Writer and Director Krisstian de Lara, Executive Producer Martah Alondra Lozano and Actor Sebastian Tafoya get invited to a 30-minute radio show at Radio Fórmula to speak about upcoming feature film project, Rift City. The interview touches on various topics such as the making of the film, their experiences on set, their careers, and the struggles they faced when looking for sponsors. Rift City tells the story of Oriana, who after losing the university’s film festival, is determined to make an award winning story abroad but when she finds the whereabouts of a missing teen’s mother, she struggles to come to terms with doing what’s best for her documentary or the teenage boy.
Radio host, Zury Espino, kicks off the interview by stating how Krisstian’s team brought his filming crew to the border area of Juarez, Mexico and El Paso Texas to film the panoramic landscape that cannot be found elsewhere. “This for us is an honor to come back to Ciudad Juarez and to the region of El Paso and bring different talents. To spotlight how beautiful our border is.” Martah articulates. Zury agrees on how Juarez is associated with a string of negative conceptions that persist to this day, then continues, “Krisstian, you are the master mind of this project, tell us how this idea was born of creating a film that talks about Juarez and on top of that come and film it here.” Krisstian elaborates,
I like to showcase or put Latinos on a pedestal since we have a lack of voice in cinema, in Hollywood, about Latinos or the Mexican American generation, and honestly I am in love with the border, I was born and raised here.
KRISSTIAN DE LARA
The radio host highlights how important it has been Krisstian’s return to the border and hire local talent in the process of making this project. The interview proceeds with Krisstian explaining what the film is about, “The film is called Rift City that tells the story of a young lady at the university of El Paso that travels here to Ciudad Juarez because she loses the film festival from last year and she’s looking for a documentary good enough to win an accolade and when she finds a young teen called Chuy, who cannot find his mother since last night, and when she finds her whereabouts, she doesn’t tell Chuy for the benefit of the documentary. […] Things begin to escalate but the lesson to be taken from here is to use your platform, whichever that may be, to do good.”
Zury quickly turns intrigued towards the 19-year-old actor, “Which in this case Chuy is Sebastian, […] How do you feel Sebastian to be part of such a film of this caliber?” He responds, “Well, I feel very content, since I was young this has been my dream, be part of cinema, of a film and obviously when Krisstian made the announcement, I couldn’t let go of the opportunity.” Sebastian continues to explain that he rush to the casting call because an opportunity such as this one, doesn’t come often.
Thereafter, Krisstian describes how people have helped them on set while filming throughout the city, “People have been wonderful with us. We were filming on the streets and asked us, ‘Do you need water, do you need a bathroom?'” In which Zury reacts he needs a bit of water since he looks a bit burned. Krisstian laughs,
Yeah, I try to stay on the shade but people are just wonderful, I’m impressed how people are willing to help you and they get excited. […] And obviously that excitement is contagious.
KRISSTIAN DE LARA
The radio host then asks in what way the state government helped in the making of the film, in which Krisstian reveals that they helped with providing medical and security assistance on set. The interview then follows up on how big the crew is and if some of the crew is being outsourced. Krisstian confirms that they have a big crew and that he is in communication with a producer in Miami regarding the current shooting schedule, “Believe it or not, we have a producer in Miami that is sending us online—” “Really?!” Zury says surprised. “All the scheduling, rearranging scenes, et cetera from over there. So it is an international effort because tomorrow we also film in El Paso, and we also have the support and sponsors from El Paso because either we like it or not. It’s an independent film, and it’s costly—” Krisstian says as Zury adds, “And it needs a lot!” Krisstian agrees,
Yeah, but that doesn’t stop us from making a good film that showcases the positive side of the border that is desperately needed right now. Especially in the United States, since is a film in English. It’s filmed 90% in English, and with how the political situation is in the United States we need Latin voices spotlighting what we really are as Latinos.
KRISSTIAN DE LARA
Zury furthers the idea on how audiences also need to be aware and support latin productions when available on theaters. She tells Krisstian how he can be a pioneer in that aspect. Krisstian underlines, “Just now we are seeing doors opening [to Latinos] and even Disney movies that people say, I’ve heard stories right, that ‘that movie is not going to be a hit because that young boy from that Disney movie is dark skin and dark skins don’t sell tickets.'” Zury highlights how engrained racism is in the United States and how films tend to display stereotypes of cities and people. Krisstian concludes, “The border is unique and we have to spotlight it and show it to the world. Because who better than it’s own people to showcase the border.”
When asked what role did the executive producer had in the film, Martah goes into detail about how her and Krisstian met back when working together at Univision, “Krisstian told me ‘I have this project, how can we collaborate?’ I said, ‘Let’s do it […] What can we do? Whatever I can help with.’ And well, I’ve been helping in searching and finding sponsors.” Then she answers if the process has been hard, “Yes but no, because the ones who have supported us, they have done it with lots of interest. ‘Yes of course, how much do you need?’ And there’s other people that say, ‘But a movie?… But?’ So, it’s kind of strange to them see the whole process that this is happening, that it’s occurring here in our region because is so unique. It does not happen often. Therefore, I believe part of making awareness is what has stopped us a bit. Well, it has given us a bit more of a challenge in finding sponsorship but aside from that, the media have been treating us splendid.” Martha concludes,
We are very happy and we hope this is not the first time that we are able to bring other actors and different scripts in the future. I am very content, for me, more than being prideful is a responsibility.
