Adielenah Perez is one Latina who is breaking down barriers for women in the film industry.
Updated: Jan 22, 2019
When you meet someone like Adielenah Perez, you can’t help but being proud. Being of Latina decent, this interview hit close to our hearts. Adielenah is a young Latina who is striving for success and keeps pushing through by making each of her projects greater than the last one. She is determined to break barriers for all woman, particularly Latina woman and she will make her mark in the film industry. From her parents, she learned to be strong in a city full of opportunities and disappointments, creating the passion within her. Just by reading her responses, you can feel the powerful vibe coming from Adielenah. Almost like she reaches out and touches you, leaving you with the feeling of also wanting to make a difference in this world. At least that's what we felt. (All images taken from Adielenah's Instagram)
Tell us a little bit about your background.
I was born and raised in the Bronx to Puerto Rican parents. My dad has had a karate school for many years, so I started training at the age of five years old. Both my parents are creatives at heart, so I think that's where I get it from. Movies were our thing. I got a BA from SUNY Purchase, did lots of internships at post houses and received my MFA from The City College of New York. When did you know you wanted to become a filmmaker?
In 2005 I was part of an organization called "Global Action Project", a grassroots media organization that teaches young people how to use filmmaking and video to tell impactful stories. Working with them at just 16 years old, I saw how powerful the medium of film and video could be in sharing important stories and build bridges between people and communities. Where do you get your inspiration from?
The subway was a big source of inspiration for a long time. Watching stories unfold on the train was so wild. Sometimes I would ride the train from the Bronx to Coney Island and back, just to draw people. Reality is where I get most of the stories I write about., but also there are heavy touches of magic and dreams in my stories. Murakami, Michelle Gondry, Buñuel, Frida Kahlo, these are who I grew up admiring.
With so much going on in the industry today, what challenges have you faced and what would you like to change?
A major challenge, which shouldn't be a surprise, is the gender gap and particularly Latina women. I still don't see many women as directors and directors of photography, because while there are many, they aren't being given the opportunities. So, I am working on changing that from my own little corner of the world. I am focused on hiring a majority female crew of insanely capable women and having them in key leadership roles. Which awards have you won?
I have made the official selection for several festivals with a 48 hour film I co-directed with Wigner Duarte and Emilio Seri called 15 Feet, but no awards yet.
Where would you love to have your films viewed?
I dream of Cannes one day and Sundance, as well as Tribeca and one day, in movie theaters around the world.
Are there other talents that you have and enjoy doing? I love learning new songs on my Ukulele and I paint a little. These are little quiet things I work on. Usually, when I am very happy or very sad, either side of the spectrum and I love teaching karate.
What projects are you working on that we should look out for? I just completed fundraising for my first major short film- "Not That Nice", about a child whose parents are deported and she befriends her divorced neighbor who has lost her cat. It's about integration processing of pain and feeling of abandonment.
What is a dream project for you?
My dream project is about superheroes in the Bronx. A blockbuster that is meaningful for my community. I want my Bronx people to see themselves in the media in a positive light. Right now the Bronx is viewed so negatively and I want to empower and inspire the kids from my old neighborhood to see their beauty and potential. What advice can you give upcoming artists?
This is not an easy industry to find your way in, but if you stick with it, always ask questions and be ready to learn, you'll get there. You have to stay the course though. Decide that you want this and believe that you deserve it, then put in the time and the work. It might take a few years, but don't compare your road to anyone else's. Just stay the course.
Who would you like to work with?
Gina Rodriguez is an amazing talent and motivating force and Stephanie Beatriz. As far as directors, Ava Duvernay is amazing and I would be honored just to be in the same room
What is life to you?
To me, life is about trying to be a better person with each day.
With so much going on in the world today, what beauty do you see in America?
This is a hard question to answer, but the beauty is in the people fighting and inspiring others to fight for justice, equality and human decency. Those fighters inspire me.
We loved this interview! Thank you Adielenah. Please make sure you follow this amazing film artist and support all of her projects as well. Also please subscribe to our blog, we don’t bombard you with emails and appreciate the support. You can also find us on IG and Facebook.
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