Interview with Filmmaker Gina Margillo (OVERTOWN’S LIVING LEGACY)

Directed by Gina Margillo
When developers and city planners say they are “revitalizing” the historic black neighborhood of Overtown, in Miami Florida , they ignore its rich history and the community that has been living there for decades.

Get to know the filmmaker:

1. What motivated you to make this film?

Across the US, and especially here in Miami, we see how hypercapitalism is leading to the erasure of critical history. Miami is experiencing unprecedented growth as it reimagines itself as a new national tech hub. There are current cases where developers have already, or are planning to build on top of Native American and African American burial grounds, for example. At the same time, new state laws are rejecting the teaching of Black and other histories and narratives. These stories need to be told. The film was made for Barry University and who better to tell the story than three of Barry’s illustrious alumni. Our Executive Director, Bernadine Douglas, made it happen.

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

The film took roughly two months to make.

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

Infuriating reality

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

The biggest obstacle was keeping the film under 7 minutes and deciding what to cut. So much material emerged from the interviews, so it came down to narrowing the stories. Good B-roll is also always an issue..

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

I was thrilled that audience members captured what the interviewees were saying and felt the indignation. I was overjoyed that they all said they had learned something new.

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

I come from a film editing family that goes back to the 1940s–so from the beginning. Yet I dedicated my career to being an “in the trenches” activist–from fair housing and gender equality, to environmental justice to sexual and reproductive justice, and everything in between. As a communication professional, I realized the power of film as one of the best channels for activism.

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

I never get tired of Children of Men–by Alfonso Curon. It is a masterpiece of the dystopian genre that combines all of my thematic interests with phenomenal production and acting. I must have seen it at least 12 times.

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

Some guidance on what to do or how to leverage shorts would be helpful. What are the possibilities beyond the festival experience?

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

I’ve had only good experiences with FilmFreeway. I have two very different shorts making the circuit currently and the site really helps me organize the submission and acceptance process.

10. What is your favorite meal?

My favorite meal would be a multi-course Korean meal finished off with a big scoop of ice cream.

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

I’m currently making an experimental short about a well known Haitian drummer in Miami who just passed away.


By matthewtoffolo

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

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