MARTAH ALONDRA LOZANO
After a commercial break, the interview proceeds with Martah highlighting how the production is handling a RED camera on set, a high end production equipment, “We are not filming with an iPhone.” Everyone laughs. Martah continues, “We are filming with the best and we have a production with lots of love to the arts, and with lots of determination.”
Martah adds on, “Krisstian has won awards internationally at film festivals but he gets a little shy.” Zury calls out Krisstian for not wanting to show off then asks to tell a bit more about his career. Krisstian recounts, “Initially when I met Alondra at Univision, I was applying for my masters degree to study film production in Miami. They accepted me and I went to the University of Miami to study for 2 years and walking out of my masters I made my first independent movie, I was hired.” “How incredible!” Zury adds as Krisstian nods,
They were fascinated with all the short films I made and showcased throughout those 2 years that I was obviously, making during school and show that I could make professional work to festival and that’s how I received my first call telling me, ‘We are looking for someone who can direct this film.’
KRISSTIAN DE LARA
Krisstian keeps on, “And I ventured, we filmed in 15 days, more like 13 days, but the experience was spectacular and we filmed in Miami.” Krisstian ends the story by mentioning agreements between the film’s producers and distributors and how he found a new love in making features.
Zury underlines how Krisstian’s unique take had made him stand out among his peers and gave film producers find a new take through him, “You were raised here, you lived here. Therefore, you bring in to them a different world, you make them see things differently, the way you see it.” Krisstian expands by letting audiences know that when looking for locations for this film, he realized how much of Juarez he had yet to see despite of being raised in the border area.
Krisstian continues but hesitates when talking about a special documentary he filmed, “I showcased also…” Krisstian stops himself. “Don’t be shy.” Zury encourages him. Krisstian laughs, “I made a documentary short about a male prostitute from downtown Juarez.” Martha intersects, “Which you can watch now, they can watch it on Amazon Prime. […] It’s pretty cool.” Krisstian invites audiences to watch it for free with an Amazon Primer account. “You can also watch the trailer on YouTube, and in all of our social networks, you can follow me as Krisstian de Lara, Krisstian with a K—” Krisstian indicates when Zury quickly notes, “Krisstian with a K, tell them like you told me.” Krisstian laughs, “Yeah, Krisstian with a K and two s on all social networks.” Moreover, he welcomes listeners to find updates about the current film they are making over at RiftCityMovie.com.
Zury then asks Sebastian to speak more about his acting experience, “I’m barely starting in movies but my experience commenced as a theater actor at the age of 8.” Sebastian recalls that his parents put him to play all kind of sports but wasn’t good at any. It was not until a he did a play and the theater professor said, “‘This kid has talent.” Sebastian unveils he has participated in approximately 11 plays and narrates his passion for acting and fascination to get inside other people’s mind and fictitious life. Also, he shares his favorite actor and how his family’s support has made a difference in the early stages of his career, “When I talk with my friends that are also actors, they tell me, “No, my mom gets mad because she needs to bring me to the rehearsals, or my dad doesn’t want me in the house anymore because this happened in theater.” Zury emphasis, “Or they believe there’s no future in this industry and they don’t want to support you.” Sebastian adds on, “Exactly and is very difficult but if you want it, it’s possible, of that I am sure and I’m here starting in this independent movie with Krisstian.”
The interview proceeds with Sebastian speaking about his expectations for the film, “I have a lot of faith in this film because like Krisstian says, this film is about the border so there’s lots of heart in it because there’s not a lot of international talent but local talent that are doing it with love and faith and it’s really special to be filming on set even if we are a bit tired.” Zury affirms that the film production has 12 hours shoots. “You don’t get like a diva?” Zury asks. “Of course, of course, I have my own truck.” Sebastian says between a smile. Everyone laughs. “You’re own trailer.” Krisstian says laughing. “For him only.” Zury continues. “No, no, we don’t get to those extremes” Sebastian says and accentuates,
We are always very united on the filming set. We share waters, we share umbrellas, Martha [production assistant] who is a love of a person, is always giving us shade and protecting us while Krisstian is checking lighting and we all are in the shade, seeking refuge. So, when Krisstian calls it, the magic happens.
Lastly, the radio host asks if there’s times he gets tired and can’t handle the re-takes anymore, “My mom was telling me last week, she said, ‘You can do this and more.’ So, every time I’m on the filming set I’m thinking in that, ‘I can do this and more, I can do this and more.’ And it does’t matter if Krisstian wants another take, and another one, and another one, until we get it.” Zury concludes the interview by inviting listeners to follow the team’s social media and visit the Official site. Martah finishes off, “We all thank you and your listeners, to all of our sponsors as well, to Ciudad Juarez for all the love, to our families that have support us and well, to the entire team who also have made a great effort to be part of this movie and of course to our director, the visionary that has involved us into this wonderful project.”
Watch the full interview above or click here to watch on YouTube, don’t forget to turn on “CC” for English subtitles.
Visit Rift City‘s Official Site: RiftCityMovie.com