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OFFICIAL SELECTION - To Save and Project: The MoMA International Festival of Film Preservation | "A provocative addition to the literature of incarceration." - The New York Times
Experimental Penal Colony in Peru • Prisons • Criminal Justice • Colonization of the Amazon • Rediscovered Archival Film
Date of Completion: 1987 | Run Time: 72 minutes | Language: Spanish, English & German with Spanish, English, German & Italian subtitles | Captions: No | Director: Walter Saxer | Producer: Walter Saxer | DOP: Rainer Klausmann | Editing: Micki Joanni | Music: Jindrich Konir | Sound Mix: Haymo Henry Hayder | Commentary: Mario Vargas Llosa | Camera Assistant: Jorge Vignati Ojeda | Production Manager: Gustavo Cerff Arbulú | Co-Production: Alive Film & TV Production, Zurich
SEPA, NUESTRO SEÑOR DE LOS MILAGROS is the name of an open air penal colony created in 1951 by the Peruvian Government within the national effort to colonize the Amazon territories by promoting agricultural practices amongst inmates in a 37.000 hectares piece of land in the jungles of Central Peru. The 1987 documentary directed by Walter Saxer is the only window into this experimental penal colony in Peru, where no camera has ever entered and little has been written about.
The New York Times | Glenn Kenny
"A provocative addition to the literature of incarceration."
The Last Thing I See
"An engrossing cinematic essay on captivity and detention, Sepa offers a different perspective, a different piece of a larger conversation, and feels pressing and urgent, as much today as in 1986."
The Film Stage | Jaime Grijalba
Boomstick Comics | Bryan Kluger
"Sepa shows that the traditional prison system isn’t working, with its mere existence being a protest. Recommended!"
Backseat Mafia | Rob Aldam
"Lost for decades, the newly restored SEPA: Nuestro Señor de los Milagros is a fascinating insight into a different way of treating felons....a film which is both deeply empathetic and thoroughly engrossing."
"After languishing in a closet for more than three decades, this newly-rediscovered film is a unique documentary record of a bold and troubling experiment in criminal justice."
Il Cinema Ritrovato, Bologna, Italy (World Premiere)
Festival PlayDoc Tui, Galicia, Spain (Spain Premiere)
Festival Corrientes, Arequipa Peru
To Save and Project: The MoMA International Festival of Film Preservation (North American Premiere)
Festival de Lima, Lima, Peru (Peruvian Premiere)
Frontera Sur Festival, Chile
Metrograph (North American Theatrical Release)
American Cinematheque (Theatrical)
CCAAA 2022 World Day for Audiovisual Heritage, Sala Azul, Lima
REQUEST A GOOD TALK WITH WALTER SAXER
Director & Producer of SEPA, NUESTRO SEÑOR DE LOS MILAGROS
REQUEST A GOOD TALK WITH MICAELA SAXERIndependent Filmmaker
Micaela now lives between New York and Iquitos, where she works in independent film production. She has frequently collaborated as an associate producer with Nadia Szold's Cinema Imperfecta production company, Quentin Andre's Junk Productions, Pressman Films and recently with Radical Media in NYC. In the city of Iquitos, Micaela founded the production company Yacumama Films E.i.r.l. In 2019 she won the DAFO 2019 award for the Conservation of Audiovisual Works with the project "Sepa, Nuestro Señor de los Milagros". This documentary directed by her father Walter Saxer in 198, is the only audiovisual document about the Sepa penal colony.
Currently, Micaela is developing a documentary project “Down By These Rivers - Gloria” about the relationship between mother and daughter, focusing the camera on her own mother and maternal grandmother, both from the Peruvian Amazon. The project is co-produced with Felicitas Raffo's Argentinian production company CEPA Cine.
Micaela's most ambitious project is to transform "La Casa Fitzcarraldo" into a unique audiovisual creation and education center in the city of Iquitos. The objective of this project is to promote intercultural dialogue between Amazonia and the world through the use of film. Being the daughter of a Peruvian woman and a Swiss man, Micaela focuses all her work searching for dialogue between cultures, unpacking the difficult knots created by colonialism still very present today. Micaela believes that film can help heal ancient wounds through the use of the power of narrative.