Your new movie Diablo
Rojo PTY - in a few words, what is it about?
Rojo PTY is the story of Miguel Moreno, a driver of the typical Diablo
Rojo, the metropolitan public transport, who one night is attacked by a
witch, Mélida, who drags him by a spell to the far Chirican jungle,
taking his assistant with him and two traffic policemen. There they will
have to face the horror of the tropical imaginary of the area. It is a
presentation of the catalog of dark stories that we have in Panama and
that few want to talk about.
did the project fall together in the first place?
project began when Jota [J.
Oskura Nájera interview - click here] and I lived in Barcelona, as a mixture of what
attracted him the most in our visits to Panama (the decorated and full of
lights buses popularly known as Diablos Rojos) and what I remembered with
longing from my childhood, the stories that my grandmother's sister told
me and my cousins, where there were witches, demonized dogs and fearsome
women like the Tulivieja or the Silampa. In 2016 we decided to move to
Panama, with a rough draft of a script, to start working more seriously on
can you tell us about Diablo
Rojo PTY's writer/producer J. Oskura Nájera, and what was your
have been collaborating on Jota's audiovisual and musical projects for the
last 16 years. We do not follow the tasks established by the roles, but we
rather help and collaborate in everything we can, be it our areas or not.
Jota always has great strength and persistence to carry out the projects
in which he is involved, despite all the adversities, and that makes him
the main engine of Diablo
Rojo PTY, and I am grateful to do this project, and
hopefully, the following projects with him.
I've read somewhere that Diablo
Rojo PTY is Panama's first horror movie - is that true even, and
what made you choose to direct a horror film in the light of this?
Rojo PTY is the first horror feature film in Panama. There are several
horror short films, but in reality in Panama it is relatively new to make
movies (feature films), maybe only the past 10 years or so, and this is
also one of the reasons why it is the first. I
chose to direct a horror feature film because it is within my line of
work. Additionally, I work within the plastic arts, tiptoeing the line of
the dark, the wild, the ugly, the macabre, the viceral, the mystical. Diablo
Rojo PTY is a film about the legends that scared me as a child, it is
perfect for me.
can you tell us about Diablo
Rojo PTY's approach to horror?
Rojo PTY was looking to tell a story in the style of the 80s movies with
prosthetics and animatronic effects, with a little bit of adventure and a
bit of comedy, but we also wanted to work on the concept of women not as
victims, but rather as villains, as terrible women. We
love the gore, the eighties aesthetics and above all, thanks to the lights
of the bus, we managed to give strong importance to red. It also has some
tributes to other movies that we love, especially in the soundtrack and in
the creature of La Tulivieja.
Rojo PTY does feature quite a few awesome creatures - so could you
talk about the effects work in your movie for a bit?
were several trials of the monster until it came to the creature created
by Colombian special effects artist Alex Rojas. Originally
it was inspired by the white monster that appears in Poltergeist, but
taking certain descriptions of the texts that we found about the Tulivieja, since there are many versions in the oral tradition that speak
of it. These and many other references were given to Alex, who worked on
the design of the monster. The
rest of the effects were worked by our art team, by myself and by Jota Nájera,
who are also fans of smearing our hands with slimy substances that stick
to your fingers and nails - we sought to portray the humidity of the
climate, of the body fluids...
few words about your overall directorial approach to your story at hand?
idea was to make a film like the ones we enjoyed, with a structure like
that of B movies from the 80s, but with a language of its own like
tropical terror, jungle terror... For me, the most enjoyable thing was
directing the witches' covens, from the previous rehearsals, feeling the
powerful energy they transmitted and trying to register that force with
the other hand, on the visual side, we play a lot with the symbols (some
appropriate from original cultures or others from neighboring cultures),
which may be not visible to the naked eye. The
paintings on the same bus give you certain clues, on the driver's side a
painting of the Furies as a bad omen of Miguel's tragic end, on Junito's
side with a painting of the speedy Hermes. We tried to give bright colors
to everything that came from the cosmopolitan city, and to the witches the
green and ochre colors, to highlight their wild part.
talk about your key cast, and why exactly these people?
we already had some actors thought of from the beginning of writing the
script such as Leo Wiznitzer [Leo
Wiznither interview - click here] for the role of Father Andrés, or Blas
Valois for the role of the stupid police officer Winnie, we entrusted the
task of helping select actors to casting director Nyra Soberon, we worked
together in the selection, with the characters of Junito, the young
assistant, Teo the good cop, Mélida, Josefina and the witches.
