Eli Zavala is sitting down with HOLR to discuss her new short film, El Carrito, as well as her dynamic background in the media and film space.
Meet Eli Zavala.
The talented performer, producer, and media entrepreneur is giving HOLR the inside scoop on her latest short film, El Carrito. She is also sharing her journey in the media and film space and how it has inspired her to create content that is culturally authentic.
Keep reading to learn all about Eli Zavala as we dive into the positive impact she has had on the media landscape, her latest role, what’s next for her, and so much more.
Tell us about yourself and your incredible background in the media and film space.
I’m a performer, producer, and media entrepreneur. As a performer I work in front of the camera and bring to life characters that dare to express and explore the deepest truths of what makes us human; as a producer, I make possible the creation of films, documentaries, and tv shows that are artistic, character-driven, and my personal inclination is to produce elevated genre content that is smart as is entertaining; as a media entrepreneur I’m a founder (I’ve also functioned as Executive/C-Suite) of media companies and studios focused on putting on screens of all sizes high concept content as well as elevated genre content to cater to different audiences around the world. The foundation of all my media and film space endeavors is to put out in the world innovative storytelling that pushes forward diverse and authentic narratives and that supports talent that comes from minority groups, and therefore often underrepresented, in the industry.
Talk to us about your journey to founding La Filmadora, which is a home for storytellers of underrepresented backgrounds that focuses on creating and promoting content that is culturally authentic.
That journey started quite a few years ago, back in Mexico, and had an organic evolution that led to where it is today, and let me tell you, that journey is far from over and is very much still going. Every day is a new day to keep pushing the envelope, keep tearing down misrepresentations of minorities on the screens, and keep building a better representation of them in the industry. To answer the question, it started with a need: the need to find stories where female characters, Latinx characters, queer characters, indigenous characters, immigrant characters were represented fairly, to steer them away from stereotypical portrayals, to find storylines where these characters were just living extraordinary circumstances inside their lives, to find narratives that were as artistic as they were entertaining. Back then, as a performer, as a producer, such stories didn’t exist, so that’s how La Filmadora was born and now, it’s living, and thriving, and its doors are open to all talent, and is a creative home for underrepresented talent and a special hub for Latinx & Hispanic creatives…and it’s just taking off!
As the creative executive at Splinter Pictures, an NYC-based film production company that is focused on creating highly artistic and character-driven stories, can you tell us more about your passion for film and great storytelling?
I truly believe that the screen is the mirror into which society sees itself, either as it is or as it aspires to be. Being able to create films, tv shows, documentaries, animated pictures, you name it, that are going to be exhibited on such screens and that are going to be watched and enjoyed by people around the world, is not only a privilege, it’s also a responsibility, so doing that with artistry, wits, and most of all: authenticity is something that I’m beyond passionate about. That is my motivation to wake up and put in my energy every day in this field: to create stories for the screen that is artistic, that have something to express, and most of all, that contribute to being a bridge of connection and understanding of what makes us human.
In an exciting new announcement, your latest short film “El Carrito” is being released at the SXSW Film Festival. Can you tell us about your role in the film and what we can expect?
Of course! I play the lead character, Nelly, who is a woman who doesn’t trust anybody and wants to do everything by herself. She keeps everything close to her chest most of the time because she thinks the world is out to get her (even though people around her have shown her that is not the case). I think the audience can expect a very naturalistic narrative, where some realities of what the community of vendors in NYC, and for that matter, the world, are going to be portrayed, and most importantly, the notion of community and solidarity that are underlined in the story.
What are some other films you have starred in over the course of your career? As well, what has been your proudest accomplishment to date in the industry?
“Still the Earth Moves”, “The Vice of Water”, “The Shared Land”, “Under Any Sky”, as well as a few other projects that are currently in the works. One of my proudest accomplishments to date has to be the nod that “Still the Earth Moves”, which I starred in and produced, had from the BFI Sight & Sound who considered it as one of the best films of the year; along with “Get Out”, “Call Me by Your Name”, “Mother!”, “Moonlight”, “Personal Shopper”. Being considered in the same realm of such incredible and masterful films with a very, very, independently produced film, is still one of my proudest accomplishments as a filmmaker because it came at a time when the sister company of La Filmadora, and its predecessor, the Mexican Filmadora Numina, was in diapers. It was a sign that the path taken was and still is, the right one to take, perhaps not the easiest, but the right one to build on my end.
What’s next for you and your career?
Keep pushing boundaries across the board inside of the industry in order to be able to keep supporting authentic narratives and amplifying diverse and underrepresented creative voices to make them loud and clear on screens around the globe. To make La Filmadora a media powerhouse and the place to go for talent from minority groups. To keep Splinter Pictures as the boundless creative home that is today. Bottom line: I want to keep creating amazing stories. That’s the compass of what’s next for me and my career. As to what’s in store right now: a couple of documentaries, an animated film, and a couple of thrillers, one of them is fully female-centric and the other is in close collaboration with an Emmy Award® winner writer/producer. The engines are up and running!
Published by HOLR Magazine.