Romantic Comedy filmed in La Antigua Guatemala
Close up and in focus with filmmaker Chris Kummerfeldt Quiroa by Bessie Byrne.
For Kummerfeldt, hunting is an important part of finding purpose and meaning. But it can also be seen as the everyday process of living. “We’re all hunting for something,” he says, “and this process is very spiritual.”
After five years of planning, one month of filming and eight months of editing, the company recently released “Hunting Party,” which was filmed entirely in La Antigua Guatemala. The film debuts this month in Guatemala.
“No matter where you point the camera, you’re going to see something gorgeous,” Kummerfeldt says about filming “Hunting Party” in Antigua.
The story is about world travellers, home, and what it means to find oneself in a place where you can be anyone you want to be—part of the romance that lures so many visitors to Antigua.
In the film, three young, bohemian men spend their last epic night together. With nothing else to lose, they escape into the heart of Antigua looking for love, adventure and answers. They find them in the form of Agnes, a mysterious Israeli, and Genevieve, a French globetrotter. Between booze and the backdrop of colonial Antigua, the three of them fall in love with the two.
The roles were written with specific people in mind, but originally Kummerfeldt wasn’t set on casting these people. “It was a bit of a battle trying to find the right actors.”
Selected to star in the film were Camille Pellerin, Emily K. Rose, Fernando Franco, and Hector Pizarro. As well as writing, directing and producing the film, Kummerfeldt ended up acting in it, too.
He says this was probably a mistake: “You should never act in your own films. The whole production process changes when you act in your own films.” Kummerfeldt says his character is a mixture of people, “during production the characters take a life of their own.”
A big challenge was funding. “The script was too ambitious for the time frame and funding available. It was such an ambitious project.” Nonetheless this Guatemalan romance comedy is seducing audiences with its intensity and charm.
For September showings of “Hunting Party,” visit Facebook: The Hunting Party Feature Film. For more information visit hunter11films.com. Watch the trailer here: www.youtube.com/watch?v=5D1QZW2otOc
Kummerfeldt says it is “unfortunate” that he was born in Guatemala City. As soon as he was old enough, he would escape to Antigua a few times a week. He now lives in Antigua and is still in love with it. “It’s a highly romantic place, very important to modern Guatemalans but with deep historical importance too.”
With two feature films and a poetry book being released this year, Kummerfeldt is beginning to roll the world around his spool. For many, embarking on a path of creativity is as much about the lifestyle as it is about the end goals. For Kummerfeldt it’s both.
“I love the lifestyle of being a filmmaker, but I have other interests, too,” says the 28-year-old Guatemalan. “At the moment I’m still a poet trying to be a filmmaker,” he says humbly, even through he’s working on his fourth feature film.
Kummerfeldt is part genuine bohemian, part serious entrepreneur. Before deciding to formally study film, Kummerfeldt studied economics and business administration at the University Francisco Marroquín. He worked as an art photographer, a musical director, organized festivals and began writing poetry.
With a grandfather who’s a painter and a sister who’s a poet, it’s no surprise Kummerfeldt’s family was supportive when he said he wanted to be a filmmaker. After taking a short course in film at Casa Comal in Guatemala City, Kummerfeldt took the plunge in 2010 and moved to Canada to study at the Vancouver Film School.
During the one-year film course Kummerfeldt met a group of likeminded colleagues, and together they founded Warmland Films. He exiled himself in Canada for another three years working on various film projects before returning to Guatemala to tackle filmmaking on his home turf.
Kummerfeldt describes himself as resilient, “I was never the most handsome or smart or rich but I was always the last to give up.”
One of the strange turns in Kummerfeldt’s own plot line came about when he landed a gig making a film for a mining company. He was approached by the mining company and told he would be given a budget and have total creative freedom to tell whatever story he discovered. It was an experience he couldn’t say no to.
The result was “The Heart of the Mountain,” a film about balancing short-term gains and long-term side affects — a dilemma many people face every day. “People try to isolate the problems, but mining’s roots are deeply historical,” says Kummerfeldt. “It’s highly political and you have to look at the big picture.”
Kummerfeldt learned that there are always two sides of a story. “I learned a lot. When mining projects roll into town, people get affected on both sides.” He says he gained a lot from the experience and was honored to get to know people of Mam ethnicity, a small indigenous group from rural Guatemala.
However, his next project was a reaction in the opposite direction. “I needed to wash my hands after that,” says Kummerfeldt. “I wanted to do something as extreme, from the other side of the spectrum.”
He found just the right story deep in the jungle of Petén. «Sobre Tigres y Quijotes» is about the extinction of the Mayan biosphere. More specifically, about a group of rangers’ mission to protect what’s left. “It’s hopeless, done for, no NGO can stop it,” says Kummerfeldt, “but this group of forest rangers risk their lives every day to stop poachers and illegal logging.”
On top of poetry and filmmaking, Kummerfeldt finds time to write scripts, which he sells to top off the bank account. He also teaches script writing independently and at Casa Comal.
No doubt Kummerfeldt will continue hunting for challenges; maybe soon he’ll migrate north and hunt more generous pay checks, but for now he says he still has many of his own stories to tell before he goes to work on the stories of others.
He has his sights on making more fiction feature films, but is continuing to learn from documentary work, “making documentaries is great training but fiction is a whole different beast.”
The last refuge of
decadence and heresy.
The Valhalla of bohemians.
The global vortex of all aching souls.
A chapel of vices and pleasures.
The only promised heathen for those infected by loneliness.
Love happens when two lonely
people meet. Antigua.
— Chris Kummerfeldt