A version of this story about “Prayers for the Stolen” first appeared in the International issue of TheWrap’s awards magazine.
“Prayers for the Stolen,” Mexico’s entry in the Best International Feature Film Race at the Oscars, deals with a trio of young girls growing up in a Mexican mountain village where a drug cartel looms as both a threat and a potential employer. TheWrap sat down with Tatiana Huezo, a long-time documentary filmmaker making his first work of narrative fiction for Netflix.
Are there ways in which narrative fiction is more challenging than nonfiction?
Yeah. Just speaking in terms of the production machinery that fiction involves, it’s exponentially larger than documentary. For 15 years I’ve only been working with a crew of 15 people, but on this movie, we had more than 100 people on the crew and many different departments that are new to me. Costume, makeup, animal trainers, visual effects… The art department alone was almost like a small army.
For example, in (the documentary) “Tempestad,” because water and storms were very important, I actually employed meteorologists who would guide me to where the storms and the wind were. In this film, I also wanted there to be a lot of rain and wind, but instead, I had this amazing special effects team who could make it rain when I said rain. And it was also really interesting for me to actually create the sets – the whole poppy field was something that we constructed for the film. The same art department constructed each of the flowers, each of the bulbs, all made out of latex. In the houses that have mold, all the mold has actually been drawn by the people in the art department. That’s the biggest difference, that in fiction you have to create everything.
Mexico Daily Post