|Producer Miguel Necoechea speaks to the audience.|
"La Yuma" was an international collaboration, with French director Florence Jaugey at the forefront (she wrote the script as well,) Mexican producer Miguel Necoechea (whose film "Chamaco" is also out now,) and Nicaraguan cast and crew.
La Yuma is a story of finding hope in seemingly discouraging places. This is what lead actress Alma Blanco portrays so well on screen playing Yuma, a strong young woman who uses boxing as her escape from the extremely littered and dangerous streets of Managua, Nicaragua. As she gets better, it seems that her home and personal life get in her way, with an unsupportive mother who she must support financially along with her innocent brother and sister and mother's disgusting, good-for-nothing boyfriend.
Throughout parts of the film, there are gleams of heroism coming from others, like the job Yuma takes under her comical patrona, and an intelligent young man she shares a romance with after "salvandole la vida," Ernesto. Overall, Yuma's uninterrupted courage and strength allow her to rise up on her own, without handouts, and does not allow herself to be distraught over the contaminated atmosphere she is surrounded by, this including her friends form the barrio, Culebra, El Down, and Polvorita, who throw their own punches to her, bringing her down for pursuing boxing.
The film does not discriminate in the slightest, incorporating actors like twins Emir and Raul Cabezas, who have down syndrome and surprisingly add comic relief to the film, as well as Yuma's close friend who is transgender and also delivers timely and fun lines.
The film was the first ever to premier at LALIFF in the 14 years of its existence. which is encouraging to the Nicaraguan community present who claimed their orgullo to Necoechea, answering questions after the film.
"I want to see if more films can be made" in Nicaragua, Necoechea said. "This took a lot of effort. It took four years to be made and represents great effort form the film making community in Nicaragua," which, until now, Necoechea said was non existent. "La Yuma" strongly demonstrates the reality and talent coming out of Nicaragua and will certainly change that.