Each month we ask a Porteño (Buenos Aires Native) the same 15 questions with the goal of getting a unique perspective on Buenos Aires that visitors and expats alike can learn from. In this month’s edition we meet up with Juan Schmidt, a filmmaker and video producer.
Juan is a graduate of Image and Sound Design from the University of Buenos Aires. He has worked as video store clerk, in film societies, and as a film critic. His current profession is editing and doing camerawork for a wide range of clients that include anything from TV shows to Evangelical conferences. In 2013 he showed his first full length movie, POLVAREDA, at the Mar del Plata International Film Fest and other places. In the meantime, he is releasing his first documentary: LOS MONSTRUOS (The Monsters).
Juan Schmidt: Age 35. Lives in Chacarita. Filmmaker and Video Producer.
1. Describe a perfect day in Buenos Aires for you?
In the morning I would ride my bike. Buenos Aires has a lot of bicycle paths, and beautiful places to ride (like Palermo, Agronomía or San Isidro and Tigre in the north suburbs). Then I would eat lunch in a parrilla with a good wine (specifically a malbec from Cafayate-Salta). Later I would play soccer with friends. And at night I would go from bar to bar: a tour, something that me and my friends call “mogotour” around Palermo or Almagro (where the most milongas or tango clubs are). Then, to a church to confess our sins.
2. Where would you bring someone who is visiting Buenos Aires for the first time?
Neither Puerto Madero or the city center with its ridiculous obelisk. To make the thing a bit typical: I would take them to visit a stadium to see a football match. Or a true tango club, like The Cathedral of Tango. In those places you can meet the true Argentine folklore.
3. Do you have any preferences on where to go shopping or any secrets?
I think one cool thing about Buenos Aires are the fairs (ferias) or markets. You can find anything there; from old and strange things (like an “Ovni Caller” -literally- manufactured in Argentina in the 60´s to contact UFO’s) to imported products from China. One of the best is the fair in Parque Centenario on the weekends. And the people always talk about the famous La Salada Market.
4. What is your favorite restaurant and why?
We have a lot to offer in terms of restaurants. It all depends on what you want to eat. Currently I like going to Le Ble –yes, is a bit frenchy- but they have great vibe, food and a few different locations.
The Trailer for Juan’s new film POLVAREDA (with English subtitles)
5. What is your favorite Parrilla and why?
I don´t have any. In Buenos Aires there are a lot. My secret is to visit small parrillas around Buenos Aires. I think that the more dust on the floor a parrilla has, the better you can eat. An example of a good neighborhood parrilla is Lo de Charly, in Villa Urquiza (Alvarez Thomas 2101), open 24 hours. Don´t forget to eat the molleja, chinchulin and the popular bondipan (a sandwich of swine meat).
6. What place has the best empanadas and why?
The most characteristic tastes or types of “empanadas” are meat, chicken, and cheese and ham. In my opinion the best empanadas of those flavors are from El Imperio (Av. Corrientes 6895) in Chacarita. There is a guy there specialized in empanada preparation. The chicken empanada from there is the best in Argentina and also is the best in the universe.
7. What is your favorite Pizzeria?
We must go back to Av Corrientes where all the best pizzerias are located. Guerrin, On Av. Corrientes 1368 near the city center, is my favorite. Its pizza not only is delicious, it comforts the spirit as well. I recommend to eat it without sitting: the pizza from Guerrin tastes better if you eat it standing on foot, between the taxi drivers.
8. Besides meat and empanadas, what is an Argentine food that everyone has to try?
I think a Milanesa napolitana. Is one of my favorites. And a strange thing: you will not find it in Naples, Italy.
9. What is your favorite bar/club?
At this moment, my favorite bar is Sonoman (Fitz Roy 1655). Great music, not expensive drinks and free entrance. And if you are bored there, you got a lot of good bars near: Carnal, Ferona, Makena. And if you don´t like these others, you can come to my home: it is close by and plays the best music.
An interview with Juan about his new film POLVAREDA (In Spanish)
10. What do you love about Buenos Aires?
The people. We are very social, passionate, interesting… yes, we are the coolest in the world!
11. What do you hate about Buenos Aires?
Its chaos, but at the same time, it is a paradox, it is one of the aspects that make the city so funny. Anything can happen in Buenos Aires.
12. If a tourist wants to spend time in Buenos Aires like a local, what should they do, where should they go?
Don´t end your days in a hostel in San Telmo or Palermo. Rent a room or a flat in a true Porteño neighborhood! Like La Paternal, Almagro or Chacarita. Walk around the streets, talk with the people and drink a beer with the guys on the corner.
13. What is an authentic cultural experience in Buenos Aires where there are no tourists?
The cultural fairs of Parque Centenario and Parque Rivadavia. You will find everything there: books, movies, albums, etc. A few years ago, I saw Thurnston Moore from the band Sonic Youth looking for music in the Parque Rivadavia.
14. What is your favorite Neighborhood? Why?
Villa Devoto. But you must take a bus, the subway doesn’t go there. It is a very nice, quiet neighborhood. I will live there when i am in my 60’s, with a hairy dog and a twenty year old girlfriend.
15. What is your favorite destination in Argentina outside of Buenos Aires to travel to? Why?
The north. Not the south. Start in Tucuman and go up to Salta, Jujuy, the infinite and beyond!