Patricia Chica Interview by Jay K
 Patricia Chica Morning After Clap 1000x
 Very honored to speak with you in the first as a part of Tom Holland’s Terror Time! For those who do not realize, you are associated with the horror genre on different platforms (short film, producing, education, etc…) however you have been an award winning filmmaker for a variety of topics, genres and ideas for a long time! Talk about how you got into filmmaking and why?

I’ve been a storyteller all my life, since I can remember. I was very young the first time I realized that I wanted to be an artist who would tell stories. I know it sounds weird, but I remember the first time someone gave me a piece of blank paper and a box of crayons. I started drawing and I couldn’t stop, even if I had to go to bed. I drew little stories and expanded them in my head. Later, in my early teens, I was already directing the kids in my entourage… dressing them up and pretending to produce a show. I was giving them direction. I’ve always been a leader in the creative and management departments. I already had the Director, Acting Coach, and Educator call in me, since a young age.

It was a natural progression for me to enroll in a film program at College, even though it was against my parents’ will. They wanted me to study a “real” profession (doctor, financier, lawyer, business). I was always one of the top students in the class so I had the grades that could have allowed me to enter the science faculty, but that wasn’t my vocation. My father even brought me to see the College orientation counselor so he would perhaps change my mind about studying Science or Business instead of Cinema. My father used to tell me: “Make movies as a hobby, on weekends, and get a real education”. When they told me that jobs in the film industry were very limited and that not everyone would find a position after graduation, I told the counselor and my father that I will always find work, because I will always excel at what I do. I will always do my best. I truly believed, even at a young age, that excellence always pays off. I trusted that I would succeed no matter what!

I got into filmmaking because it’s one of the things that fulfills me the most in life. I don’t feel that I’m working when I’m on set, editing a film, or coaching actors. It’s my devotion, but even more so my purpose. I want to tell stories that challenge the viewers’ perspective on the status quo and that will invite them to make their own conclusions. I want audiences to be transformed and inspired after watching my films. I want to feel that they can have a voice for their own opinions. Cinema is a powerful medium and it allows me to explore provocative subject-matters.

Optimizedversionpatricia2. Who are some your influences in and out of the horror genre?

I don’t really have specific influences per se. I like to cultivate my own “Chicatronica” style. However, there are artists who excite me for various reasons. I have to give credit to the Soska Sisters, who are a tremendous inspiration, taking the world by storm with everything they do from branding to movie-making. Through their lens, I came to understand what great possibilities there were in the Horror genre. It’s after I watched American Mary that I realized that gore could be compelling and engaging. I was in awe that it was made by two young badass Canadian filmmakers who had full creative control. The Soskas are the whole package and the kindest artists I know. I totally adore them!

I come from an art film background and my film education started in my teens when I discovered the films of the French Nouvelle Vague directors, the filmmakers of the Italian Neorealism movement, and also the more edgy, provocative, indie films coming out of Mexico, Argentina, Spain, the US, and the UK. I am also a big fan of Hitchcock. For me he is a category all his own!

When I want to be inspired, I will listen to music, watch music videos, go on a hike in the Hollywood Hills, orlook at Frida Kahlo’s paintings.

PatriciasOptimized3. Talk about taking on a variety of controversial and eclectic topics (acceptance, AIDS, rockabilly music, society and more) in your storytelling, writing and filmmaking?

You know, I make films about subjects that I’m curious about. I want my films to educate me, to expand my horizons, and to delve into different perspectives that I have not yet explored. Art is education and I’ve learned a lot by making movies. I also like to challenge myself, exploring themes that scare me, or that I have a certain apprehension about. Like Hitchcock once said, “I make films to overcome my own fears!” I think I feel the same way about my work too!

4. What has the move from Montreal to LA been like for you? You seem to have thrived even more on the left coast, it is true and why?

Moving to Los Angeles was a natural transition for me. After becoming recognized with Ceramic Tango (my first horror short), I was offered an opportunity to work in L.A. For a genre director, there is so much going on in Los Angeles. Even though I spend lots of my time in L.A., I still have permanent residency in Montreal and pay my taxes in Quebec, so I can continue to do projects in Canada. My next short called Morning After, an LGBTQ film, will be shooting over the summer in Montréal, with long-time collaborators, including my dear friend actor-writer Kristian Hodko.

