Director Duvan Duque On All-Inclusive

Written and directed by Duván Duque, All-Inclusive follows eleven year-old Fer as he is traveling to a countryside resort with his father and stepmother looking for both business and pleasure. This short film portrays a fragile family that is shaken when Fer’s desperate father faces the possibility of money laundering as a way out of their financial struggles, putting Fer’s precious bond with his stepmother at risk. 

Who or what inspired the story?

The initial impulse came from recurrent childhood memories. I had a similar family configuration and went on some trips similar to the one shown in the film. However, I only see this as a point of entry: I was not interested in creating an autobiographical film for the sake of it. I believe entering a project through an extremely personal bond allows for the creation of something that in its specificity, in its honesty, ends up speaking truth to a collective. That’s why the project evolved in such a way that it ended up addressing those topics that have been the subject of my films: the complicated relationship of the Bogotá upper-class with money and corruption, its willingness to keep power at all costs, and the way this deeply rooted social mandate ends up penetrating and tensing the most intimate relationships.

How important was it to leave the audience guessing whether the husband kept his promise to his wife?

Some people read the ending as ambiguous, others don’t. I personally believe there are enough signs to know how faithful will he be towards that promise, and how much she believes in him. What I know is that by taking the point of view of the boy, I was interested in the fragmented information that reaches him. I wanted the viewers to live his emotional ride more than I wanted them to have a clearer picture than him.

Do you think that the film represents Columbians in a positive light?

There’s some debate towards the continuous portrayal of narco traffic and its ramifications in Colombian representation. I’m interested in a cinema that looks at reality, at the world, not at some utopia that’s in the filmmaker’s head. Ignoring social issues feels like closing your eyes. However, I don’t think that dealing with these topics necessarily implies portraying Colombians in a negative light. After all, we all face the challenges that the place we were born in poses on our way. We react to structures that precede us, sometimes in a more flawed way than others, in our constant pursuit of happiness.

What did you look for specifically in the casting of the child actor?

As soon as I met Max I knew he had what we needed: an incredible understanding of deep emotions, a willingness to explore them, and a striking intelligence and maturity for his age. He also shared some of the pains of the character. The film became a way for him to deal with them.

If you developed this further, what elements of the story would possibly be changed?

I’m writing a feature film that started as an attempt to follow a similar type of family at another point of their lives. However, the script has evolved so much that it’s a completely different project from the short by now. It’s completely set in Bogotá, the boy is 16 years old, and his family is somewhat different. I guess that’s natural: it’s not interesting if you’re just repeating what you’ve done.

What kind of response has the film received so far?

It has been great. We premiered at TIFF last year, where we received very exciting reactions from the public. Since then, we’ve been selected in over 60 festivals all over the world, receiving 17 awards. It has been great to witness the strong emotional connection that the film has created in some viewers all over. 

What’s next for you?

I’m writing my first feature while I work on growing my production company in Colombia, Continente Pictures (continentepictures.com)

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