Interview with Alejandro Azzano
Writer and Director of SECRET OF THE ANDES

By Theresa Hyde
April 7, 2000

Secret of the Andes is a family adventure. Brook Willings, an American archaeologist, leads an expedition in search of a mysterious pre-Columbian relic, near a tiny village in the Andes. His wife and daughter come to join him and the timing couldn’t be worse; the expedition is proving a failure, the superstitious locals blame Willings for their misfortune, the University that bankrolls the project cuts his funding, and his wife wants to leave him. In the midst of all this, his daughter is befriended by a mystical figure who tells her that the relic has magical powers. She must find it before the evil sorcerer so life in the village will return to normal.


In 1983 Alejandro created Fata Morgana S.A. with Bernardo Nante and Pablo Cairoli (a leading Argentine banker). This company was responsible for the production of numerous Argentinean documentaries and commercials, several of which Alejandro directed. He was also closely associated with Oliver Stone’s Evita and Billie August’s The House of the Spirits. His first feature as director was Venido a Menos, a comedy about the intrigues of an aristocratic family who ran out of money. Together with Bernardo Nante, he has written several screenplays including Papertrap, Off, and El Triangulo de la Serpiente.

Theresa: Tell us about your movie…….
Alejandro: It’s call SECRET OF THE ANDES. It’s a fable. So far, what I’ve seen is that it plays very well for young audiences, for kids between 7 to 14 years old. Kids younger than 7 or 8, maybe will find it difficult to understand fully. And teenagers will find too naive. So, the right age is 7 to 14.

Theresa: Did you a cast a lot of young actors?
Alejandro: It’s basically one actress, she’s actually 10 years old, the heroine of the story, and all the rest are grown ups. She’s American actually, she’s the girl that played in Jurassic Park, her name is Camilla Belle, she’s a very fine actress and if you see the picture, you’ll agree with me.

Theresa: What difficulties did you come up with?
Alejandro: All kinds of difficulties, the weather, blizzards, bad tempers. My film was basically was shot in Argentina, in the Andes mountains. But we did shoot a little bit of it in New York. And because it was in Argentina, it was a rather expensive film. We had to do it in English, because that gave us a possibility of a wider distribution. And that’s why we have a mixed cast. Some actors are Argentinian, some actors are American, we have an English and an Indian actor. Kind of an international cast.

The difficulties in making this picture, we were shooting in the middle of nowhere, in a little town of 300 inhabitants, in the middle of the mountains. We were five hours by car from the nearest city. We're developing in New York. The musician lives in Rome, then we’re headed off in Buenos Aires. So it’s complicated location, logistical problems. But, every film has its own particular problem, and the whole point is overcoming adversities.

Theresa: What would you like to say to the Houston audience about your film?

Alejandro: Everyone feels like a child at heart, and it's a family adventure. It premieres Wednesday April 12 at 5:00pm and another showing on Friday April 14 at 5:00pm.