Interviews | Belize Guatemala | 08.02.24

Un Vinito With Francis Ford Coppola

We grabbed a few moments with one of the greatest filmmakers of all time.

Francis Ford Coppola tells us what he’s up to in lockdown, the inspiration behind his ecolodges in Belize and Guatemala, and a little advice for any budding writers out there – just in time for our travel writing competition.

Where are you at the moment and what are the three things that have kept you most entertained during lockdown?

I am in the rural setting of Napa Valley, along with all my kids and their kids. We observed the social distancing for about the first three weeks and slowly began less distance, yet always observed the basics; no touching, frequent hand washing, etc.

I believe it was Jean-Paul Sartre who said, if you’re bored when you’re alone, you’re in bad company. So, I’m quite comfortable thinking, reading and writing. Watching the kids is always great entertainment and there’s joy in any kind of learning, so reading is fulfilling.

My wishes are for all to be safe and well.

Harry, our Director, saw Tetro with you in San Telmo’s pre-final edit and remembers how well it captures the mood of the city. What aspects of life in Argentina do you miss most?

I miss the warm embrace everyone gives you when they say hello or goodbye. Even the taxi drivers. I miss drinking mate with my friends.


If you could capture the essence of another Latin American country on film, where might it be?

Perhaps Peru. I find the culture and landscapes very inspiring.


You are prolific in your output – where do you like to write?

The ‘where’ is less important to me than the ‘when’: I am most productive early in the morning.


Who or what most inspires you?

Any expression of love or affection between people.


You are a big wine man and, indeed, produce your own wines in California. What are your current favourites from Latin America?

I very much admire Argentine wines, particularly Malbec, Torrontes and Tempranillo.

You own three magnificent properties in Guatemala and Belize. Blancaneaux was originally a family retreat – what inspired you to create your jungle paradise?

It was inspired by the time I spent in the jungles of the Philippines making Apocalypse Now.

We’re running a travel writing competition for our community and wondered what tips you might have for any writers out there.

Write what you love. If what you express is personal and reflects what you feel, it is a good beginning.

The Francis Ford Coppola Hideaways include Be Jardín Escondido, a chic boutique in Buenos Aires’s Palermo neighbourhood; Blancaneaux Lodge, an ecolodge deep in the Belizean jungle; La Lancha, a lakeside retreat near the ruins of Tikal; Turtle Inn, a heavenly beachfront property near Placencia on Belize’s Caribbean coast; Palazzo Margherita, on a Bernalda hilltop in southern Italy; and, the newest addition, Cassa Zenda, a private jungle and riverside hideaway on Guatemala’s Rio Dulce.

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