We had the good fortune of connecting with Lorena Lourenco and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Lorena, is there something that you feel is most responsible for your success?
What has so far proved most effective is being unapologetically and brazenly honest about who I am and what I stories I want to tell. I’ve felt that the most I’ve peeled away at my layers of self-curation (the layers of thought that make me over-edit myself into something more digestible) the more I’ve bee vulnerably honest who I am and how I create. And that has paid off in seeing some success from that unapologetic raw creation.
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.
What I do is tell honest and unique stories about selfhood of those who are often forgotten by mainstream media. It’s stories about the women of color immigrants like myself, about the queer Latines, or the closeted man who finds himself in drag, its about those of us who have been othered and find power in owning who we are. What I am most excited about is our short film “Muy Gay Too Mexicano” that is up on HBOmax after an insanely special festival round (thank you Outfest, LALIFF and the Official Latino FF!). It holds such a special place in my heart and seeing the effect it’s had on audiences, who feel seen because of it, has been a beautiful and indescribable experience.
It’s been pretty hard getting to where I am, I’m an immigrant and that puts up an obscene amount of barriers towards seeking this career. And on top of that I am Latina woman, which sadly means that a few people have a harder time envisioning me in a position of power. Plus I have endometriosis, which is a condition reserved solely for people with uteruses that has proven to be quite debilitating and challenging to my life goals. So ultimately, it’s a been a walk in the park!
But in all seriousness, overcoming all of these hardships was a matter of perseverance, confidence, an amazing support system ( thank you loved for being the best), and for endometriosis; good medical assistance. If going through the crazy path of being an immigrant Latina filmmaker in America (with a pained uterus) has taught me anything is to not underestimate people, especially immigrants, and especially yourself. Admittedly, I had a hard time seeing myself in a position of power, since everyone around me told me I did not belong and wouldn’t make it. They were wrong, and it took me believing I had it in me and sticking with that belief through the darkest nights.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
Love this. First of all we’d have some Tacos Tu Madre, it’s an L.A. must and there’s a good chance you’ll get to see Molly Shannon in person if you go to the Larchmont one. Secondly, Santa Monica beach. I’m from Rio de Janeiro, so beaches are a must. On the way out we’d stop at Cha Cha Chicken, because they’re coconut chicken is heavenly. Next on the list would be walking through little Tokyo and ending up at Angel City Brewery, a bar which holds a special place in my heart. Then I’d end the night bar hopping through downtown with Salt and Straw as the last stop.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
Main shout out are my friends and family who have put up with and fully supported my life choice of being in this business – to them thank you and also sorry. I have also been incredibly lucky to have some incredible co-conspirators (which is how I like to call the amazing people that we collaborate with to make films). There are too many conspirators to list but my top two Jorge Molina (writer), David Mandell (writer and director), without whom I wouldn’t be here.
In terms of organizations I must shout out LALIFF, which is an incredible film festival and organization that has done so much to help me and other Latine filmmakers. Also, WOCUnite, Chicana Director Initiative, and Latinx Directors have helped open doors and help me see more opportunities for women of color in the industry.