Soy Buenos Aires: A Calixta Producciones Short
By Sharon Salt.
Tomás Gómez Bustillo, founder and creative director of production company Calixta Producciones, wasn’t always involved in film. That changed during his last year of political science, though, when he decided to double up and begin his first year of film school. It was there that he was given the assignment that would later inspire Soy Buenos Aires.
The assignment itself was a short exercise in which Tom and his peers had to make a piece about Buenos Aires. As a native of Buenos Aires, Tom had a good handle on the material, but he wanted to give it a twist. “If you think about American movies, like Forrest Gump, Big Fish – I really love those movies, those larger-than-life characters, and I wanted to do something similar for Buenos Aires,” he explains. “If that’s the American dream, I wanted to see the Buenos Aires dream. I thought, ‘Why not make Buenos Aires the main character?‘”
From there, it was a matter of writing the script. “How can you represent Buenos Aires with one person? He’s mischievous, classy, intelligent, hard-headed – he has to be a crazy blend of contradictory attributes, and he has to be all these different things at once. How do you make someone seem both rich and poor?“
But Tom lucked out. His roommate at the time, Hernan Bustamante, who happens to be a professional actor, fit the part perfectly. “He actually helped me flesh out the idea that day after class,” explains Tom, “so he knows the character inside and out, helped me develop his life story. I wrote the script, but he gave the character life.“
Because Hernan is half Ukrainian and “half original Native American,” Tom explains, “you can’t make out his features, you don’t know where he’s from.” And that was exactly what the role called for.
Eventually, Tom realized that his idea was bigger than just a class assignment; he wanted to make a polished short, 10-12 minutes long. They hope to have it filmed by July and edited by September with aims for entry in next year’s BAFICI. Now, teaser in hand, they’re seeking more funding to finish the project.
When people ask Tom why he made the switch to film, he explains that he got into political science because he had “a teenage dream of helping humanity. I always thought, society comes first and art comes later – but then I began to see that art can help society if you do it right. You can make a statement.“
Tom has arrived at film from a different career – and thank God. His art is informed by his particular breed of political science perspective, a near-necessity if one hopes to say anything meaningful about this beautifully mixed-up city, through art or otherwise. Rest assured, Soy Buenos Aires is in very good hands.