Local director wins “Best Director,” selection nods in film festivals through grassroots movie on domestic violence | Featured


IMPERIAL VALLEY – From a true story of domestic violence shared among friends to a grassroots film running on goodwill, to various film fest selections, to an award win in an international film festival, local filmmaker Roy Dorantes’ independent film “¡Ni Una Mas! (Not One More!)” has gone from tackling subjects close to him and his cast to film nods in eastern Europe in a few short years.

Imperial resident Roy Dorantes, whose background is in video journalism and has been making movies in his own independent company RD Media since his first film “Killing Chavez” in 2015, Dorantes finished filming and edits on “¡Ni Una Mas!” in November 2022. After a handful of test screenings throughout Calexico, Mexicali, Rosarito, and Arizona in 2022 and 2023, Dorantes said he began submitting the film for international film festivals in September 2023, to receive film selection nods from seven film festivals from Denver and New York to as far as France, Italy, Sweden, Russia and Romania.

“I began to search for film festivals online, and I have two guys on my team that are from Romania,” Dorantes said of the film’s duo of music composers, “so in honor of them I decided to send the film to a Romanian film festival in Bucharest.”

“I thought we had no chance in hell man, but in honor of my two guys I thought I’d go ahead and send it,” he mused.

Dorantes and the film’s cast and crew were “ecstatic” to learn of the film’s selection in the Best International Film Festival out of Bucharest, Romania, putting their film in the top contenders’ bracket out of 100-plus submissions by contestants, Dorantes said.

“So when they sent us that notice (on the official selection) we were ecstatic, and then they sent us another one (saying) ‘You have won the Best Director Award,’ and I was like Noo way,'” Dorantes said.

While ¡Ni Una Mas” is a tale of fiction, it is based on real cases of domestic violence and is backed up with facts regarding the epidemic of domestic violence, Dorantes said.

While Dorantes originally set out to do a film on COVID-19 due to his personal experiences with the illness, the idea for a film on domestic violence that lead to the film “¡Ni Una Mas!” came from a female cast member sharing her personal experiences with the filmmaker and her fellow cast, Dorantes said.

“This happened to her: She had to run from (Tijuana) because she was on the run from her cop ex-husband who wanted to kill her,” Dorantes said. “She comes to Mexicali, hides and changes her name, appearance and becomes a new person until he finds her; so it’s based on her life story.”

“It’s not a documentary, it’s a story that highlights real facts and real cases, so I believe that’s why I believe it’s doing really well,” Dorantes said. “The film proposes real facts, real numbers, real statistics wrapped around fictional cases that are based on real cases. So our movie is gaining international attention because of the message.”

The message, Dorantes said, is that in the last 71 years of the five wars the U.S. has been involved in – Korea, Vietnam, the Gulf War, Iraq and Afghanistan – the U.S. has lost the lives of 100,000-plus American soldiers. In that same time period, Dorantes said the U.S. has lost the lives of 300,000 or more women to domestic violence.

Putting it in perspective, Dorantes said that is akin to 1,500 soldiers a day versus 3,000 women lost to domestic violence a day in that same 71-year time period, “so our movie says that its safer for women to go to war than to stay home. It’s tragic, very, very tragic.”

The movie itself is the story of a detective who goes to Mexico looking for the alleged murderer of his niece in a case of domestic violence in the U.S., “and in so doing he comes across other cases of domestic violence,” which are based on actual domestic violence cases known to the filmmaker without naming names of the victims, he said.

Dorantes said audiences and individuals who viewed the bilingual movie during screen tests – from Calexico to Yuma, Rosarito and in between – had strong reactions to it and the instances of domestic violence portrayed within it.

“The film is not a nice film,” Dorantes said. “It’s got scenes that are very violent because we thought it was necessary to portray such incidents, but we tried to keep the violence under control as much as possible. (Lead actor and consultant) Anthony De La Cruz guided us a lot in focusing the film and keeping it professional.”

“We expose that domestic violence is a very serious problem,” Dorantes said.

In addition to the strong reactions, cast, crew and supporters of the movie helped it along the filmmaking process, donating various necessities as a unified film community for the cause against domestic violence, to get the movie made and seen.

“Dorantes said “the community and people that believe in our film” would provide food, set locations with no fees, transportations, bring in their own props, and other things needed for filming and equipment to get the film done.

“We had over 150 actors from both sides of the border, and everyone contributed in one way or another … so I just wanted to give a big shoutout to the community for helping,” the filmmaker said. “I am deeply in debt to our community because we had no money and still made the movie happen.”

For more information on the film “¡Ni Una Mas!” /” Not One More!”, visit bit.ly/NiUnaMasFacebook or contact Roy Dorantes by email at [email protected].

By ROMAN FLORES News Editor www.ivpressonline.com

2024-01-06 08:00:00 , www.ivpressonline.com – RSS Results in news of type article

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