“UTAMA,” Bolivia’s entry for the Oscars, heads to theaters next month

Last Updated: October 20, 2022By Tags:

Kino Lorber announced the U.S. theatrical release of “Utama,” the debut feature by photographer-turned-filmmaker Alejandro Loayza Grisi, winner of the Grand Jury Prize (World Cinema Dramatic) at the Sundance Film Festival and Bolivia’s official Oscar submission for Best International Feature Film.

Winner of numerous awards at various international film festivals, including the Grand Prize for Best Film at Transilvania; Best Ibero-American Film, Jury Prize, Best Director, and Best Original Music at Malaga; and Best First Film at Guadalajara—”Utama” is a cautionary tale of survival set in the Bolivian highlands. Loayza Grisi’ drama opens November 4th at Film Forum in New York City with a national roll-out following after this.

“Utama” follows an elderly Quechua couple that has been living a tranquil life for years. While Virginio takes their small herd of llamas out to graze, Sisa maintains their home and walks for miles with the other local women to fetch precious water. When an uncommonly-long drought threatens their way of life, they must decide whether to stay or move in with family members in the city.

Virginio and Sisa’s dilemma is precipitated by the arrival of their grandson Clever, who comes to visit with news. The three of them must face, each in their own way, the effects of a changing environment, the importance of tradition, and the meaning of life itself.

Shot by cinematographer Barbara Álvarez (Lucrecia Martel’s “The headless woman”) “Utama” is a new milestone for Bolivian cinema.