We caught up with Los Angeles-based video editor, filmmaker, and frequent traveler, Nate Connella, to talk about the video he made on a recent trip to Peru.
What inspired you to visit Peru?
Peru has always been a bucket-list country for my wife and me. We run a travel blog called The Tipsy Gypsies, and had just finished traveling for a month in Mexico — Peru was next on our list. I knew before arriving that Peru was a country I wanted to make a film about, so as soon as we hit the ground, my camera was out at all times.
What did you know about the country prior to visiting? What do you learn while you were there?
I knew the basics: a bit about Machu Picchu, some about the Incas, and that Peruvian cuisine is really good (thanks “Chef’s Table!”). But it took traveling across the country to fully understand just how diverse of a country it really is. Every region is totally unique, from its clothing to its food, and Peruvians are extremely proud of where they live. I was mesmerized by the fashion of each region we visited, too. The women in particular have the most amazing clothes and hats; I was constantly looking forward to seeing what they wore in the next town on our list.
How did you initiate filming people given the language barrier?
I’ve been filming around the world for almost two years now, so I’ve learned that with a smile, some good pantomiming, and a few basic words, you can almost always communicate your request. Permission before filming has always been an important factor to me, and I find that most people are happy to help if you ask. For one week of our trip, we had the help of a local Peruvian company called Kuoda Travel, without whom this film would not have been possible. Not only did they help us communicate while we were with them, but they also helped us find locations we wouldn’t have been able to find on our own. So I owe a huge thanks to them for being co-producers on this film.
Is there something specific about the country that you wanted to showcase with this video? If so, what is it?
For me, it always comes down to the people. There are, of course, iconic locations worth capturing such as Machu Picchu and the salt mines of Maras, but every adventure that was truly memorable to me always came down to the people. Therefore, I knew before filming that I wanted to show the Peruvians we met as much, if not more than the beautiful sites.
The tempo of the music and the shots of the landscape create a really interesting effect — does this mirror the pace of life in Peru, or is it different when you’re there?
I always try to seek out music that reflects the feeling and instrumental elements of the country the film is about. I was lucky to find a couple of tracks that fit what I was looking for from some composers I’d worked with in the past. I would say I did my best to match the tone of the music to the feeling of each place. Life in the villages feels peaceful, while Peruvian cities can be full of energy. I can’t think of one negative experience we had, so I hope the music also reflects my love and admiration for the people we met along the way.
Was there a distinct quality to this country that you’ve never experienced before? If so, what was it?
This may sound silly, but I would call Peru the India of South America. India is the only other place I can think of that really feels so different as you travel from region to region. And also the colors — both countries are really colorful. It might also be because India and Peru are two of the countries I’ve felt most welcome in. So while I’ve experienced these elements before, as I continue to travel through South America, Peru is standing out for me because it exemplifies these qualities.
Would you go back?
Absolutely! I’ll be back in less than a month, actually. I’m currently filming for Kuoda Travel (the company that helped produce Rhythms of Peru) in Argentina, Chile, and Ecuador, and then finishing up in Peru while covering the north — which we did not visit on our last trip. So I’m excited to go back.