“Dear Dios: A Cuban-American Movie”byVanessa Libertad Garcia
I once gave my feature screenplay Dear Dios, in one of its early draft stages, to a good friend for reading and critique as she had been working in entertainment for over a decade. The film follows an aspiring photojournalist with a lust for bi-women and malt liquor as she spirals out of control in the hipster club scene and turns bottom-of-the-barrel temp for an LA celebrity tabloid rag. The protagonist is a Cuban-American lesbian named “Dolores Amorosa Marti.” After much anticipation, the verdict came in; she loved it. Great news! The bad news? She suggested I change Dolores Amorosa Marti’s ethnicity to “White.” The reason being that she didn’t believe any contemporary Latina actress could carry a lead role at the box office. Although her suggestion came from a place of genuine helpfulness and I understood that at the time, a barbed-wire resistance sprouted deep inside my bones and I couldn’t entertain the idea for more than a moment. Upon reflection, I’ve come to understand the subconscious reasoning of my visceral knee-jerk reaction. Latinas are not sidekick supporting characters in my life, but the centerpiece leads. If I, a Cuban-American lesbian, don’t explore, honor and showcase the intricacies of my people, then who? I feel it’s my responsibility as a writer and filmmaker to introduce our complex multifarious stories into the global conversation. We, like all human cultures, are inherently worth the acknowledgment and reflection. Gargantuan box office profits or not. I also take the importance of our presence a step further by paying strong attention to the details of each unique “brand” of Latino-American experience. For example, I craft Cuban-American and Mexican-American characters according to their individual cultural nuances as best as I can. Latino-Americans aren’t just a glob of South American vagueness or an afterthought. We play both the leads and supporting roles in American society. I’ve attempted to honor this reality in all of my creative projects. Most recently, my debut book The Voting Booth After Dark: Despicable, Embarrassing, Repulsive and my upcoming feature film Dear Dios, which is based on the book’s characters. The book is available online as a paperback and e-book, and the film is currently in its fundraising stage. Keep up to date with Dear Dios’ progress and find out how you can get involved by checking out http://www.deardios.com.
Vanessa Libertad Garcia is a Cuban-American writer & filmmaker who has completed a myriad of successful projects in both the film & literary worlds. Her debut book The Voting Booth After Dark: Despicable, Embarrassing, Repulsive is available for purchase online at numerous well-known and independent sites such as Amazon.com, Barnes&Noble.com and GiovannisRoom.com. Ms. Garcia is currently in development for her first feature film titled Dear Dios, which is based on the book’s characters, and a collection of love poetry.