Mark Eisner, Producer/Co-Director
After graduating from the University of Michigan with High Honors in English/Creative Writing, Mark spent many years backpacking through Latin America, focused on experiential learning, especially in Chile, where he translated Neruda on a rustic ranch near the coast. He became friends with Chilean poets, scholars, and members of the Neruda Foundation. Upon his return, he was awarded a fellowship to earn a Masters in Latin American Studies from Stanford University. They subsequently named him a “Visiting Scholar” to continue his scholarly and creative work on Neruda.
On July 12, 2004, which would have been Neruda’s 100th birthday, Eisner was interviewed on NPR’s Morning Edition, reading Neruda’s poetry to millions. That evening at an overflowing Theater Artaud in San Francisco, he helped host what the San Francisco Chronicle called “a perfect birthday party.” Among the elements was the screening of a cinematic exploration of the poet that Eisner produced. It won the Latin American Studies Association’s Award of Merit in Film. This original film serves as the seed for the more ambitious “Pablo Neruda: The People’s Poet.”
Mark is the editor and the principal translator of the critically acclaimed, bestselling The Essential Neruda: Selected Poems (City Lights, 2004). Mark’s new biography on Neruda is forthcoming, ideally to be released in conjunction with the documentary. Writer Cristina Garcia has called it “definitive” and that “it reads like a novel.” He is writing the introduction and overseeing the translation of Neruda’s third book, Venture of the Infinite Man, which City Lights will publish in 2017. He just finished co-editing a multilingual anthology of Latin American Poetry in Resistance, to be published by MadHat in 2017 as well.
Carlos Bolado Carlos co-directed our 2008 shoot in Chile. His 1998 directorial feature debut, Bajo California, won two Ariels, Mexico’s highest cinematic award, including Best First Work and Best Editing; he was also nominated for Best Director. Carlos directed and edited Promises, a documentary about Israeli and Palestinian children, which was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature of 2002. He edited Como Agua Para Chocolate and was an advising editor on Amores Perros. He is set to direct the highly anticipated feature, Tlatelolco68, surrounding the Mexican student movement in the 1960s.
Composer/Performer: Claudio Durán (aka Quique Cruz) will never forget when he was a child and Neruda visited his school, down the coast from the poet's home at Isla Negra. He has performed, taught and recorded Latin American music for over thirty years, specializing in stringed instruments and Andean flutes. He’s joined Jackson Browne, Mimi Baez Fariña, Pete Seeger, and Sting on stage.
Quique scored a gripping soundtrack for the film, performed by his band Quijeremá, who infuse Latin American folk with jazz, bringing a deep sense of ancient musical traditions to contemporary compositions.
He’s won awards from National Endowment for the Arts, the Ford Foundation, and others. Quique’s documentary based on his multi-media memoir Villa Grimaldi: Archeology of Memory was shown on PBS.
Roddy Blelloch, Director of Photography Roddy is a Chilean-British-American director and cinematographer. He wrote and directed his first film, “American Vagabond in Cuba”, in 1994 in Chile. Since then, he has worked on dozens of documentaries and TV series covering everything from US immigration to the San Francisco Symphony's. Blelloch was the DP for the Emmy-nominated PBS series “New Americans.” His first feature documentary, “Tell It Like It Is,” relates the story of Oakland blues artist Lady Margaret, and premiered at the Film Arts Festival in 2004. His work regularly appears on dozens of major networks including: PBS, BBC, ABC, CBS, Discovery Channel, and National Geographic.
Hélène Cardona, Associate Producer Hélène is a poet, actor, translator, and producer, the recipient of numerous awards and honors including a Hemingway Grant and the USA Best Book Award. Acting credits include Chocolat, Jurassic World, Mad Max: Fury Road, Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, X-Men: Days of Future Past, The Hundred-Foot Journey, Serendipity, and Mumford. Hélène helped produce eight films, notably the award-winning documentary Femme. Her books include three poetry collections, most recently Life in Suspension and Dreaming My Animal Selves, and three translations.
Born in Paris to a Greek mother and Spanish father, she graduated from the American Academy of Dramatic Arts in New York, holds a Masters in American Literature from the Sorbonne, and speaks six languages.
Tina Escaja, Ph.D., Scholarly/Creative Advisor Tina is helping the filmmakers probe for further insight and checking the veracity of their research and conclusions. The project counts on a handful of such experts, but Tina’s activist-creative background beyond the academic makes her such vibrant asset. She’s a Professor of Spanish at the University of Vermont, focusing on Latin American Literature, and is a member of the Film Studies Faculty. An award winning poet, she also creates experimental and multimedia works and has displayed her art internationally.
Consulting Producer Lily Gálvez Lily fled her native Chile after the 1973 coup, beginning her film career in exile in Eastern Europe, starting in the famous East German state studios. Among the docs she’s produced since her 1987 return to Chile is a biography on Neruda’s second wife, the artist and activist Delia del Carril. She currently heads the Film Department at Universidad ARCIS in Santiago. Lily has been indispensible facilitating our production work in Chile.
Gail Silva, Consulting Producer Gail was the primary force behind Film Arts Foundation for over 25 years, first as co-director, then ED and finally president. In 2002, she received the California Arts Council’s “Directors Award” for her years of dedication to artistic excellence and advocacy. She’s a principal screener for entrants to the Sundance Film Festival, among others. Gail has been working with Mark Eisner since 2007 on various creative projects, and has been a key asset in the development of this film, especially helping him be awarded a grant from Latino Public Broadcasting.