Logline: ¡Hola Kitty! is a short documentary that addresses the challenges of Hispanic illegal immigrants in the US. It blends a social point of view with Pop Culture.
Length: 10 minutes.
Director: Daniel Burity.
Producer: Daniel Burity and Vera Queiroz.
About the director: Daniel Burity is an award-winning Brazilian filmmaker, based in Brooklyn, NY.
Looking for: Executive and Associate Producers; Film Festival Directors and Journalists.
Funders: Daniel Burity and 2 Skinny Legs Films.
Made in association with: Silly Dancing.
Release date: Currently being presented in Festivals. Premiere to be announced.
Congratulations! Why did you make a film called ¡Hola Kitty!
Thank you! In Times Square, NY, we can see these people dressed in costume characters such as Mickey Mouse, Batman and Hello Kitty. They work in exchange of money, sort of like donations, taking pictures with tourists. At first I was drawn, purely, by the aesthetic nature of these costumes within Times Squares' backdrop. I just thought it was a surrealistic image.
Eventually, I discovered that most of those people are actually immigrants, especially Mexicans. Being an immigrant myself, from Brazil, I felt I could relate it. The cherry on the top was that I could deal with this important theme, Immigration, using a Pop Culture approach; and I chose Hello Kitty because it would be interesting to use her blank face as a metaphor for faceless immigrants who are working in the shadows of American society.
It is also surreal that a Latino immigrant works in a Japanese costume in Times Square. I had to make a film about that!
Imagine I’m a member of the audience. Why should I watch this film?
Two reasons: Firstly because these people need to be heard. Especially these days, when characters like Donald Trump have enormous influence on the media.
Secondly because the film is a lot of fun. I would never make a film just to ‘’educate’’. That’s not my job; it is eye candy, it is fun and hopefully people will find it moving.
How do personal and universal themes work in your film?
I feel confident in the project because I am also an immigrant. Today, the more we debate about immigration the better. Even though my film focuses on Hispanic immigration in the US, we can’t forget that there is an international immigration crisis on the go.
Take a look at the situation that derived from the war in Syria or the immigration of Haitians to Brazil, following the collapse of that country after a major earthquake in 2010.
How have the script and film evolved over the course of their development and production?
The crazy thing is that my initial idea wasn’t to make a documentary, let alone about immigration. One day I was bored and decided to shoot the costume characters in Time Square. As I said before, I was fascinated by the aesthetic of the whole thing.
Once I started talking to them and discovered that Mickey, Hello Kitty and many others were Hispanic immigrants that could barely speak English, it was a no-brainer decision. I always wanted to make a film about immigration, but something unconventional, so things just fell into place.
What type of feedback have you received so far?
I have just finished it; people are really excited about the film´s concept and the way it was presented. So I am very happy!
Has the feedback surprised or challenged your point of view?
Not really. But I still haven’t showed to a larger audience. So let’s see what comes around.
What are you looking to achieve by having your film more visible on www.wearemovingstories.com?
To reach more people!
Who do you need to come on board (producers, sales agents, buyers, distributors, film festival directors, journalists) to amplify this film’s message?
Definitely an Associate or an Executive Producer, to help with festivals costs. Besides that, festival directors and journalists.
What type of impact and/or reception would you like this film to have?
Honestly, it is more important for me that people have a good time watching the film. And, obviously, I would like it to forment even more debates about immigration.
What’s a key question that will help spark a debate or begin a conversation about this film?
How important is Hispanic labor for the American economy?
What are the key creatives developing or working on now?
I’m working on three new ideas, but they are on early stages; therefore I don’t want to give anything away!