Three Mexican immigrants risk their lives every day rappelling down some of the tallest skyscrapers in Chicago as they wash their windows. PARAÍSO reveals their thoughts about working, mortality and the people they observe inside the high-rises they clean.
- Best Documentary Short - Tribeca FF
- Best Documentary Short - Seattle IFF
- Best Documentary Short - Cine Las Americas
- Sterling Short Honorable Mention - Silverdocs
- BBC Knowledge Award for Best Documentary Short Film - Melbourne IFF
- Silver Hugo for Best Short Documentary - Chicago IFF
- Jaime Polanco
- Cruz Guzman
- Sergio Polanco
- Nadav Kurtz
- Christopher Markos
- Jay Patton
- Andrew Wehde
- Anthony Gannon
- Nadav Kurtz
- Ronen Landa
I lived in Chicago for a number of years and was always intrigued by its many cultures, often separated by neighborhood, language, class, and nationality. One day, as I was editing a film in a downtown high-rise, a man dropped down inches from my window, cleaned it, and disappeared to the next floor. This momentary interaction piqued my curiosity and seemed a perfect metaphor for our parallel urban lives, separated simply by a barrier as thin as the glass between us.
I decided to make PARAÍSO to cross over this barrier and to capture the window cleaners’ experience of work, daily life, and family. Many of the men who do this work in Chicago are Mexican and live in predominantly Mexican neighborhoods. As we began filming, I realized I was the foreigner in their world. It seemed only appropriate that the documentary be entirely in Spanish, although I don’t speak it, because it is their language and this is their story. Visually, we set out to shoot Chicago as if it were a foreign city from viewpoints only they get to see. And ultimately they led me into deeper questions of faith and mortality, universal questions that transcend cultural boundaries.
- THE STRANGEBIRD COMPANY
Nadav Kurtz was born in 1978 in Tel Aviv, Israel and lived in England and Switzerland before moving to the United States at the age of nine. He began his career as an award-winning commercial and film editor. Most recently, he co-edited BOLDEN, a not yet released feature film shot by Vilmos Zsigmund and with music arrangements by Wynton Marsalis. "STREET THIEF", a feature film he edited and co-produced, premiered at the Tribeca International Film Festival and won Best of Chicago at the Chicago International Film Festival. This is his first short documentary.