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Interview with Samantha Aldana: "WomanInFan has been a big leap for nurturing female talent"

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The Sitges - International Fantastic Film Festival of Catalonia presents a third call for entries to make a short film-teaser as part of the WomanInFan program.  
With this competition, this Sitges Film Festival initiative for the visibility and incorporation of female creators in fantastic genre filmmaking proposes the creation of a piece destined to be shown around the audiovisual market circuit. 

Samantha Aldana was the winner of last year's edition and here she talks about the importance of the WomanInFan grant and how is her project going:


What state is your project currently in?  

Since winning the WomanInFan teaser competition, the film has continued to receive recognition from the international film community. LITTLE LYING WILD was selected for the Berlinale Talents Project Market, and in February, Producer Valerie Steinberg and I traveled to Berlin to present the film to industry alongside the other selected projects at the Berlinale Co-Production Market.  

Following that, we put together a small team and headed to Belize in April to shoot the teaser. We spent a couple of weeks location scouting and then filmed over 5 days. Now, we’re in post-production for the teaser and gearing up for one final day of shooting with our SFX creature unit.  


What are your next steps with the project?  

Once the teaser is complete, we’ll add it to our pitch package and present it to potential investors. We hope the teaser will give folks a strong sense of the film’s uniqueness and tone, especially since there are so few films to reference about Belizean culture, language, and overall perspective.  

Additionally, we've been accepted into the NALIP Media Accelerator in Los Angeles, as well as the Frontières Co-Production Market in Montreal during Fantasia. Both of these markets will empower us to expand our team and secure the resources needed to bring this film to life.  


What did winning the Corto-teaser WomanInFan - Sitges Fanlab Call mean for you and your project?  

Winning the WomanInFan grant has been transformative for both me and the project. It was an incredible experience to go to Belize and capture elements of the story. Beyond creating the teaser and having a powerful tool to amplify our pitch, the experience brought unexpected benefits. The teaser shoot turned into a mini test for shooting the film, and it continues to shape our understanding during post-production. It has provided profound insights into how the feature film needs to be made.  

Shooting in Belize gave us a head start in learning how to navigate its unique challenges. The experience was invaluable for the entire feature project, allowing our team to immerse themselves in Belizean culture in ways that a script and deck simply can't capture. My team could taste, smell, and feel the world around them. I believe that kind of tactile energy goes into the fabric of making the film and is an essential part of my creative process as I bring teammates into this story.  

This grant has been a gift in so many ways, and my team and I continue to uncover its benefits as we work toward the finish line.  


Who are your references within the fantastic genre?  

Guillermo del Toro, most vividly. Especially for this film, I would love the opportunity to tell him about this project.  


Do you believe there are opportunities for female filmmakers within the fantastic genre, or have you perceived greater barriers?  

I believe there are more chances now for female filmmakers in the fantastic genre, but there are still challenges. We're seeing more successful female directors getting noticed thanks to initiatives and programs that support us. The Sitges WomenInFan grant, for instance, has been a big leap for nurturing female talent. I've also been lucky to be part of programs like Breaking Through the Lens, which really propels female and non-binary voices. However, issues like unequal funding, biases in the industry, and not enough representation all still exist. It will take ongoing efforts to level the playing field and ensure access to resources, support, and opportunities for women filmmakers both in and out of the fantastic genre. 


Remember that until July 1 you can present your projects for the III edition of the short film-teaser project as well as the II WomanInFan Residence.

You can find all the information regarding these and the rest of the opening calls for #SitgesIndustry via this link.