THE BALLAD OF OPPENHEIMER PARK
Canada, Mexico/ 2016
Director: Juan Manuel Sepúlveda
Director Juan Manuel Sepúlveda spent two years hanging out in Vancouver’s Oppenheimer Park in the Downtown Eastside, getting to know its regulars and letting his camera roll. With his keen sense of framing, the action remains within the confines of the park and films the daily life of Harley, Bear, Janet and Dave. Officially opened in 1902 by Vancouver’s second mayor, David Oppenheimer, the park carries a complicated history from First Nations burial site, to the heart of the Japantown community that was forcibly dispersed by the internment programs of WWII, to recognition following months of protests in 2014 that the park rests on the unceded territory of the Musqueam First Nation. Through allowing for direct participation in the filmmaking process and playing with tropes from the Western genre, Juan Manuel Sepúlveda has created an extraordinary and controversial documentary where the day to day life in this park converts it into a ritualistic space in the struggle to overcome historical and ongoing hardships.
‘’Sepúlveda offers up an intimate group portrait that can be both heartbreaking and hilarious, focusing on a few lost souls banding together against the raw deal handed to their tribes.’’ Jordan Mintze, The Hollywood Reporter.
La Balada del Oppenheimer Park es una película sobre el proceso que siguen Harley Prosper, Janet Brown y Bear Raweater (indígenas exiliados de reservaciones canadienses) mientras crean una película dentro del perímetro del parque donde se reúnen a beber todos los días. Utilizando su vida cotidiana y su larga historia de opresión, ellos transforman el diario rito de beber en una celebración desafiante.
Producers: Juan Manuel Sepúlveda, Elsa Reyes, Isidore Bethel
Writers: Juan Manuel Sepúlveda, David Cunningham
Cinematographer: Juan Manuel Sepúlveda
Editors: Isidore Bethel, León Felipe González, Juan Manuel Sepúlveda
Cast: Harley Prosper, Marcus “Bear” Raweater, Janet Brown, Dave Young, Kimble, Lorn, Joe Chastis, Rosa Matilpi
Juan Manuel Sepúlveda (b. Mexico, 1980) is a director and cinematographer, and a recent graduate of the MFA in film program at Simon Fraser University. His first feature film, The Infinite Border (2007), premiered at the Berlin Film Festival, and he was the director of cinematography of Leap Year (2010), which was awarded the Camera d’Or at Cannes.