstrating just how natural, and translatable into her everyday life, all her methods are. She gave off an aura of authenticity: she chose to make these films because of how important to her development as a person and as a woman the experience of being exposed to extreme landscapes was. She has known Raja since childhood, when her parents took her to the Sahara dessert. She was thus inspired by the strength and physical interaction with their surrounding the women there had. It was something she wanted to show as universal, hence why the next two films will feature (respectively) a 30-something Greek woman living underwater and an Eskimo woman in her 60s living on ice. They are yet to be found.

The experience of researching and finding these women, and getting to know their cultures, will be the next step in the development of an inspirational woman. A great sense of nature, and respect for natural order, permeates from the project that is as much a personal journey as it is a public project. As all art should be.

The Final Word: Watch out for Avatara Ayuso’s radical DIY filmmaking style, and learn.


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