De Colores and Luz Zamora
Tickets to Luz Zamora’s documentary premier can be purchased on the DOC NYC website.
When: Friday 10th November at 5:15pm
Location: IFC Center (1 train to the Christopher St./Sheridan Square.)
Luz Zamora’s Website: https://www.luzmarinazamora.com/
Luz Zamora, from Venezuela, is a current International House Resident, scholar, and filmmaker. Her latest documentary will premiere on Friday, November 10, 2017, at the IFC Center in New York.
She started very young in the film industry and was the youngest and only female technical director in the production industry in Venezuela. She worked as an Assistant Director on feature films, as well as on documentary films for her own production company at the same time. The size of the film industry in Venezuela allowed her to take on a range of different roles and projects, something she would not have been able to do as easily in the larger American film industry. “Every time that I was doing my own work I was with the camera. For me being close to a camera is very important when I’m telling a story,” she said. She thinks this is because she relates better to the world and the people she is interacting with through the camera.
She got her first camera when she was six years old when her father, an engineer, presented her with one he had bought for himself but found to technological for his liking. “Since then I have been totally in love with cameras.” Writing her application to become a Resident of I-House was the first time Zamora had found herself self-reflecting on her life and connecting the dots as to where her love of filmmaking came from. She remembers that her father put a camera in her mother’s closet, on the top self, and she was told she could have it when she was older. She spoke of “opening the closet and seeing that beautiful box waiting for me when I was an adult. Maybe for me, the idea of being an adult was to have your own camera.”
Recently her documentary De Colores was selected for DOC NYC, America’s largest documentary film festival and taking place November 9-16, 2017. De Colores is part of The Future is Feminine and it about, as Zamora puts it, “Aura Taibel, a woman who came here as a housekeeper, a sweet lamb; but soon will become a businesswoman, a fierce tiger… Aura, has cleaned the houses of other people for 30 years; but soon she will become the owner of many houses of her own.”
The project began as her New School Masters thesis project. As an immigrant herself, she did not know many people in New York and finding the right subject was a challenge. She spoke to a fellow filmmaker from Venezuela, Luisa De La Ville, who introduced her to Aura Taibel. After initial hesitation on Taibel’s part, the two women eventually met at a Colombian coffee spot and it was there that Taibel opening up to Zamora. “She started telling me her story, openly, frankly. She was so open with me from the beginning. I could see her eyes were wet and I said, ‘Wow this is amazing, I have to tell this story.’” In making the film Zamora was amazed at the level of respect all of Taibel’s clients had for her, they seemed to see her as more of a friend, part of the family, than an employee.
Back in Venezuela, Zamora worked with both Venezuelan and international film crews. One of her projects brought her to Mexico, and while working on this project she realized that her passion lay in making documentaries. “I get the chance to see people in the eyes and really connect, and hear the stories,” she explained. She wanted to learn more about how to perfect this craft and first school she saw when searching for courses was the New School, which she fell in love with instantaneously. She could only apply to one school due to financial restraints and was accepted into the documentary program.
She came to New York for the first time in November 2014, and did a year program in Documentary Studies and a Masters in Media Management, after she had received a comment from a friend in Los Angeles, where she was living at the time: “You’re a workaholic. You should move to New York.” She received her acceptance letter on Thanksgiving and saw it as a sign of good things to come. In her first year at the school she met a Russian fellow filmmaker Igor Myakotin who was living in International House and he encouraged her to apply in the next academic year. The next year she was accepted.
When asked to describe IHouse is three words she said: Inspiration, Commitment, and Family.
“It’s a nice balance between having your own space, and being connected with everyone,” she said. “Since being at I-House, amazing things have happened, and I have met some amazing people.” The thing she kept coming back to was the wonderful collaborative feel that I-House encourages in its Residents. She spoke of it feeling like she was in a place where everyone sees the best in you and is willing to support you in any way they can. She spoke of how both on film sets and at I-House she feels a deep sense of family. She was also amazed by the personal and financial support she received from the House. She was a Women’s International Leadership Program Fellow in her first year, and serves as a Program Fellow this year. She also worked as an editor in the Communication Office.
“I think that I-House is a place where you learn to be more open to difference. You learn to be more aware of how diverse we are and as a filmmaker you always looking for stories. In I-House everything is around you.”
She compared IHouse to a movie set, where a lot is going on and everywhere you look there is something interesting and important happening. In addition to connecting with Residents at I-House, Zamora also loves the staff at, especially the Dining Room team whom she regularly speaks Spanish with, which makes her feel at home.
“As an artist crisis gives you motivation,” she said. Coming from Venezuela she expressed a huge amount of gratitude having been given the opportunity to come to the United States, as now there are many who are unable to travel due to the expensive airfare. The musicians she worked with on her documentary, Tadeo Rojas and Lorenzo Toro, are unable to attend the premier of her film because of this. Such hurdles have been huge incentives for her to make the most of the opportunities she has been given, she says, and really push herself and her work to be the best.
Zamora also spoke of I-House as a kind of “Incubator for the future.” She believes all the people who are at I-House are there for a reason. While they may not enter the House with a purpose, they leave with one. “I-House is a place I am really proud to call my house. There is no other place in New York that I am prouder to call my house than International House. There is no better place than I-House,” she said.
Looking to the future, Zamora hopes to continue doing documentaries about empowered women, and is looking to develop this short documentary into a fuller, feature-length story.