In this edition, Tío Louie interviews filmmaker Paola Mendoza. The interview took place at the August edition of the Prime Latino Media Salón (presented by Tío Louie, HOLA and United Latino Professionals-New York) on Wednesday, August 20, 2014 at Meridian 23 Bar and Lounge in Manhattan's Chelsea neighborhood.
Paola Mendoza has directed both short and feature length films– Entre nos, Half of Her, Autumn's Eyes and La Toma– that have been embraced by film festivals around the world: Toronto International Film Festival, Berlinale, Tribeca Film Festival, Full Frame, South by Southwest. She has starred in many critically acclaimed films, Sangre de mi sangre (Jury Award, Sundance Film Festival), Entre nos (Honorable Mention, Tribeca Film Festival), and On The Outs (Toronto FIlm Festival). She has recently finished writing her first novel, entitled The Ones Who Don't Stay, which was published by Penguin Books in the summer of 2013.
Starring Jamie-Lynn Sigler, Heaven King and Andrés Munar
|Paola Mendoza in Entre nos |
Entre nos (Between Us) was an autobiographical tale. How difficult was taking that on or was it therapeutic? As an artist, I dealt with my past all the time. It first was a novel inspired by my family’s story. I don’t necessarily have difficulty doing autobiographical works. I rather like that it gives me a time and a place to grapple with my own personal issues and make them universal. I didn’t start it off consciously as a form of therapy, but over the years it has become that. There’s a piece of that because I’m constantly asking questions about my family, my history and my past – not just scratching the surface. My family’s history, my mom’s and mine are so full of amazing stories. Artists are constantly digging deeper for that truth. We only find that truth when we continue to ask questions. Since I was a little girl I have been attracted to this. Now as an artist I can use this and I am sure I will again.
|Paola Mendoza and Louis |
Perego Moreno (Tío Louie).
I hear you’re working on a major initiative in Colombia. Is it comprised of several different projects or under one umbrella? It’s one film called A Paso de Mangles (Steps from the Mangroves) and it has a large educational component to it once the film is done. So then we’ll do a whole educational outreach component for women that are survivors of sexual violence in the context of the armed conflict in Colombia. So I’ve been working on the film with Gloria LaMorte for the past two years. She and I have written it together and I am directing it.
Your $0.10 of advice for directors that they don’t ask that they should know? As directors, a lot of people are focused on the artistic side, rather than what it takes to be a leader. The quality of leadership is essential so that a crew believes in you – whether it is five or 500 people. The type of leader I strive to be is a progressive and compassionate leader, which does not entail running the process as a dictatorship. I firmly believe in forging collaborative relationships. And what I find is that it makes you better artistically by collaborating with others.