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Making an Independent film is NO JOKE!

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Fanny VelizAs I’m writing this article, I’m stressed! I’m stressed because I’m waiting for a post house in Nashville Tennessee to confirm they received a hard drive with my film in it because they’re supposed to convert into DCP format. I’m stressed because UPS seems to have lost said hard drive. I’m stressed because when I talked to the guy at the UPS store in Tennessee, he says they have the package and no one has called to pick it up. I’m stressed because everyone is so calm about this when the film festival where the film is screening is in less than a week and now I’m freaking out there will be no film to screen!

Doesn’t anyone get how important this is?! Don’t they get I’m screening at the most prominent Latino Film Festival in the Country? Don’t they understand that my film will be shown at the iconic Chinese Theater? Don’t they comprehend I have spent the past 3 years of my life working almost EVERY SINGLE DAY to make my movie? That I have spent every penny I have and don’t have to make this film and that a lot is riding in this screening!!!

Just then, when I’m about to have a panic attack and start crying, the phone rings and I’m told the hard drive has been found and they will convert the film and ship it to the festival by the end of the day.  I breathe a big sigh of relief.

This is my life.  Almost every week I deal with some crisis.  I set out to make my first feature film titled HOMEBOUND almost 3 years ago. I assumed it was going to be a difficult road, but I had no clue how difficult it was truly going to be.  I had produced several award wining short films, and I thought a feature would just be like producing a few short films at once, that is not the case.

People that started with me on the project have little by little left, so for the past two years I have been driving this ship pretty much by myself. As many independent filmmakers know, the money never seems to be enough. I have lost several personal and professional relationships over it. But no matter what, I had decided I would make this film, so as a matter of my word, I WAS GOING TO FINISH IT.

One thing that has kept me going through all of this is my commitment to make films that portray American Latinos with dignity and as an important part of the American fabric. This film has become something larger than myself. When things get difficult I remind myself, this isn’t about you Fanny, it’s about your two boys growing up and seeing positive portrayals of Latinos in the media as a norm.

Another thing that has kept me going is the response I have received from audiences and social media. I get notes of encouragement almost every week. Just when I think I can’t do it anymore, someone will write to thank me for what I’m doing and then I remember, this is bigger than me.

Last week my film had a full theatrical run at a movie theater in Texas, and almost every day it was running someone contacted me to tell me how much my film had touched them. One lady said she hadn’t been to the movies in 17 years and she was glad she came to see my film and wished all movies were like mine, another lady went to see it 14 times! But the one that got me the most was this comment:

homebound quote

After a note like that…It all becomes worth it.

So this is my advice, if you decide to make a film, make sure it’s something you’re very passionate about. It must be something that the possibility of quitting is not even a possibility. Something you are willing to dedicate your life to and no matter what comes your way, you know in your heart, it must exist in the world. Then, no matter what happens you will be satisfied knowing every step of the way is part of journey to success.

Homebound marquee

For more information about my film and for future screenings please visit: www.homeboundmovie.com

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About Fanny Veliz

Fanny Véliz, is an award winning filmmaker and actress. She writes, directs and produces short and feature-length films. She has appeared on television shows such as SOUTHLAND and independent films like the cult favorite WASSUP ROCKERS. Fanny is a citizen of both the United States and Venezuela and has created projects which offer new opportunities for Latino Americans to portray human characters with depth and texture beyond the stereotypes that are common in current entertainment faire. She has received several awards and recognitions for her work. Fanny attended the University of Colorado and is the mother of two delightful boys. Her latest project is her award wining Homebound feature film. Homebound is a film that aims to transform the conversation about Latinos in the media and offers a heartfelt human story about what it means to struggle with real problems in the United States. It was funded in part through crowd-funding campaigns as well as multiple fundraisers. The film is currently on the film festival circuit.