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A Conversation With LALIFF’s ‘My Two Voices’ Director Lina Rodriguez

Jeanette Hernandez

Be Latina

May 26, 2022

One of our favorite festivals is back, and we couldn’t wait to tell you about it. LALIFF (Los Angeles Latino International Film Festival) is back this year with a lineup to die for.

LALIFF is one of the most important festivals in our community and is often the premier event for films that change narratives and open fundamental conversations for our Latino community.

In its 21st edition, LALIFF is coming on strong with carefully selected films, including the opening night documentary “Mija,” which portrays the plight of undocumented immigrants. Similarly, LALIFF has been the premier event for “My Two Voices,” the new project by Colombian-Canadian director Lina Rodriguez.

My Two Voices” addresses the plight of three Latina immigrant women in a “poetic reflection on the fluid nature of identity.”

The documentary tells the incredibly raw stories of Ana Garay Kostic, Claudia Montoya, and Marinela Piedrahit in the voice of an omniscient narrator in 68 minutes.

With great mastery, Rodriguez managed to convey her vision through experimental images that accompany the narrative and reflection on the experience of immigrants in Canada.

My Two Voices” explores themes that are familiar to us all, such as motherhood, violence, resilience, and survival. The truth is that how Rodriguez has been able to capture these harrowing stories with kindness while creating a safe space for the narrators is beyond us.

However, when in doubt, it is always best to go to the source.

BELatina had the opportunity to speak with Lina Rodríguez about “My Two Voices,” the stories behind it, and the creative process behind the documentary.

Considering identity is crucial in any narrative, tell us how you captured it through the stories of three Latin American women.

That was one of my first tasks: how to capture identity, not only as people but also as immigrants. Identity is always fluid. I really didn’t set out to sort of capture anything or fix anything. [Instead] I was trying to find ways that would speak about this sort of fluidity and hybridity that is close to my own immigrant identity but also my identity as a woman. So the process of making the film was really more of moving toward the women I collaborated with.

Instead of thinking that I was just going to come and take something from them or capture something from them, I tried to approach it as a human activity, which is what filmmaking is for me. [I would] just try to move towards them, spend time with them. And it was through that process of listening to them and sharing some of our stories as immigrants, [and] as women that the film, [that] the relationship – the human relationship took shape.

Then I started thinking about ways how to portray them. The film is an interpretation of their auras or who they are. I didn’t want to fix them, [so] that’s one of the reasons why I decided to make the film the way I did. It invites the audience on a journey to get a sense of the women in different ways: through gesture, texture, small quotidian activities, and domestic spaces.

It’s only towards the end of the film that we get to see their faces. So speaking of identity, we think about a look, and we think that that is a way of identifying someone. But we are whole bodies, and our bodies carry so much experience and history that I wanted to find a way to be reciprocal to the generosity and trust they gave me by opening their homes and their lives to my team and me.