How Flamenca Films Is Bringing Latina Storytelling To The Forefront
Herein is what makes Trina Bardusco's launch of Flamenca Films - a female-inspired and culturally forward content development and production company - so vital to the Latinx community. Based in New York, Flamenca Films is passionate about telling stories for and about women in any format, especially Latinas. MBG spoke with Bardusco to learn more about her motivations behind this endeavor and what Flamenca Films has in store for the future.
When did your love of storytelling begin?
While growing up in Caracas, my grandparents had curtains to the balcony that gave into the living room. I remember spending Saturday afternoons watching, Sabado Sensacional, and coming up with my own skits. I would open up the curtains and out would come another character! Sometimes I was Iris Chacón, other times a serious telenovela actress. I was about 8 years old and also pretended I was the girlfriends of Miguel from Menudo. Does that count as storytelling?
What where some of your favorite films and/or TV shows growing up?
For some reason I loved the Smurfs. Lots of telenovelas, but I cannot remember their names. I do remember the Menudo one though. I would swoon and not be able to sleep at night.
Tell us about your work with HBO Latino. What did you learn about working in the Latino market during this time?
For 13 years we have been interviewing Latinos across the US. And we might have more in common than we think. We are a nation within a nation. Tenemos mucho corazón. We are brave. And if any of us talk about our mom or grandmother, we cry.
What do you think the mainstream media gets wrong about Latina women?
I think they don’t realize how entrepreneurial we are. That we are fast and thorough, basically we get the job done with a lot of pizzazz. We take pride in that. I also think that our “sexiness” should not be underestimated. It ‘s really a sign of intelligence, though it might seem all physicality. Basically, our hotness blinds them and they can’t see our potential at times. I think we need to stop wearing so much makeup and dressing like we’re going to a party all the time. Sorry sisters, it is the truth. Inversely, we can be demure and not speak up for ourselves. We feel our work should speak for itself, but we just seem lesser if we don’t demand what we deserve.
What was your motivation for creating Flamenca Films?
I had been creating a lot of content for Yahoo, mainly Yahoo in Español, producing the kind of videos that make women click. It was all women's programming. That’s when I realized that we were mainly in the "mommy" category or “mami” category of beauty and style. I felt like there were so many other ways of being a woman that were not being explored, so I got inspired to create the production company. I do not want to create content just for women, but definitely through a female lens.
What kind of content can audiences look forward to watching with Flamenca Films?
We are committed to telling stories from the heart. As a band of multifaceted Latinas, we rely on our warm spirit, passion, and culturally forward thinking to create projects that pop. Much like a flamenco dancer, we believe in timing one-of-a-kind moments that will remain vivid in our audience’s mind.
Your series “Wanderlust” is so amazing. What have your learned about yourself from traveling to so many places?
Thank you so much! I am out to market with the series, so so far I have only been to Spain. Have you ever heard of the spirit of Flamenco known as duende? I realized when starting this adventure that what I was really seeking was to find that spirit in me. I think we have a lot to learn from different cultures in terms of how to go inward. So, in Spain, it’s the passion behind searching for duende. In India, it is about finding your bliss as a yogini, and the list goes on. I believe these female archetypes from around the world can give us wisdom to better live in the complex world of today.
What are some great under-the-radar Latino movies/TV that we should know about?
This is going to sound kind of goofy, but I love an animation series called Los Vampiros de la Habana. It’s from the 1960s and has always stuck in my mind
Who were your role models growing up? And who are they today?
I have always been a huge fan of Isabella Rosellini. I got a sense that she was a genuine person and not just a beauty since I obsessed over her photos when I was a teenager. Plus, I like the fact that she’s mixed, Italian and Swedish American. I have always been drawn to people who are mixed culturally since I am as well. I am always searching for a clue that they might reveal something about themselves that is original. I love it that she is experimental in everything that she does when it comes to working in film, and is also a scientist. Who else can get away with a show like Green Porn where she dresses up as a huge anchovy? Who else can make anchovies mating sexy? Basically, she is my hero. People also say she looks like me, which tickles me to no end. She also went to Hunter College (and so did I) to get her Masters in biology. Sexy nerds rule!
If you could switch places with anyone for a day, who would it be and why?
I would love to switch places with flamenco dancer Olga Pericet. I love the way she moves, and imagine how thrilling to be able to express yourself that way? It takes a lifetime to learn how to dance like that, so I wish I could just feel that for one day. Uff!
Images courtesy of: reyes entertainment