Last week we began covering the film festival South By Southwest and we took a look at an intimate elegant documentary from liana Sosa as she took a journey with her grandfather.
AJ: So what got you interested in what we leave behind?
First of all, thank you so much for taking the time to speak with me today. I started this project back in 2014. I specifically wanted to focus on the work that my grandfather did as when that program was active and growing up, he would always take these monthly 17 hour bus rights to visit our family in El Baso and Albuquerque. And so I was interested in also documenting that, but then over the course of filming, um, in the last year of his life, he decided to build a house in his small town in Lu Durango. And that is now part of the film.
AJ: Yeah. And this had to be an emotional journey for you to go on, because like you said, in the beginning, you didn’t really know your grandfather all that well, how was it like getting to know him on this journey as well?
Yes. I mean, as you you point out, even though he’d visit us every month, you know, I didn’t really know him that well. Even though I’m fluent in Spanish, you know, he speaks, a certain dialect, from Luang where he’s from. Sometimes it would be very hard for me to understand. So over the course of the film, we developed this common language together and I was able to then have, you know, at length conversations with him durinthe filming process.
AJ: Yeah. And you mentioned that this was like a seven year long process getting this film made. And now it’s premiering at South by Southwest, which is a huge festival to be a part of. So how does that film knowing that this is gonna premier at SXSW.
It feels amazing that this is going to premier at south by Southwest. I mean, it’s been you know a seven year journey to make this film. So to finally be able to share it with a live audience, um, feels so special, especially given the circumstances, you know, of the pandemic and just everything going on. So I feel an immense privilege, but also honored to be able to share this finally with everyone.
AJ: Is this your first documentary or how many have you done before this? If any.
liana Sosa: Yeah. Is my first feature documentary I’ve, directed other short documentaries, but this is my first feature length documentary film.
AJ: And how did it film this being your first documentary film on your family? Did you ever feel like it may be too personal or did you just try to separate that in the documentary as well? Not to be too personal.
liana Sosa : I mean, I knew from the start to even make a film about my grandfather, it was going to be personal. And as you see in, as you will see in the film, there are voiceover sections where I include, you know, more personal aspects of my own life. So it’s hard to separate that, you know, I, it is a personal film and it’s, I’m much a part of it as much as my grandfather is. So it is a film about our family and you know, my intention was to make it an intimate
AJ: liana Sosa what is next for you after what we leave behind?
liana Sosa : So right now I am working with four other Latina directors on an anthology film. it’s a fiction feature it’s called, it doesn’t really have a title it’s called untitled, Texas Latina project.
AJ: Oh. That sounds awesome, I cannot wait to cover that for infamous horrors when that comes out.
liana Sosa : Yeah. And it’s a, it’s a great project because there’s five of Latina directors at the helm of it. And we are all writing personal stories, based where we grew up. So in different cities of Texas. So El Paso’s rep represented San Antonio, Corpus Christi, Dallas, and Louisville. And so that’s the project that’s in development right now. And we’ve received, um, support from time Warner one 50 and SF film the reign and grant.
AJ: Well liana Sosa, thank you so much for joining us, it’s been really fun and congratulations on What We Leave Behind.
liana Sosa: Thank you.