La Chana won the Audience Award in its World Premiere in the Panorama section of the International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam (IDFA) in November 2016. The film was nominated for the IDFA Alliance of Women Film Journalists' EDA Award for Best Female-Directed Documentary. La Chana was also selected as one of 8 projects, nominated by heads of studies of European Training Initiatives, to be presented at DOK LEIPZIG 31 October – 6 November 2016. Flamenco Biennale/Amsterdam presents La Chana on tour in January, 2017.
Self-taught Gypsy dancer, Antonia Santiago Amador, known as La Chana, turns 70 December, 2016, lives happily in Catalonia (Spain). In the 1960s and 1970s, La Chana was one of the biggest stars in the flamenco world, surprising audiences worldwide with her innovative style, speed, and inventive use of rhythm.
Peter Sellers, with whom she features in The Bobo (1967) invited her to Hollywood. Instead, she suddenly disappeared. As we follow the backstage drama leading to La Chana’s final seated performance in 2013, she unravels her turbulent life and reveals the secret that cut short her performing career: for 18 years she was a victim of domestic abuse at the hands of her first husband, a fellow Gypsy and flamenco guitarist.
This film brings us under the skin, into the mind and spirit, of a talented Gypsy with a vivid imagination. Sensuous, vulnerable, but seemingly invincible, she is now teaching a new generation of flamenco artists notably Karime Amaya, the grand-niece of Carmen Amaya. La Chana brings us into the essence of her passion and reveals an inspiring story that crystallizes the clashes and contradictions in her life.
This documentary should awaken respect for Gypsies, and celebrate the resilience of a determined woman. Gypsy culture is insular, and in-depth awareness of women's lives is unaccessible to media or portrayed stereotypically. Beyond questions surrounding music as therapy or domestic violence, this film for La Chana is a chance to extol the mysteries of being.
Producer/Director: Lucija Stojevic
We appreciate your support for this film. TVE (Spanish public TV) is a co-producer/broadcaster. The project participated in the European MEDIA training initiative ESoDoc in 2013 and was pitched at Documentary in Europe. It was selected for the project market of East Doc Platform 2014, and as one of 16 projects selected for Speed Meetings with the Industry at Docs Barcelona 2014.The production team is planning audiences engagement within the Roma communities both in Europe and USA. We believe this film can play an important role in those communities to encourage women and girls to strive for their dreams and fight for their rights. Empowerment through stories is the power of documentaries.
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NYWIFT programs, screenings and events are supported, in part, by grants from New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council, and New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature.
Last updated: Dec. 21, 2016