5. You do a lot of speaking engagements and educating a variety of fans and industry peers, talk about the importance with that and why you get so involved in it?

Education is a key factor within my process. I strive to educate myself on different levels and subjects on a daily basis. I became a mentor/coach and consultant to other filmmakers kind of by default. I have a natural ability to share my knowledge with the newer generation and to seek out opportunities to empower other people through teaching. I believe in the strength of Community. Mentoring allows me to transmit my knowledge and keep learning, participating in my own growth and the growth of others.

In the past two years, I have been coached by New York acting master Nancy Mayans, the founder of the Unlimited Actor Method, which is based on Energy work to unlock any artist’s boundless creative potential. I am now a certified coach of this revolutionary technique. It’s a game-changer for me.

Based on my years of experience as a director of actors and non-actors, I recommend this transformative practice to anyone who works creatively, as it infuses the process with an authenticity that is connected to the artist’s inner life force. You can also use this method to humanize darker characters (e. g. villains, monsters, zombies, vampires, werewolves, witches, psychopaths, victims) making them compelling and believable on screen. Production value elevates when you use these tools, especially in low budget genre films, where time is limited for rehearsals.

(WATCH the documentary “LET IT OUT!” where you see Patricia Chica directing actors with energy work.

LET IT OUT! (The ‘Ceramic Tango’ Experience) – documentary from Patricia Chica on Vimeo.

6. Your films have garnered so many awards, honors, and film festival screenings. Why are these important to your career?

Awards are significant because they represent the validation of your peers, expressing a certain recognition for your efforts. It matters most when you are looking for funding. Each honor I receive is a humble reminder that I have to stay aligned with my vision. I also have a responsibility towards my sponsors, investors, and colleagues. As an indie filmmaker who depends on financial support and donations, I have to stay on top of my game so my collaborators can also shine through my films. I must always ask, “how can I do things better next time?” I’m my own biggest critic so I actively seek out opportunities to improve, expand, and reinvent myself through my art.

7. Any particular film festivals in your travels around the world that have impacted you?

I have to say that one of my favorite film festivals on the circuit, and one that I always attend is the Oaxaca FilmFest. I feel like part of the family now as I have been participating in it every year since 2011. It’s a destination festival with great programming, educational workshops,and networking parties. I have met so much industry people and made lifelong friends at that festival. In 2015my two projects won awards there: A Tricky Treat(Honorable Jury Mention) and Montréal Girls (screenplay finalist, written for me by one of my closest creative partners, Kamal John Iskander).

I’m also the spokesperson of the Central American International Film Festival in Los Angeles and El Salvador (the country where I was born). It has been a tremendous experience getting to know other Central American filmmakers through my participation in the CAIFFEST. I was very happy and moved when they organized a retrospective of my shorts followed by a filmed Q & A at the University of South California (USC)last fall. I will always remember how good Los Angeles and the Salvadorian community have been to me. I want to give back.

 8. You are a brilliant and beautiful person completely. You are very cultured, creative,and smart in every instance. As a leader with an influence on Women in Horror, talk about the movement, its importance, and the people you are involved with as part of WIH?

What Hannah Neurotica, the Soska Sisters, and the WiHM movement have achieved in terms of creating awareness around female horror filmmakers is incredible. I support any positive action revolving around the promotion and empowerment of female artists and social causes. Combining Blood Donation with horror directed by Women is not only profoundly inspired but a progressive idea.

Since I moved to Hollywood, I have noticed two schools of thought among decision-makers in the business: the ones who think it’s an asset to attach a Woman director and the ones who, unfortunately, still believe it’s risky. It’s a little passé, in 2016, to subscribe to old fashioned myths that still exist around this issue. It’s so last century.

As you can imagine, I’ve no room in my creative process for those afflicted with limiting beliefs. I have had the tremendous fortune to be surrounded by some of the most inventive, resourceful, and innovative team players on my sets. We all work together to make the best movie we can. So far it’s worked quite well.

Patricia Chica a.k.a. Chicatronica
Award-winning filmmaker

www.PatriciaChica.com

Twitter: @PatriciaChica

Instagram: @Chicatronica

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Patricia-Chica-185993898124050/?fref=ts

Vimeo Channel: https://vimeo.com/patriciachica

Youtube Channel: www.YouTube.com/Chicatronica

 

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