After being rejected by the girl of his dreams because of the color of his skin, Roberto Lopez will transform himself from a brown-skinned Peruvian into a blonde American.

Alex Fischman Cardenas’ ‘Alienación’ is a story that runs deep in many latin American countries. A story of representation and the ideology of being someone you are not. Based on a short story by Peruvian author Julio Ramón Roberto, the film takes an original approach in building its character and story. One that let’s you empathize with the main protagonist – who is marvellously played by Aníbal Lozano Herrera, but also despair at some of his decisions. The unexpected and heartbreaking turning points make this film quite gripping from beginning to end.

I made Alienación to remind ourselves to be proud of who we are

I grew up in a privileged household, in a bubble inside a third world country. Went to a school that taught better English than Spanish, I watched American movies rather than Peruvian productions. Listened to classic rock instead of salsa. And after graduating, I went to college in the US not in Lima.

I never felt Peruvian, but when I began studying film in Boston, I didn’t feel American either. I realized I had been running from my culture, from the place where I grew up. As much as I tried modulating my words, I would always speak English with an accent. I was not Peruvian, and I was not American. That’s when the short story by my favorite Peruvian author came to mind, alienación.

Although Roberto and I grew up in drastically different households, I felt deeply connected with the story Julio Ramón Roberto illustrated over 50 years ago. It’s the story of being ashamed by the color of your skin, by the music that you hear, by any remote semblance of Peruvian culture.

As a Peruvian it took me a long time to be proud of my country, but it shouldn’t have. We have a rich history of culinary and cultural monuments and achievements. A country bursting with life and passion across its diverse regions. I made Alienación to remind ourselves to be proud of who we are, and, to teach everyone around the world to be comfortable inside their own skin.