5Q's w/Felix Martiz "Kiko" Director

FRIDAY | BLOCK E | 4:00 |
Kiko (32 min) dir: Felix Martiz


#1: Can you describe your movie and why somebody should see it in less than 280 characters?

"Kiko" tells the stories of two individuals that work at the same factory yet live very different lives. The titular character Kiko is a young factory supervisor who always does the right thing and Maria is a young undocumented single mother working to make ends meet. The factory gets raided by ICE and Maria asks Kiko to look after her daughter before she gets deported. Maria is sent to a border town, helpless and alone in her country of birth, which she is now a stranger to. Kiko struggles with what is right and legal, coming to understand that they are not always the same. He sets out to help bring Maria back.

Kiko Poster.jpg

#2: What do you want the Borrego Springs Film Festival audience to know about your film that isn’t obvious from its title?

"Kiko" is a very topical film. I would like to blame the bigot in office, but the truth is that unfortunately immigration is always a current topic due to our biased and inequitable immigration policy. My main objective with the film is to put faces to the stories that are truly effected by the details of this huge problem. "Kiko" paints a portrait of those who are widely discussed but little seen in mainstream media—the undocumented. The film tackles various social issues, including immigration, deportation and family separation.

#3: What is your movie making background?  Tell us about yourself.

I have been writing and directing award winning short films for over 8 years. I have screened at over 40 film festivals including last years' Borrego Springs, with "400 Miles," a film which I directed and was written by Fabian Martin. My love for the art of film came at an early age - in the 4th grade to be exact - when my teacher Mr. Tengeri screened "The Red Balloon" for our class. Ever since, I have an affinity for foreign film. As I grew older, my appreciation for all types of genres also grew and I began making home made films with my brothers and cousins. I was an inner-city kid with no means or connections to make a career of this. Luckily my High School had a Video Production class which made everything fall into place. I began directing and filming short PSA's that brought me some nationwide attention. Without a mentor, I wandered away from film after high school, but soon heard the calling again and went to the University of Long Beach, where I received my BA in Film and Electronic Arts. While in school, I noticed that there was not enough Latino content being produced, so I began writing and directing films that my community could connect with. Inclusion is empowerment and I wanted the Latinx audience to feel that our voice is represented, and simultaneously entertaining. I want to make my community proud and showcase a side of the Latinx experience that is not always explored in film or in media. I recently received my Masters in Film from Mount St Mary's University and look forward to sharing my passion and perspective in a classroom setting in the future. 

Maria at fence.jpg

#4: What was the biggest lesson learned in getting your film made?
You have to just do it. Never underestimate the power of your passion. When the script for Kiko was ready, I wanted to just get up and go film it. My producing partner Xiomara Castro, was a little hesitant, especially since we had no money and had exhausted our crowdfunding option in raising money for another short film "Mia." The film is a straight drama and written to be made cheaply (except for the Mexican border scene which, we planned to shoot guerilla style). The more I thought about it, the more I was convinced that we could do it. Xio and I had about a grand between us and figured if we can get the cast and crew to defer payments, then we had enough to feed them. Plus, we had the camera and gear already to go from MSMU (I was still a student when we began filming). We cast the film and surrounded ourselves with great artists who believed in the film. We took a break from filming mid-way through and created a crowdfunding campaign with the footage we had. With community support, we rented equipment and crossed the border to film some crucial scenes in Tijuana, Mexico. On our way back home, we filmed at the border, guerilla style. Passion for the project continued through Post Production, Jesus Guevara our other Producer assured that our film sounded and looked great. The final member to join the team was the very talented composer Sergio Torres-Letelier, who wholeheartedly believed in the film and gave us an amazing score. Now in festivals, the energy is still there. People are connecting with the film in a big way and our  passion for the film is felt in every audience.

Memo harrasing Maria.jpg

#5: What does the future hold for your film and you?
"Kiko" was always meant to be a short film that could also be seen as a proof of concept for a series that I would like to develop. I recently created the show bible and wrote out the story plot lines and am ready to do what it takes to get it made. Hopefully the right person sees the film and helps us take it to the next level. 

Xiomara comforting Maria.jpg
Matthew NothelferComment