By Bel Hernandez
When filmmaker Fanny Veliz began her journey of writing and directing her first feature, Homebound, she didn’t realize she would also need to raise the money, produce, be a publicist and look for distribution. But with a lot of passion and determination she pushed through with the tasks at hand. Her mission to create opportunities for American Latinos to portray human characters with depth and texture beyond the stereotypes common in current Hollywood film, have lead to the opportunity to distribute her film nationwide. She is doing so through a crowd funding company called Tugg which helps independent producers distribute their film across the country.
Hombound is the story of a successful young man who is forced to return to his hometown of El Campo, Texas to help his terminally ill father run the family business, a bar. While there he confronts his long held demons, accidentally falls in love for the first time, and reconnects with his dying father.
The principal cast is comprised of Enrique Castillo (Weeds, Blood In Blood Out) who gives a stirring performance as Gilberto, the father; Jeremiah Ocanas plays Gilerto’s strong-willed son; Julia Vera (Aztec Warrior) plays mother Escamilla, the pious matriarch of the family; with Veliz also playing the pivotal part of the love interest and Cristobal Lamas who plays her son.
We caught up with Veliz in the midst of setting up screenings across the country. She shared her excitement about the film that has touched so many and will finally get seen my hundreds of thousands, hopefully millions.
LATIN HEAT: Tell us about the journey of making Homebound and what is currently happening that will enable people across the country to see this film?
FANNY VELIZ: I’ve been making films for over 10 years now. Homebound is my first feature length film. I made the film out of my pure commitment to creating a film that portrayed American Latinos in the U.S. as an important part of the fabric of the country. I also wanted to create parts that highlight talented minority actors. The films has done very well in the film festival circuit. Now I’m thrilled that people around the country will have the opportunity to request the film at their local movie theater through a platform called TUGG.
LH: How can these screening be used to promote U.S. Latino stories?
FV: Homebound stars a talented cast of American Latino actors. Although Latinos are the largest minority in this country, only about 2% of roles in TV and film go to Latinos and most of those roles, in my opinion, are stereotypes. Homebound depicts the life of an American family that just happens to be a Latino family. Audiences will be delighted by the story and will be able to relate.
LH: Tell us about Tugg and what they do?
FV: Tugg.com is a crowd sourcing platform that gives people the ability to bring movies to their local theater without up-front costs. You can even use the screening as a fundraiser. It’s almost like TV on demand but they have negotiated rates with different theater chains that makes it possible for independent filmmakers to bring their films to audiences around the USA
LH: How does one get this movie to screen in their city?
FV: First a promoter goes to www.http://www.tugg.com/titles/homebound. They request a screening of the film. You pick the time, place and date, and if you get enough people to reserve tickets in advance the screening takes place!
LH: Will the talent of the film be present at the different screenings?
FV: As much as possible we will try to make it to all the screenings. At this point we are looking for sponsorship to cover some of the travel costs, but we hope that at least one cast member can be present at all the screenings.
LH: How did you find out about Tugg?
FV: Other filmmakers have told me about it. I also know that another Latino themed film called Bless me Ultima used this platform successfully because there’s a need for films like ours, we just lack the support of the big studios. But when you can bring the content directly to the audience, you don’t need the big Hollywood machinery only fans.
LH: What other film projects do you have coming up.
FV: I’m currently writing a script about dating in the big cities. It’s a study of how love has taken a back seat to career, and it also explores the issue of domestic violence and how society treats survivors.
LH: What would you like audiences to do who watch you film?
FV: I’d love for them to tell their friends and family about the movie. We had a one week run at a movie theater in Texas and it was a very successful run, solely because of word of mouth. People kept coming back to see it more than once. That’s what I’d love, for people to share about the film and host screenings. Sending a message to Hollywood that films like Homebound have an audience.
Veliz tells us that six (6) cities are currenty booking the film for a screening, among them Miami and Houston. She encourages organizations, individuals to help bring a film that portrays Latinos in a positive way to read all about the film, the cast and story and watch the trailer. This is a movie that should be seen across America.
To help bring positive films about the U.S. American Latino experience book a screening in your city. Go to: http://www.tugg.com/titles/homebound