By Kathi Bliss
A movie born, created and completed in Caldwell County is gaining national exposure this week as part of the coveted Miami International Film Festival.
“Hombre y Tierra,” a Spanish-language thriller described by director Christian Cisneros as “The Blair Witch Project” meets “Survivorman,” follows the journey of adventurer Mauro Bosque (played in the film by Austin actor Maurice Ripke) as he searches for ruins in Belize.
In the movie, Bosque is filming himself searching for the ruins for an Internet series, but disappears during the adventure. His disappearance remains a mystery until his footage is unearthed and the truth about his experience is revealed through his films.
“Hombre y Tierra” was a labor of love for The Moving Image Company, a production company founded in 2002 by Cisneros and his business partner Robert Stewart, and later joined by screenwriter Richard Watson. While performing other jobs, the trio, along with Ripke and handful of family and friends working as cast and crew, created “Belize” in Lytton Springs, Texas, and filmed two renditions of the movie – one in English and one in Spanish.
Ripke, the lead actor and the chief cameraman, translated the English-language script into Spanish between takes, and then performed each scene twice.
“We wanted to do something different, to have the movie out in English and in Spanish to reach a larger audience,” Cisneros said. “But we finished the Spanish-language film first, because we wanted it to be a ‘Latino’ film.”
Unfortunately, in speaking to international film distributors, Cisneros said he learned that most foreign distributors, when looking for American films, want English-language films.
The English-language version of “Hombre y Tierra” is still in post-production.
The Spanish-language version, complete with subtitles, will make its international debut on Friday evening, as it screens at the Miami International Film Festival. A private screening for family and friends was offered in Lockhart last year.
Cisneros said he has spoken with the Aviator Theatre, and they are tentatively projecting another local screening of the film this spring.
A Spanish-language theatrical trailer of “Hombre y Tierra” is also available.