How Blockchain is Empowering Guatemala’s Brightest Indie Filmmakers
Javier Borrayo is tokenizing his remarkable science fiction film ‘LUZ’ with SingularDTV via Tokit, creating the LUZTKN to take control of his art.
Even more important than the most advanced tech or the flashiest interface is the human network of people who use a platform or application. With Tokit launched and functioning flawlessly, we’re beginning to see the remarkable humans all over the world who have been drawn to SingularDTV’s mission of a decentralized entertainment ecosystem built on the Ethereum blockchain, and are taking their careers into their own hands by tokenizing their work.
Just one example: Javier Borrayo, a Guatemalan filmmaker who was tipped off to SingularDTV a year ago by a friend and grew into a blockchain believer, is launching his film LUZ on Tokit via the LUZTKN. The film, influenced by both magical realism and science fiction, is a personal journey about a physicist obsessed with a theory of measuring karma, set amidst the foreboding backdrop of the Guatemalan civil war.
This teaser video for LUZ, released last week, gives insight into the film and Borrayo himself, and is an example of decentralization creating opportunities in places that the legacy film industry has overlooked. Borrayo’s work and the story of LUZ are brimming with potential, and SingularDTV is pleased to launch the LUZTKN and enable people all over the world to become Collaborative Producers on the project…
We sat down with Javier for a discussion about the film, Guatemalan culture, magical realism in Latin American literature, and the future of entertainment on the blockchain…
What is the story of LUZ?
It’s about a Guatemalan physicist whose father was murdered during the last year of the civil war in Guatemala, which lasted for more than thirty years. He was never able to reconnect with his father. Through science, which is everything he has, he’s trying to prove there is a way to measure the length of karma, karma understood as action and reaction. He’s trying to prove that theory to find out where and if his father may return. Through that search, he experiences an enlightenment, and finds out what he’s looking for is not what he needed, discovering something far more important.
How did the idea for the story come to you?
In 2014, I started to play with the idea of: When you grab a crystal sphere and light hits it, where is the image? What you see is the image upside down, but where, physically, in the sphere, is the image? I started playing with the idea of a person losing themselves in that, and it stayed with me for years.
The script itself, I would call it a meditational script. I started meditating and wrote the script during those meditations, like I would meditate and then write. What I found really beautiful about is that is that I didn’t make any real effort in writing it, it was more the story taking me, because the story was already there, it had been in my head for years. And it just flowed. In that sense, the story is very truthful to itself. I did not put a lot effort to make the narrative fit any movie arc. It’s just the story as it came to me.
Is there a tradition that the story and film play into?
There was a movement in literature in the middle of last century — magical realism — Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Miguel Angel Asturias — who was a Guatemalan writer who won a Nobel Prize. That was the boom for Latin American writers. It was a moment in literature. Having a Guatemalan Nobel Prize winner definitely makes it evident that it’s actually the way that we live. We dream a lot, more than European culture. We dream all day, but we live in a raw, sometimes cruel, reality.
What is the Guatemala you’re trying to show in Luz?
Guatemala, every person that comes here feels the magic and mystery. People that live here, we are so used to living somewhere that’s dangerous, but at the same time magical. We’re walking down this fragile string, of this mind-blowing place that has 23 volcanoes, three of which are active, 23 languages, a lot of culture, a very hard history, and at the same time, we’re living at the edge of danger and poverty. The Guatemala that I want to show is is a Guatemala that has had a very hard history, that has not been able to see justice happen.
In the story of LUZ, that part of Guatemala’s history plays a big part. The fim makes a statement that justice is real, and doesn’t come from the institutions. I want to show a Guatemala that’s real, that’s hard, but is still magical.
What’s the difference between science fiction and magical realism?
The difference between science fiction and magical realism is that in science fiction, through science, people get to do the impossible. But in magical realism, something impossible just happens. This film falls more in line with magical realism than science fiction. There are aspects of the film that suggest magical realism, the cinematography, for example. Things that are impossible, but are framed with an organic texture. The plot, I would say is more science fiction.
What’s it like funding independent film projects in Guatemala?
You just make it happen, some way or another! There is almost no support. The first governmental fund for film was launched last year. It was $150,000 a year — for everyone — so, we’re taking little steps. The wonderful thing about Guatemala is that, if you have a camera and you say you’re a filmmaker, you’re a filmmaker! That’s very exciting. It’s a moment.
How much are you hoping to raise with LUZTKN, and what will it be used for?
We’re raising 80 ETH and releasing 2 million LUZTKN Of those funds, 7% to pre-production, 69% to production. Post production is 18%, and 6% is local promotion. I really hope it happens. It’s like a hope, just to think that the movie could go far, and even create value for people. I’m going to have to gather the crew, meet the guys, open a couple bottles of wine, and give them a talk about cryptocurrency and why blockchain is a great, wonderful, and amazing thing. We’re going to revenue split a lot of the tokens reserved from the sale, but they’ll also get paid in ETH. It’s amazing.
Where do see blockchain technology going over the next couple of years?
It’s gonna be fast. I knew about SingularDTV a year ago. In the last month, I took a course online to learn about blockchain. I learned, I see the value, and here I am, one month later, already creating a token and doing it. The only thing people need is to understand it, and make it visible how possible it is to decentralize, then everything will change for good, really fast.
The film was inspired by the music of Alex Hentze. Can you explain more?
Alex Hentze is one of the most influential music producers in Guatemala and a dear, close friend of mine. We where housemates for some time living in Antigua, Guatemala and I was very close to the creative process during the production of his last album A Helpless Presence. His music inspired the story of LUZ in the first place. Some scenes in the movie are based on true life episodes he lived during his time in Buenos Aires! His music appears in the film and Alex has been an essential part of the creative process.