The film business has morphed into so many facets that it is hard to decipher or rather separate the “true filmmakers” and the ones who cut corners just to squeeze out a project. Filmmaker Emiliana Ammirata has never cut any kind of corners but rather serves up thought provoking projects. She ventured to the US to chase the movie making dream and graduated from Chapman University. Her studies focused on cinematography, producing, and directing. Emiliana also learned the elements of the documentary and narrative departments. These skills enabled her to understand the tools needed to be a filmmaker.
“Being able to understand both fields has become such an asset when dealing with any kind of budget within a production, and the community and network around Chapman’s film program has greatly facilitated my success as a freelance filmmaker in Los Angeles.”
She has been inspired by many filmmakers like Joshua Oppenheimer, Nadine Labaki, Lucrecia Martel and Alfonso Cuaron. These iconic names in the industry have shaped the way she approaches each project. Her work is similar to there’s since they have crossed over in the US market and established themselves as international filmmakers. Emiliana is originally from Venezuela and has used her native land as a major subject in her works.
Only recently did she shot a film at the border of Venezuela and Colombia, in a border-town called Cucuta. There she captured the live flow of migrants’ crossing over to find a better life. Her role was to capture the exodus and the chaos within the character’s world. For her it was a fascinating experience but also disturbing.
“Having left Venezuela to pursue a career in the United States and returning almost with this sense of being a tourist in your own country was humbling while infuriating at the same time. I found myself amongst those people, seeing their process and struggle of abandonment, which is universal for those of us who left, no matter the economic circumstance.”
One of her most recent projects entitled “Sugar” which was a short seems to hold a special place in her heart. The film premiered across America and even overseas. It had appeared in festivals like Urbanworld, Hollyshorts, LA Shorts, etc. The main actor of the project was eleven years old at the time of production that did an outstanding performance even though she had to endure some tough verbal scenes in the film. Currently, Emiliana is working on two features “La Causa” and “Patria y Muerte”. The first one actually premiered this month at the International Documentary Film Festival of Amsterdam or also known as IDFA. “La Causa” executive producer was Gabriela Rodriguez (ROMA, Children of Men, Gravity). It played in the FRONTLIGHT category, which is known for showcasing some of the best political cinema in the world. The project took on a sensitive subject on investigative journalism that sheds light on the story of the convicts inside of the General Penitentiary of Venezuela.
The second film “Patria y Muerte” takes on a different area as a narrative project which is still in pre-production. It has been supported by the Berlinale and Film Independent they are two organizations who value filmmaking and what it can do for others. She hopes to begin production in 2020 after assessing the financial end of it. Emiliana has found other groups who support indie artists like Sundance Institute, ADOBE and La Biennale Di Venezia.
“Their sole purpose is to support those kinds of filmmakers. Hustlers that work multiple jobs at the same time while developing their projects. It is through the vetting that these organizations provide that you enter a community of creatives, and thus, expanding your network, skills and knowledge in the cinematic field. It is through the fostering and vote of trust that houses like Sundance and the Biennale have given me that I can stand where I am today.”
Emiliana is a strong advocate of exposing not only Venezuelan cinema but Latin American cinema as a whole to general audiences. She has made it her business to fuse the America’s and connect talent from both continents in an artistic manner. Since it is unfortunate that the arts are not cultivated in South America as it is the US she is on a mission to try and change that or at least help those who are trying to cross that bridge to broaden their horizons.
When it comes to the many hats she wears from a director, producer and cinematographer, being behind the camera is most gratifying for her. She enjoys becoming one with the object telling the story while directing at the same time. On the other hand she also loves working with a crew of people on set where the energy is strong and she can be the key that starts the engine. Emiliana an established filmmaker has been at the game since 2015 and has no desire to slow down any time soon.
“I hope to be involved in cinema for the rest of my life, to create and tell stories that are thought-provoking and impact driven. Whether that means that I am behind the camera myself, or lifting a fellow peer up so that they can also live through film, I think that if I stay true to maintaining what it is to create raw cinema, grant opportunities for other upcoming filmmakers and not become a sell out, I will have succeeded.”