Chuti Tiu’s script tackles the human spirit in seeking perfection
By Elia Esparza
After watching Pretty Rosebud’s movie trailer and interviewing the film’s director Oscar Torre, we just had to catch up with the film’s writer and star, Chuti Tiu – who also happens to be married to the film’s director! We also got some insight from co-stars Bel Hernandez and Richard Yniguez on their experience working on this emotionally raw and at times humorous film. Check out what the cast and director has to say about Pretty Rosebud.
Latin Heat: Pretty Rosebud’s theme hits us in the heart because a lot of us can relate. Was it hard to write such a story our womanly vulnerability contrasting with our strengths?
Chuti Tiu: For me writing about human frailty is an emotional process because we have to dig deep to reach the level of emotions needed to write a good story. I found it exhilarating to write a character with both good qualities and flaws – it’s more interesting, more real. The more I worked on the story, the more I wanted to uncover the rawness and unease we often feel with the darker parts of ourselves. It can be easy to just gloss over or even ignore aspects of our psyche that cause us shame or embarrassment. By ‘letting it all hang-out,’ it ends up being a holistically cathartic experience, for those making the film and those watching it.
LH: How was it working with your hubby?
CT: I can’t wait to work with Oscar [Torre] again! Having worked with all sorts of directors, I was impressed by the ease with which Oscar did the directorial dance, juggling the creative decisions needed for every department. An image that springs to mind was one time when I approached Oscar to ask a question about a scene, he was surrounded by the costume designer, the director of photography, the set designer and our line producer, each one asking him a different question that desperately needed to be answered. As I waited my turn, Oscar expertly handled each issue with a calm confidence. It was inspiring to watch.
I was blessed to work with Oscar as a director. He is the captain of the Pretty Rosebud ship, and I had to trust in his leadership. His main objective was always to protect the story, so he was extremely well-prepared. What attracted me to having Oscar direct is that he has the insight and sensitivity to capture the woman’s point of view.
LH to Bel Hernandez: I thought you were done with acting, Bel [actor and president/CEO of Latin Heat Entertainment]?
BH: I haven’t acted in over 15 years. It took Oscar [Torre], who was making his directing debut with Pretty Rosebud, and who in addition to being a talented actor, and is a dear friend. He lured me in to the audition, then convinced me I had to do it. I am so glad he did. It is a sweet and powerful film of a young woman coming into her own and I was proud to play the mom opposite the talented Chuti Tiu, who not only stars in the film, but also wrote it.
RY: It was such an honor to have been offered a role in this most poignant story of what we all go through at some point in our lives. The loss of love, lack of confidence, self-esteem! We find ourselves searching for answers in the wrong places, until we reach bottom and then some have the power to turn it around and make a difference. When I read Chuti’s screenplay I was blown away by her writing courage and how much this project could make a difference in so many lives. The joy of having a talented actor directing the piece even made my journey with this project that much more enjoyable. Oscar [Torre] is a jewel in the raw, unassuming and gentle in his approach! It was very much appreciated and knowing he knew what I was going through in my process to perform made it that much more interesting and a challenge. Then the day came to stand toe to toe with the gorgeous, star and wonderful writer of Pretty Rosebud! We had a blast with some difficult yet touching moments as the character starts to reach out…I had a blast working with such a pro!!
Pretty Rosebud is currently exploring the film festival circuit and looking for distribution.
Special Movie Trailer Comment from Mary Chuy:
Just like Chuti Tiu in her role as “Cissy” to say in one the scenes: ‘Why spend a minute or your life, waiting to live it?’
I personally can relate. I grew up in a very small town in Mexico and with Catholic parents in a home where I was though how to clean, make tortillas from scratch, cook and wash — not only my laundry but everyone else’s! I was not allowed to talk back or ask questions, and forget about talking about sex or complain about anything that was bothering me! It was like my opinion, person did not matter. I heard the same words from my Mother probably one thousand times! ‘Tienes que aprender a cocinar y a lumpiar bien para que cuando te cases, tengas a tu esposo feliz, si no el te va a departe.’ I grew up thinking that was my only job in life, to please others!
When I was 16 my parents told me, ‘Hija tienes que dejar de ir a la escuela, para que nos alludes con los gastos’ they also expected me to fulfill their only dream for me of ‘Verme casada de blanco con un Machista de por aya’. So this is what I did. First, I stopped going to school, then, I left home and immigrated to the U.S. at 16. Then I got pregnant, later I became an actress, got married and divorced and married again. All this because of the pressures of cultural traditions and never having been instilled confidence in my person that I was worth something more than to just be a dutiful wife and mother. Don’t get me wrong, I love m Mexican culture just as “Cissy” loves her Chinese traditions. But when the woman is independent, smart and strong, towing along the cultural tradition lines becomes a burden, a cross to heavy to carry and mistakes are made. To go out on a limb like “Cissy” does, is to risk becoming ‘La oveja negra de la familia‘ the black sheep and bringing shame to her parents… is that the cost to gain self-happiness? Thank you Chuit Tiu for writhing this wonderful story… Many people who are faced with cultural traditions and pressures will get your film.
Read Latin Heat’s interview with Pretty Rosebud’s director, Oscar Torre here: http://www.latinheat.com/2013/05/07/oscar-torre-directorial-debut-unlocks-deep-emotions-in-pretty-rosebud/