LatinXcellence: Kase Pena is making a real legacy

“I was born in Manhattan. My parents are from the Dominican Republic. I spent the first nine years of my life in Manhattan but lived in a place called Inwood. I don’t know if I know New York. But Inwood is at the northern end of Manhattan. It’s getting narrower. The island of Manhattan is really small, “she said breathlessly. “So there is a bridge that connects you to Bronx. There are two bridges. In fact, there are three bridges. And I lived in this area two blocks away from me and there was a river. And I looked across the river. The river, Bronx, was there. ”

According to her, her father had a liquor store in South Bronx and went there every day after school. It’s so close to Yankee Stadium that I heard a big crowd screaming on the day of the match.

“I have a very, very deep connection with Bronx. I eventually moved there, but I’m not strictly from Bronx.”

This geography lesson is similar to everything Peña creates as a filmmaker. The power of storytelling lies in the infectious energy she conveys and the laser-sharp peculiarities. For example, her short film “Full Beat” is a moving piece about a transgender teen who finds an ally in the most surprising places when she needs it most.

Peña’s sharp eyes and distinctive tones make it an increasingly hot product in the industry for its unique voice.

But she is devoted to doing things her way. That spirit has been useful since the days when paintings were sold at the playground for $ 1 each.

For her latest work-an anthology feature titled “Trans Los Angeles”-she solved the problem with her own hands. Through funding and grants, she raised $ 150,000 to realize part of the project. This is after years of encountering obstacles in the industry.

A graduate of the City College of New York at the City College of New York said, “When I graduated from film school, I didn’t dare to demand money from Hollywood.” Until I attended film school for four years, I dared to do so. I didn’t do that. After that, I worked on my technology for 7 to 8 years. ”

According to Penha, the film industry supports “members of the dominant culture” in film schools, while film students of color have to wait years before that time comes.

And there are times when the door still doesn’t open.

“I was tired of another” no “in late 2018 and said,” I was going to prove who I am as a writer and director. They are more than any other writer / director. I’m a writer / director who thinks it’s important to celebrate. Keep an eye on what I do. “

And she’s doing that. She can complete two of the four parts and wants to raise $ 350,000 to complete the last two installments of Trans Los Angeles.

Carmen Carrera, Stephanie Beatriz and Yaya Gosselin, famous for “Brooklyn Nine-Nine,” appear in one article about Latin trans women. In the other, her father is a member of the gang, 10 years old. Tells a Spanish story about a black transgender girl, a white transgender man, and a transgender woman in El Salvador seeking asylum.

Whether or not the project is praised, Peña is empowered by the fact that she manages a story that is out of the reach of the transgender or Latino community of which she is part. I am.

Every year, when transgender and Latino stories not created by members of those communities are celebrated, she said, “it’s painful” because it’s a lot for people in those marginalized communities. It means that the opportunity is lost.

“Note all the white filmmakers who told stories about Latinos, noting that they didn’t go back to our community and tell our other story. Please, because they have moved forward, “she said. “They made a fuss, but now they’re doing their job. Either me or us are back for our community. I tell people, I I don’t care if I’m directing a movie for $ 100 million. If I have a budget tomorrow, I’ll definitely come back and tell the story of my community. This is the way I started and I cherish the story. I will. ”

For Peña, it’s not just a moment. It’s about controlling the story now for future generations.

“What if Latinos 100 years later and transgender people 100 years later go back and watch a movie? Everything they see is written and directed by someone other than us. “I’m doing it,” she said. “What should I do?”

One good thing? People 100 years later know Kase Penha.

Question-and-answer session

given names: Kase Pena

job: Writer / Director

My work includes: Short film “Full Beat” (available on HBO Max), “Travaho”, anthology feature “Trans Los Angeles”.

Years of entertainment: 20

Latina … de Donde ?: Born and raised in Manhattan and Bronx, a first-generation American daughter of an immigrant from the Dominican Republic.

Latin metaphor to ban forever: “When Latinos are portrayed as having an accent on laughter, having an accent is nothing wrong. Many people in this country and around the world have an accent. It is laughed at. It’s not a thing. On TV, that’s the norm. There’s an accent accent have, but it’s not taken seriously. Some people have an accent accent in their own country. Also, for years. Someone has told me before: “Do you know what some people say? Languages ​​they speak multiple languages” How do you laugh at people who speak multiple languages? ”

I think Latin actors / actresses will one day become big stars: “Carmen Carrera in my movie Trans Los Angeles. She’s been trying to act for years, but Hollywood told her she couldn’t. She told me that she couldn’t do it. Everyone is enthusiastic about her acting just by playing the leading role in.

Worn-out words when executives communicate Latin projects: “‘We already have a Latin show.’ This is the same people that transgender people hear.’Oh, we already have a transgender show.'”

Here’s what every filmmaker can do to increase Latin American expression: “Put us at the center of your story. We don’t have to be in the background all the time. We don’t have to be stereotyped all the time. They know stereotypes because they know. I know the stereotype.

LatinXcellence: Kase Pena is making a real legacy

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