We had the good fortune of connecting with Laila Petrone and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Laila, how has your background shaped the person you are today?
When asked, I say I am from Rome, Italy and I refer to myself proudly as Italian and Dominican. Yet I cannot speak of how my background and upbringing impacted who I am today without acknowledging all the cities and countries of my life, because they, together with their people, have shaped me deeply.
My father is from Naples, Italy and my mother is from Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. My parents met in London, England and that’s where I was born. At six months I move to Rome, Italy, therefore, the eternal city is the first place I remember laying eyes on and building my first experiences.
At age ten, I moved to the United States and since then I have lived between the US, Dominican Republic and Italy, maintaining my home base in Los Angeles, CA where I still reside today.
Growing up in a multicultural and multiracial home and environment is the greatest influence on who I am and the work I do today.
As a filmmaker my focus is to always integrate in my projects – whether it’s drama, romance, comedy or a documentary – aspects of diversity, inclusion and a sense of community. My first short film, Your Love, explores a day in the life of a young couple juggling family, career and desire. To me it was extremely important to feature a multiracial couple even though that was not the focus of the story.
My second short film No me olvidaré de ti (I Will Not Forget You) is a story of a father and his daughter moved by the Christmas spirit to connect with their Puerto Rican roots by reaching out to victims of Hurricane Maria . In this case again it was extremely important for me to have a multiracial and multicultural family, and explore the sense of identity and community.
The perfect example of how my background and upbringing impact who I am today is probably my current project a Docuseries: Mothers & Daughter in which I interview women from Latin America who moved to Italy, and explore how they have integrated, built, created and participated in Italian life and culture, and how their daughters born in Italy, and therefore Italian, see themselves, how they identify, how they feel their multiculturalism has impacted who they are today.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
The creative journey never ends, so I wait for the next lesson, the next challenge, the next heartbreak, the next project to fall madly in love with again.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
In this specific case of the Shoutout series I want to thank my parents for giving me the background and upbringing that has shaped me.
Personal photo: Headshot : Photo by Eugenio D’orio. Make up by Martina Galassetti. Other Photos: In order of loading. 1) Poster No me olvidaré de ti : Created and Designed by Minerva Mariotti 2) Poster Your Love : Photo by Martina Tolot. Make up by Francesca Tolot 3 & 4) Speaking engagement at John Cabot University: Photo by Allison Bozzi 5) Behing the scenes No me olvidaré de ti : Production Team 6) Speaking engagement Fiera International del Libro Dominican Republic : Production Team 7) Behing The scenes Your Love: Christina Rivera 8) Behing The Scenes B-Roll Interview docuseries : Fred Kuwornu