“Nothing will be as before” is the logline of a new Dominican Republic-produced film release, Biodegradeable, by long-time music video producer and first-time feature film director, Juan Basanta. It refers to the changes for the characters and the society depicted in the new movie which stars Rayniel Rufino and Liz Gallardo.
Biodegradeable is set in a post apocolyptical future, where nations have been replaced by Projects that are managed like corporations, and neighborhoods are Quadrants that are closely monitored by the supervisors of the Projects led by a man named Blas. Productivity at all costs is at the core of the new society. Against this backdrop, Rosa Santos(Liz Gallardo), a university student, falls in love with Daniel(Rayniel Rufino), another student from a lesser Quadrant, much to the dismay of her mother. Rosa’s mother will stop at nothing to better hers and her daughter’s life including forcing her to marry an influential member of the Supervisors, Stefano Gravelli, a move that unleashes a series of events that will drag Rosa and Daniel into a conflict of political intrigue and danger. It is Romeo & Juliet meets Rollerball(the original 1975 version starring James Caan and John Houseman not the very bad 2002 remake).
The film is an adaptation of a popular and controversial Dominican Republic novel set during the dark days of the Trujillo era. Owing to the deep divisions over the legacy of the strongman in the country even forty years after his death plus the desire to make the movie more accessible and appealing to non-Dominican audiences, the story setting was moved to a time in the future. Juan Basanta labored for two years to get the financial backing to get the movie made by his own production company, Basanta Films.
In speaking with both Rayniel and Juan in separate interviews, a deeper meaning of the logline, Nada será como antes!(Nothing will be as before), comes out. Besides the changes created in the characters and society depicted in the movie, it also represents a major step forward for a growing Dominican film industry. Utilizing a 25 percent tax credit offered by the national government to film and video production companies, the Dominican Republic has seen a major growth in video and film production. Film production has grown from three to five films per year, mainly for domestic release to an average of over twenty, including portions of several international productions. Juan Basanta, himself, has worked with major musical artists such as Daddy Yankee, Maná, Ne-Yo, Kat de Luna and Wisin & Yandel to name a few. His company also helped produce Vin Diesel’s 2009 short film “Los Bandoleros”, a pre-quel for “Fast and Furious IV”. While the Dominican Republic may never become the new Hollywood, it appears to be taking a step up on the international feature production stage with the release of “Biodegradeable”.
The film is scheduled to premiere in the Dominican Republic on November 14th. There are currently negotiations under way to release the film in Mexico and the United States at an undetermined future date.