logo 2014

GIFFONI EXPERIENCE 2014 - 18.27 July

Sections & Films


Category: Edition 2014


Mateo, 16 years old, collects extortion money on behalf of his uncle and uses his pay to help out his mother, who grudgingly accepts the ill-gotten money out of need. They live alone in the poor, violent neighbourhoods alongside the Magdalena River valley in Colombia. To prove his worth, Mateo agrees to infiltrate a local theatre group in order to uncover its members’ political activities. As he becomes enthralled with the free-flowing creative lifestyle of the troupe, his uncle escalates demands on him to produce incriminating information on the actors. Under pressure, Mateo must make difficult choices.

Original Title MATEO
Category Official Competition
Section Generator +16
Tipology Feature Film
Duration 86’
Production Year 2014
Nationality Colombia, France
Directed by María Gamboa
Screenplay María Gamboa, Adriana Arjona
Director of photography Diego Jiménez
Editor Gustavo Vasco
Production Design Camilo Barreto
Costume Design Catherine Rodríguez
Music Marc Huri, Camilo Sanabria
Main cast Carlos Hernández
Felipe Botero
Miriam “Pesca” Gutiérrez
Samuel Lazcano
Leidy Niño
Alexis Guerrero
Produced by Daniel García María, Fernanda Barrientos, Thierry Lenouvel

Maria-Gamboa-portraitMaría Gamboa

Born 1973, Bogotá (Colombia). She studied Film Production and Direction at the New York University (Tisch School of the Arts), Film History and Theory at the Paris I – Panthéon-Sorbonne University, and Screenwriting at the film school La Fémis in Paris. She worked as editor, producer and assistant director in USA and France. In 2006 she directed the short film 20 MIL. MATEO is her directorial debut feature film.











Director’s statement

“While directing a TV series on prevention of adolescents entering the armed conflict, I travelled through different parts of Colombia and was intrigued to find that when teenagers in violent and vulnerable situations had contact, however small, with art groups their lives could be saved. During that time, I listened to an important peace activist in Colombia, a Jesuit priest, talk about the strength of the people from Colombia’s Magdalena Medio valley. He described how many of these courageous men and women had chosen to remain in their territory despite all its shortcomings, and, by holding on to their dignity, were able to carve a peaceful existence for themselves amidst a context of violence. Motivated by a wish to better understand both what dignity meant in everyday life and how art could rescue teenagers at risk, I headed to the heart of the Magdalena Medio. Such region had experienced severe systematic violence over the years while also delivering several successful community-based peace-building experiences. Through collaboration with members of these communities, I have attempted to capture their daily lives through film. As such, MATEO is based on stories that I both witnessed and was told while living in the region, and the cast is composed of local people and many influential community and cultural leaders. In keeping with the reality I found there, the context of violence, while present, is secondary to the affirmation of dignity and personal growth processes prevalent among the communities. By originating the project and actively participating in it, the people from the Magdalena Medio have both inspired and brought to life the film”.



Día-Fragma Fábrica de Películas
Bogotá - Colombia
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distribuzione internazionale/world sales
festival contact

Alpha Violet
14 rue Soleillet, BL 64, 75020 Paris - France
phone +33 147973984
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distribuzione italiana/italian distribution

Cineclub Internazionale Distribuzione