In this interview the founder of Pomegranate Studios, Carmona Rivera, speaks on her upcoming film LAS VIRGENES, and what it means to be a writer, producer, and director.
What was the inspiration for making LAS VIRGENES?
Today, we live in a golden age of storytelling. LAS VIRGENES is a film about female empowerment, that overturns ancient symbols of femininity to create modern stories analyzing the female psyche.
In this original screenplay based on the experiences of local Texicana film artist, Carmona Rivera, audiences will see an inversion of traditional Catholic thinking regarding virginity and the chaste Latina.
LAS VIRGENES highlights themes of Tejano culture that will resonate with generations of Latinas seeking representation in media. By reclaiming our voice, creatives can tell stories that depart from stereotypical archetypes typically used to portray communities of color.
What's been your favorite part of this project?
Writing is a form of catharsis for me and is one of my favorite aspects of filmmaking. But truthfully, I have found that now I love the bonds formed between crewmates.
The crew for LAS VIRGENES consisted of 2nd and 3rd gen Pomegranates and we welcomed so many new crew people that were amazing to work with.
Watching the crew work together so seamlessly was my favorite part of the process, so far.
What's something valuable you've learned in filmmaking that you wish you would've known in the beginning?
Not everyone is in it for the same reasons but when you find the people who align with your vision, it is magical.
Making sure your team is heard, respected, and valued, as you are all on this creative journey together is an invaluable piece of advice I offer every emerging filmmaker.
Another important thing to note is, it’s always best to listen to your bruja intuition, haha.
Have you ever wanted to stop filming? What keeps you going?
One of my favorite film quotes is from Hayao Miyazaki that goes, “Filmmaking only brings suffering… Can’t believe I actually want to do another one.” The work I do as a writer, producer, and director is built for someone who can take loss or rejection and still find the strength to keep going.
You find yourself asking, “Am I built for this?” and if you are still standing at the end of the last day of production when they yell “THAT’S A WRAP”, you’ll know the answer. I knew when I was watching the dailies with a few of my crew members the last day of filming LAS VIRGENES, that I am made for this life.
How do you define success?
Filmmaking, in my opinion, can be described as beautifully orchestrated chaos that is formed by the efforts of many souls coming together to create the world you envisioned in your mind's eye. Independent filmmaking requires dedication and readiness to exhaust yourself mentally to create your project; this cannot be done alone and is why having a strong crew by your side is vital to getting a successful and cinematic final product.
What are your dreams?
To have the ability to keep writing and creating meaningful stories for people like myself; to push the boundaries placed on women/BIPOC filmmakers; to continue to uphold and honor my culture and upbringing, the memory of my late father, who believed in me from the start, and all the past, present, and future versions of myself.