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“SLEEP DEALER” co-writer-director, Alex Rivera

Rasquachismo. Sleep Dealer is a science fiction set in Mexico. In the script I described everything from exploding buildings and fighter-jet dogfights to remote-control robots. The effects were never the focus of the film — they existed to give a politicized futuristic setting for my characters. When time came to actually produce the insanely challenging visuals, my amazing d.p. and VFX supervisor and I solved many, many problems with rasquachismo. Rasquachismo refers to a spirit in Latino communities of taking what’s at hand, cobbling it together, and making something wondrous out of it. Like using parts of one old car to fix another. And then using paint left over from painting the house to paint over the fix. The patchwork isn’t “right” — but it’s somehow beautiful. Sleep Dealer is a rasquache sci-fi. To realize the visual ambitions of the film, we used everything from huge mirrors to double the size of our sets, to stock footage of visuals we could never produce to a 35 set-up reshoot in my Brooklyn living room. In that my films are always made by trying to get the most out of the few resources at hand, all my films have a spirit of digital rasquachismo. But we could’ve used 10 percent more on this one.

[PREMIERE SCREENING: Saturday, Jan. 19, 8:30 pm — Racquet Club, Park City]

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