Interview with Filmmaker Brian Rios (LILI)

LILI, 15min., Puerto Rico, Drama/Thriller
Directed by Brian Rios
A father and daughter must cross the border in order to find a better life, but the daughter cannot speak.

Get to know the filmmaker:

1. What motivated you to make this film?

My main motivation was to humanize and make people feel empathy for the immigrants coming into America, especially the children that were being separated from their parents. I wanted to make a short film that could get to the emotional core of an audience member no matter what their personal politics are.

2. From the idea to the finished product, how long did it take for you to make this film?

I had the idea around August of 2020, during the pandemic. I ended up writing the first draft on November 2020. Produced it 3 days in November of 2021. Post Production to get music, sound and editing all ready around June 2022. So almost 2 years.

3. How would you describe your film in two words!?

Emotionally Impactful

4. What was the biggest obstacle you faced in completing this film?

Finding the character of Lili. I had casted another girl originally, but something was not working. Then, I remembered my cousin Marimi Cruz had a daughter, Lara Bravo, the right age that could fit the character. I auditioned her the day before Day 1 of the shoot, and luckily it worked out better than I could’ve imagined.

5. What were your initial reactions when watching the audience talking about your film in the feedback video?

Amazing! It’s great to see that the audience really responded to it. I love that the point I was trying to make is getting across to the audience.

6. When did you realize that you wanted to make films?

I was 13 years old and would watch and rent a lot of films. I watched “What Dreams May Come” and it was a really heavy movie, and it gave me a new perspective about life and death. It really affected me and showed me the emotional power a film could have. After that I was always the kid in my school with a video camera and would make Video projects every chance I got.

7. What film have you seen the most in your life?

It’s probably a tie between “Donnie Darko”and “City of God.”

8. What other elements of the festival experience can we and other festivals implement to satisfy you and help you further your filmmaking career?

Maybe an online Q & A if the audience members are interested. I love having thoughtful conversations about not only the short film, but also about the current political situation.

9. You submitted to the festival via FilmFreeway. How has your experiences been working on the festival platform site?

Using FilmFreeway has been simple and great. It’s so convenient to be able to submit to multiple Festivals via your smartphone.

10. What is your favorite meal?

Bistec encebollado con arroz y habichuelas y amarillos

Steak with onions with rice and beans, and Fried sweet plantains

11. What is next for you? A new film?

I’m currently writing a political feature script about the housing situation in Puerto Rico. I’m also helping my DP and Editor Heixan produce a feature.


By matthewtoffolo

Filmmaker and sports fan. CEO of the WILDsound Film and Writing Festival

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