For two years, the women worked on the script of ENTRE NOS, which begins when Mariana (played by Mendoza and based on her mother) is abandoned by her husband in Queens with two young children and $50 to her name. Unable to speak English, Mariana struggles to find work to keep her family together.
For La Morte, the film is about how a family survives by banding together. “When Mariana is at her lowest, she sees a light at the end of the tunnel because of her children,” says La Morte. “When they all work together, the family is strong. No matter what’s put in front of them, they triumph.
“I hope that families facing these kinds of [economic] difficulties … can find hope and inspiration from the story.”
Mendoza, who was last seen in SANGRE DE MI SANGRE, winner of the best film award at the 2007 Sundance Film Festival, credits La Morte with giving the film a spine of realism.
“Neither one of us could have directed this movie alone,” says Mendoza. “It’s a personal story for me, and Gloria kept the movie from becoming just a gushing tribute [to my mother]. Gloria made sure the story became universal.”
ENTRE NOS, a film written by Gloria LaMorte & Paola Mendoza, and a Cinereach grant recipient, will make its World Premiere at the 2009 Tribeca Film Festival. Mendoza directed as well as starred in this film, which follows the hardships a family goes through after relocating to New York from Colombia. Please visit the Tribeca Film Festival website for more details about screening dates, times and location.
RFF Advisor Paola Mendoza’s film Entre Nos, which she directed, co-wrote with Gloria LaMorte as well as starred in, an incredible feat, will be making its world premiere at the 2009 Tribeca Film Festival in the “Discovery” category – congrats Paola!
As a shy child, I was always looking for ways to break out of my shell, so I bought a video camera with some of the money I got from my Bat Mitzvah. With my video camera, I was able to share visually what I had trouble communicating verbally. As a twelve year old, this included making music videos of Britney Spears’ songs and capturing moments of me falling off chairs, but as my life progressed I knew I wanted to take filmmaking more seriously and learn all there is to know about it.
It is truly an honor to be a 2009 Reach Film Fellow. This past Monday and Tuesday were the kick-off of the program and consisted of a series of meetings and workshops to get us started in the program.
I have gained an invaluable amount of knowledge from my experience so far. Each advisor had insightful things to share. Susan Leber explained how important it is for a filmmaker to understand her strengths and weaknesses and build teams that compliment those well. Jeremy Kipp Walker explained that our short films will be our calling card in the future. I’m extremely privileged to also have Jeremy as a mentor and very excited to work with him.
Even though my project, Blues, is a narrative short, when Edet Belzberg spoke about the emotional trajectories in documentaries it gave me new insight about storytelling that I can apply to Blues, like focusing on a character’s connections to his or her world and the other characters in it. Furthermore,
I will never forget sitting across from Ellen Kuras at dinner and listening to her greatest advice to us, which is, in short, “don’t be a jerk.” Her thoughts on camera coverage, point of view, and blocking helped me a great deal and I now feel equipped to think more dynamically about how my actors will move through space in my film. I will ask myself questions like Who are we watching? What is the point of view of the character? Another important thing she explained is that every shot has a beginning, middle, and end, so each shot has a meaning.
Paola Mendoza conducted an incredible directing the actor workshop. I am especially thankful that she shared her experience working with child actors in her film Entre Nos (now in post production) with me because it will help me with Blues. I plan to incorporate the improvisation exercises she shared with us in my project. Finally, Afia Nathaniel discussed the structure and content of our screenplays – challenging us to hone in on what our characters want and making important choices regarding where we enter a character’s story.
I am more excited about “Blues” now following Monday and Tuesday’s workshops and can’t wait for what else is to come!
Dena Greenbaum is from Woodmere, New York and is currently a junior at New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts majoring in Film and Television production with a double minor in Producing and Pre-Business. Her Reach Fellowship Film, Blues, a narrative short, goes into production in November. She will collaborate with Mentor Jeremy Kipp Walker (Half Nelson, Sugar, Maria Full of Grace).