Filming Tradition Day in San Antonio de Areco

Gabriel Balanovsky is interviewing, Ginger Gentile is filming, Zulma is doing sound and Gary Parker, the Executive Producer, is looking on.

Gabriel Balanovsky is interviewing, Ginger Gentile is filming, Zulma Berardino is doing sound and Gary Parker, the Producer, is looking on. Photo by Daniela Java

On November 8th and 9th, San Telmo Productions went to San Antonio de Areco, about an hour outside of Buenos Aires but a world away from the hustle and bustle of the city. We went to capture the unique gaucho traditions on display at the annual tradition day festival, which features rodeo competitions and a parade. But for the locals, it is a chance to show off their horses and horse riding skills (as well as cool clothes).

It was amazing to see hundreds of newly broken-in horses enter the ring, each small group led by a gaucho.  After all the guachos parade them past the juding stand (where they are judged on health and apperance), the gauchos stampede them through the ring, and then heard them togehter again. Hundreds of horses running around, is quite a site to capture on video!

And it got us thinking. . . why not take advantage of all this beautiful scenery, horses and gauchos as the backdrop to a fiction film? A similar technique was used in Mira Nair´s “Salaam Bombay!”

when she filmed a pivital scene in the middle of a festival–the thousands of people you see are not extras, they are really participating in a street festival.

But enough dreaming. . . we also interviewed quite a few gauchos about the knives that they all wear tucked into the back of their belts. While they were once used for self-defense, now the guachos call the cops when they have a problem! San Antonio de Areco is a center for traditional knife making, and the crew spent the night at a beautiful quinta (small country house with a pool) owned by the Draghi family, the leading silversmiths in the town.

One sad note, while we filmed a lot of women on horseback, no woman participated in the contests. Hope that will change soon!

See the shoot´s photographer´s blog at


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