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Exclusive Interview with writer-director Eli Vazquez

In an exclusive interview, Flickering Myth sat down writer-director Eli Vazquez to chat about his latest film project Bodies Will Tumble And Fall, premiering at this year’s Los Angeles Latino International Film Festival (LALIFF).

Welcome to Flickering Myth! Can you tell us about life before filmmaking, where did you spend your childhood?

I grew up in Northwest Indiana. Right outside of Chicago so we had more diversity than cornfields and seasoned food. I was the oldest of 10 so I spent my time fighting over hamburger helper while running downstairs to my room watching every quintessential indie movie of the 00’s. It was a wild time growing up in the hood while being an indie nerd kid, requesting Motorhead at the local quincenera.

Was it always your dream to work in the entertainment industry?

I was always artsy. Growing up poor we didn’t have the money to really invest in classes, but I was able to get into after school programs because I was good at painting or drawing. I was always obsessed with cinema, but I was scared to explore it because my Latina mom thought I was destined to be a priest (Seriously when I was baptized the priest held me up Lion King style to the church and announced it was my destiny). One day fate got me beat up over an iPod and we moved to a nice area with a film class in that high school. The rest was history and I’ve been obsessed since I was 18.

If you weren’t a filmmaker what would your career be?

Dude… honestly, an astrophysicist. I sucked at science classes, but I am obsessed with space and time. Like, I study it on my own and would take every Astro class I could get my hands on. Neil deGrasse Tyson is my Harry Styles.

Can you tell us about some of your favorite movies you’ve made so far?

I made a film that blacklisted me in my college called The Barbed Wire Dolls. It was my first film and the whole film department was trying to shut it down. It won best in class but because I angered so many faculty, they said I wouldn’t get an award for it. I said screw it and it got into festivals around the country and won the student award at the Chicago International Latino Film Festival. It’s not my best work AT ALL but it taught me how you need to be a rebel and stick to your vision. I love I had that chaos early on.

More recently you wrapped your horror-comedy, Bodies Will Tumble and Roll. What is the backstory and what inspired the idea for the film?

This film is going to melt faces and I am so excited for it. It’s all thanks to the Los Angeles Latino International Film Festival and Netflix making an Afro-Latino film fellowship and bringing me in as a fellow. They gave me money and some guidance but what I loved the most is that they let me just tell my story. I love telling fun plots with a deep message. I have 6 little sisters and aunts who were cheerleaders, so I wanted to tell a story where they got to see themselves be badasses in a classic America horror setting. It revolves around a lot of issues we have in the Latino community in terms of colorism, what generation you are and country superiority. All issues I dealt with personally that made me alienated from my community. I wanted to tell an empowering story of badass black and brown cheerleaders fighting back but with the message that we need to embrace our differences and come together as a community in order to get things done.