“Lilia” is a short film that was released last year directed and written by Sam Lerma and produced by Ralph Lopez. It’s a story that many of us can relate to, dealing with a family who is on the financial brink when the father loses his job, further compounded when the patriarch decides to pull off a heist which ends up with disastrous circumstances.
Personally, I liked this film because it delivers a personal story told in a fragmented timeframe, and it has heart, which is what is missing from many films nowadays. Simply put, it does not have to beat you over the head with melodrama, and the fact that the actors are not household names works to their advantage. There’s a complete absence of scenes where the camera pans away to reveal the lead with a solitary tear streaming down his cheek.
I recently had the chance to speak with producer Ralph Lopez. Film making has been a lifelong passion for him; he’s gone from being the child that used to blow things up to the man responsible for making stuff happen. Upon talking to Lopez, you cannot help but notice his humility, he gives much credit to his inspirations and the people he works with. For example, he spoke at length about how Robert Rodriguez’s film “El Mariachi” and the book “Rebel without a Clue” propelled him forward. To this end, “Lilia” had a Kickstarter page which raised funds in order to create the film, giving it a community feel where people have the opportunity to patronize films that actually mean something.
This comes out as we have a conversation about his endeavors. We talked about the previously mentioned “Lilia” as well as his first feature film, “Wolf” which will be screened during the South by Southwest Film Festival (I’ll be attending in March). He refers to “Wolf” as a heavy piece that is going to cause people to start having a conversation, rather than just brushing things under the rug. “Wolf” is directed by Lopez’s longtime collaborator, Ya’Ke Smith, with whom Lopez has worked since high school; they previously produced “Katrina’s Son.”
The trailer for “Wolf” looks intense. The film deals with a family who finds out their son has been molested, furthe complicated by the son’s feelings towards his molester. The movie will be screened at South by Southwest in March, but you can see the trailer for yourself at the following link:
The future looks bright for Lopez. His films hit parts of us that hide in plain sight. We watch them and flinch because sometimes our comfort zone gets invaded – all the while we cannot turn away because we want to know what is going to happen next. I feel that’s a good thing because it gives us another perspective we can walk away from with characters we care for and can possibly care about. This is the heart and soul that is missing from most movies.
[Video By Exodus Filmworks; Courtesy Photo]