Junito, both Nyra and I made several trips together with Julian in the
Diablos to analyze the behavior of these drivers' assistants, who grz out to
announce the route, and to rush people to get on the bus. For
the witches, we made a call and were looking for girls of similar
appearance, of the same height, dark hair, and strong body, to give the
feeling of a wolfpack. The
complicated thing was the trio Mélida, Josefina and Miguel, which was
worked out by Nyra, since I was hard headed that Mélida should be played
by Alejandra Araúz [Alejandra
Araúz interview - click here], but to my surprise Nyra discovered Natalia Beluche,
who gave everything interpreting Mélida.
can you tell us about the shoot as such, and the on-set atmosphere?
was a bit of a nightmare, always recording at night, getting little sleep,
excessive humidity, heat, the immense amount of insects, fear of seeing
where we stepped, fear of torrential rains that could delay a day of
have I had my legs covered with so many bug bites, some actors and even
Jota had strange reactions on their skin due to contact with the river
water. However, I think that without those locations and without those
Rojo PTY would not had been the same. They gave us the
atmosphere we were looking for.
you can tell us about the audience and critical reception of Diablo
Rojo PTY is a movie made by fans of the 80s horror for fans of the 80s horror.
There have been people who have loved it and people who have not, because
it is not scary enough, or the monster is not very realistic, or other
reasons, but we did not seek to be that type of film either, so we are
happy with the critics, I think almost everyone understood the spirit of
the feature film. At least what we have read so far.
Any future projects you'd like to
Nájera is working on the script for a second part of Diablo
Rojo PTY. I
am also working on several script ideas for short and feature films, and although they are still in the early
stages, they will soon begin to take
What got you into filmmaking in the first place,
and did you receive any formal education on the subject?
studied documentary film, but I soon realized that fiction was my thing,
especially the fantastic and horror. I became a sound technician
specialized in cinema, and I participated in several cinema laboratories.
During the time I lived in Barcelona I was collaborating and learning from
other short filmmakers, making some short films, until the Jota Nájera Megamuerte
project emerged, where I participated in production, production design and
the art department.
can you tell us about your filmwork prior to Diablo
towards experimental videos, in 2012 I made a black comedy short film
called El martillo de las brujas (Malleus Malleficarum) that premiered at
the Sitges festival and was selected in a dozen other festivals. I
collaborated on several short films in Barcelona’s horror scene and my
previous work, as I already mentioned, was on the film Megamuerte,
directed by Jota Nájera and released in 2014 at the Sitges International
Festival. Currently I am still doing some experimental videos but just for
How would you describe yourself as a
think I focus more on the acting part than on the technical part. I
love developing the characters, designing the visual treatment, the use of
colors and the atmospheres, more than in the narrative, in those aspects I
have been very much supported by the assistant director (Sergi Galan). I
work very closely with Jota Nájera who participated a lot in directing,
and I participated with the art department, since I am very into manual
Filmmakers who inspire you?
Bigelow, Mary Lambert, Frank Henenlotter, Lucky Mckee, Jan Svankmajer - and
an endless list. But
Rojo PTY we were inspired by Carlos Lopez Moctezuma's Alucarda, Wes
Craven's The Serpent and Rainbow, mondo movies like Holocausto
also Perdita Durango by Alex de la Iglesia, and
Suspiria by Argento.
The Company of Wolves, Near
Dark, Suspiria, Hasta el viento tiene
miedo and Veneno para las hadas by Carlos Enrique
Carrie (Brian de Palma), recently I really liked Casa Lobo and
Zombie Child, which is maybe a little far from
the rest, I like too many movies.
... and of course, films you really
question, I tend to get a little bored watching movies with many jump
scares and CGI effects like Anabelle and similar movies, and I do not
connect much with Hammer
movies although I consider them super important
and necessary. I
do not like the cinema of Jess Franco or Jean Rollin at all. I think I am
not a very demanding critic.
Your/your movie's website, social media,
Thanks for the