The following blog and video piece originally ran on the website Dear Producer and is shared here courtesy of that website’s editor Rebecca Green, a Film Independent Fellow and Creative Advisor. Excerpts from Dear Producer appear on our blog regularly.
Marisol Medrano and Chelsea Hernandez, producers of the doc Building the American Dream, which premiered at SXSW, discuss the challenges of shooting a film for 10 years, the arduous task of securing grants and prepping a film for its festival premiere, and how a filmmaker’s cultural background, understanding and sensitivities impact a project and its subjects.
Marisol Medrano is a graduate from The University of Texas at Austin, and Associate Producer for the Student Academy Award Winner Fatakra. She has produced projects that closely relate to the filmmakers’ cultural diversity and personal interest. Including, Hearts and Hoves, winner of the AOL Filmathropy Project Scholarship. Der Vater, a short narrative was an official selection of the Texas Filmmakers Showcase. Plane Pretend, a short narrative recipient of the 2019 Jury and Audience Award at Cine Las Americas International Film Festival. In addition, Marisol also produced Building the American Dream, a feature documentary that made its World Premiere at SXSW 2019 and is currently screening at various festivals. She is also a member of Brown Girls Doc Mafia and National Association for Independent Latino Producers and a 2019 Southern Producers Lab Fellow.
Chelsea Hernandez is a Mexican-American filmmaker based in Austin, Texas, recently named as one of Texas Monthly Magazine’s “10 Filmmakers on the Rise.” She is an 8-time Emmy winning director, producer and editor in the Texas region. Chelsea started her career in media at the ripe age of nine, hosting and co-producing a local children’s educational TV program with her mother (think Martha Stewart show but for kids!). Chelsea received a B.S. from the University of Texas, the first in her Latino family to achieve a college degree. She began her documentary career right out of college, as Associate Producer and Assistant Editor on PBS national broadcast special, Fixing the Future, hosted by David Brancaccio of NPR’s Marketplace, directed by Ellen Spiro and national 6-part series Ancient Roads from Christ to Constantine directed by Hector Galan.
From 2013 to 2016, Chelsea was the primary editor and co-producer of Arts in Context, a documentary series produced at KLRU-TV, Austin PBS and distributed by NETA. Chelsea has directed and produced various documentary films including See the Dirt (Austin Film Festival Short Documentary Winner), An Uncertain Future (SXSW Texas Jury Winner, AspenShorts Youth Jury Winner, CineFestival Short Winner) and made her directorial debut with feature documentary Building the American Dream, which premiered at SXSW and is currently screening at festivals across the country. Chelsea is a NALIP Latino Media Market fellow, Firelight Media Doc Lab Fellow, Tribeca StoryLab Fellow, Tribeca All Access Recipient, BAVC National Mediamaker Fellow, and UC Berkeley Investigative Reporting Workshop Fellow.
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(Header: Building the American Dream)