“The School gave me the opportunity of Growing up without Frontiers”

We spoke to the alumnus Laura Mora, Film Director.


Laura still remembers the “memorable discussion” with Spanish teacher, Hernando Villa: “He grounded me because I was Reading everything, but the books assigned”. Since then, Laura Mora´s restless personality began to show. Today, this alumnus is a film director and she just launched her first full-length film, “Matar a Jesus” (To Kill Jesus) at the festivals of Toronto, in Canada, and San Sebastian, in Spain, where she was granted important awards. She has fond memories of her passing through our school, reflects on what it means to study at our school and highlights that, due to the education received, you get a broader vision of the world and of what takes place beyond “these mountains that we love so much.”

When she came back to Colombia from Melbourne, where she studied her profession, she had the opportunity of directing the series “Escobar, el Patrón del Mal” (Pablo Escobar, The Drug Lord). She says that she is not afraid of telling about violence and believes that, on the contrary, Colombian filmmaking is in debt with that part of our past.

YACA: How did you get to be a film director?

Laura: “I studied film direction and production in Melbourne, Australia, and there, I made two short films: West and Brotherhood. The latter one was in various festivals and was given several awards, among which, one in a festival called Bogoshorts, which opened doors for me when I came back to Colombia. Once I got back here, I worked as a scriptwriter for many directors and in 2012, I won the award of the “Fondo para el Desarrollo Cinematográfico” (Film Development Fund) with “Salomé”, a short film that allowed me to shoot back in Medellín. This short film participated in many festivals, and so, Carlos Moreno, director of very important movies in Colombia, invited me to direct part of the series “Pablo Escobar: The Drug Lord.” At the same time, the most important project in my life was “To Kill Jesus”. This script also won many awards, which allowed us to finally shoot and produce. We released the film in September at the “Toronto International Film Festival” and, in October, it was in the San Sebastian International Film Festival”. We Will be in movie theaters in Colombia, beginning March 8 of 2018”

YACA: What is To Kill Jesus about?

Laura: “It is a script that I wrote for 10 years, the last four years with Alonso Torres, a scriptwriter of films such as: “Que Viva la Música” (Liveforever), “Todos tus Muertos” (All Your Dead Ones), and “Perro come Perro” (Dog Eat Dog). It is a fiction story based in the pain and reflection after my dad´s assassination, when I was 22 years old. This story arises from these reflections. The story of a girl who witnesses the killing of her dad. Some months later, after having approached all the procedures of the justice system and having to face a very inefficient judicial system, she casually runs into the hitman who had killed her dad, and thus, she, who is a well-educated woman, far away from violence, faces the moral and ethical dilemma of what it would be like to kill a man. She approached Jesus, a guy who is her same age, she slowly understands that he is also a victim of a corrupt system. The film is about what to do when revenge presents itself as a real possibility. You have to watch the film to decide if you have to kill him or not”.

YACA: Where does your interest in filmmaking come from?

Laura: “I come from a family interested in humanism and filmmaking was the perfect instrument to combine all the things that I like. Back at school, I was known for being very curious: All my assignments were videos, plays, … I liked arts, humanism, politics and… somehow, filmmaking was the device in which I could combine all of that, and where I felt I could express all the curiosity I had”.

YACA: What was your time in school like?

Laura: “I appreciate my parents ´decision of enrolling me at The German School of Medellin. I value it deeply. Back in my generation, we were kids of all the neighborhoods of Medellin. We belonged to an intellectual middle-class, very important for the time we were living in. I highlight the importance given to music, humanism, and that horizontal rapport with teachers. I highlight, above all, having access to incredible literature, humanism, politics and being a school where we really mingled”.

YACA: Has the school influenced the way you carry out your work

Laura: “I appreciate the local environment a lot. But I know that this school gave me opportunity of growing up with fewer mental frontiers: the world was there, and it was a very near possibility. The trip to Germany is memorable. By means of music, literature, images and in-class conversations, we managed to understand that the world was there and that it was not unreachable”.

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