ENAMORADO, 20min,. USA
Directed by Eduardo Rivera Salas
As a fateful meeting at a Liquor store leaves Damian longing for Izan, the relationship between the two blossoms out of innocence and fantasy, yet nothing ever more than that.
Get to know the filmmaker:
What motivated you to make this film?
What motivated me the most to make this film was a chance encounter I had with a stranger while staying at my mother's hometown in Mexico for the summer as a teenager. Inspired by this queer experience–Enamorado was created out of my need to explore queerness and lovelessness and how they often intersect. Enamorado was a project built off a repressed sense of self and the complicated adolescent call to explore both sexuality and childhood love, something many in my communities can relate to.
2. From the idea to the finished product, how long did it take for you to make this film?
We started shooting late in 2021 during my senior year at UCLA and the film faced many obstacles during the school year–exacerbated by COVID and the procedures placed on both set and on the university. After Enamorado went through rigorous editing peer-reviewed process at UCLA I was finally able to release out for the 2023 film festival cycle.
3. How would you describe your film in two words!?
Fantasy [and] Innocence
4. What was the biggest obstacle you faced in completing this film?
The biggest obstacle I faced was having to grasp the role of the actual director on set. Yes, this was my story. And yes, this was my project–but it had never occurred to me the amount of stress and diligence I had to persevere throughout from pre-production to being finished. This film was my first time as a Director on such a larger-scale production. Albeit a blessing, facing that sense of imposter syndrome and finding real meaning in my own story despite what others say was the biggest roadblock.
5. What were your initial reactions when watching the audience talking about your film in the feedback video?
I was shocked! I love hearing what people have to say on the film and how the music drew them in alongside the beautiful visuals. However, this audience spoke upon the slow-burning love poem essence of the film which not many other audiences were grasping of. It meant a lot to me that the film's capturing of love between these two teenagers was still able to transfer over to the audience in the most in the mood for love way.
6. When did you realize that you wanted to make films?
Watching films was always a staple in my household. It wasn't until I took a video course at my high school where I fell in love with the process of creating content. The stories I saw being built around me weren't as appealing and to me actually did the opposite, I felt discouraged. Once I had developed my own sense of writing and what my story was–that was my ticket towards the filmmaking realm and the insatiable need to learn more about it.
7. What film have you seen the most in your life?
In the Mood for Love. I've watched it for class, watched it on my own numerous times, and will continue to do whenever I need that spark to keep on telling what love has looked like for me in all of its complexities.
8. What other elements of the festival experience can we and other festivals implement to satisfy you and help you further your filmmaking career?
Film festivals are such a great opportunity and I've been nothing but more thankful. One way for the festival experience to be even more rewarding is–this! A conversation with the filmmakers and putting a face to these films that are being displayed. Uplifting the people behind these films by any means of beautiful portraiture in the pursuit of highlighting our work is such a commendable way to further our careers and build confidence as an artist.
9. You submitted to the festival via FilmFreeway. How has your experiences been working on the festival platform site?
FilmFreeway has been a blessing. It's made many things much more accessible to people like myself who are from communities where we would otherwise just show our work to family members, friends, or social media. It's been a neat platform to boost your work to an even more elevated level.
10. What is your favorite meal?
Nothing better than my mom's own cooking of enchiladas.
11. What is next for you? A new film?
Currently writing on another short film that will also focus on queer love but through more of a thriller sense of heartbreak and family dynamics. Very excited for it and I hope to make it the best I can.