Recipient of more than 30 international awards, Venezuelan film director and screenwriter ALBERTO ARVELO has developed a cinematographic body of work recognized for the profound social and human burden of his characters, and by the visual power of his films. Arvelo describes his work as “an attempt to create an epic of the common man.”
His most recent film, Cyrano Fernández, is an inspiring adaptation of Cyrano de Bergerac, Edmond Rostand’s classic French play. Arvelo’s film preserves the essence of the love triangle, depicting it in the complex and breathtaking environment of a barrio in Caracas.
His documentary, To Play and to Fight, which premiered at the AFI Festival of Los Angeles, pays homage to the Venezuelan Youth Orchestra System. Empowered by renowned classical music figures such as Plácido Domingo, Claudio Abbado, Sir Simon Rattle, and Gustavo Dudamel, this documentary recounts the phenomenon of one of the most moving and renowned social projects in the world. Arvelo’s connection with El Sistema goes back to his career as a cellist in the Youth Orchestra of Venezuela. His film turned out to be the most viewed documentary in Venezuela.
Two of his most emblematic works, One Life and Two Trails and A House with a View of the Sea, form part of his exploration of the South American Andes. A House with a View of the Sea tells a story of discrimination and injustice suffered by a widowed father and his son, in the midst of loneliness and hardship in the Andes. This film was an official selection of the Cannes Film Festival and received 18 awards in more than 50 international festivals.
As a professor at the National School of Cinema in Mérida, Venezuela, Arvelo initiated an original film movement known as “Cine Átomo,” focused on creating real opportunities for young Latin American directors. The concept stems from the idea of producing uncommon, ornate, reflective, and humane movies with only essential crew and production components. The first movie produced using the mechanics of this movement was Habana Havana, directed by Arvelo. The film was given the Venezuelan National Film Award and a dozen international awards. Arvelo said, “The original idea of Cine Átomo is working with a minimal crew, three or four people, giving the basic tools to the young director so that he or she can be almost alone with the creative cinematographic process. In this way the entire evolution of the film comes from the same fertile, creative purity of poetry and paint.”
Arvelo was the recipient of two literary awards from the University of Los Andes (Venezuela) for his essays, Brief Return to Plato, and for his short story, “History of a Face.”
Apart from Cantata Criolla, his creative trajectory with Gustavo Dudamel includes a staging of Mozart’s Don Giovanni, an innovative multimedia production that brought together top-notch musicians and singers from the Venezuelan Youth Orchestra System.
Arvelo is currently working on a documentary based on the figure of Gustavo Dudamel as the conductor of the educational model internationally projected and launched by El Sistema.