Gina Rodriguez may not be a Miami native, but she is here often even to consider it one of her favorite cities in the world. Her film “Filly Brown” premiered this week in collaboration with Hispancize and the Miami International Film Festival at the Regal Cinema South Beach.
The Puerto Rican actress earned rave reviews on the film festival circuit for her portrayal of Filly Brown, a young Latina rapper whose rise to the top is made murky by shady characters and the misguidance of her drug-addicted mother played by Jenni Rivera. It's up to Filly's father, played by Lou Diamond Phillips, to raise his two daughter while his wife is incarcerated and to help guide her while others are leading her astray.
"Hispanicize has such a passion for Hispanic films and we had been looking for some time for a project that we could collaborate on this year," said Jaie Laplante, Executive Director of the Miami International Film Festival."Filly Brown" was the perfect film to feature for festival attendees and we are really proud that we were able to have Gina Rodriguez, Lou Diamond Phillips, and Edward James Olmos here to support it. We are excited that Panteleon Film intends to give it the profile it deserves on April 19th."
Rodriguez also talked about her work on the film and the lessons people can learn from her character.
For your first major project, working with actors like Olmos, Phillips and Rivera must have been huge for you. What were you able to learn from them during your time together?
“Working with giants like Edward James Olmos, Lou Diamond Phillips and Jenni Rivera was the biggest blessing for me as an actress, activist and person. Each one of them empowered me in their own way. Lou taught me so much about acting, details, bringing my ideas and myself with confidence to the set. Eddy, helped me hone in on my activism. Being a man so involved with the community and assisting those around him is beautiful and inspiring. I pray that one day I am able to use my platform to help those around me. And Jenni was one of the strongest women, Latina women, that I had ever had the blessing to be around. She inspired me everyday through her compassion, generosity, light, humility and love. These three made major contributions to me being the woman you are talking to today.”
Filly Brown learns quite few lessons during the film. What message would you like young women to take from her story?
“What's exciting to me is that her lessons are for anyone, any age, any race. The movie speaks about the necessity of family, pursuing your dreams and being true to your voice, your story. The film has seemed to resonate differently for everyone. I'm just hoping people come and enjoy the film. The cast around me is strong and amazing and the music is fun!”
We love seeing you when you come to Miami. What are some of your favorite spots to visit?
“I love Cuban food here in Miami, literally anywhere and everywhere. I love the scene in Midtown and I love to dance so you can find me there! And the beach, the beach, with its turquoise waters! Miami is such a diverse city flowing with festivals, music and food.”
What are you working on right now? What’s next for Gina Rodriguez?
“I am really excited about working on a new pilot called “The Wild Blue” written by the brilliant writers and producers Taylor Ellmore, Graham Yost and Mark Johnson. I also have two more films I will start working on when back in LA, one of them being Youssef Delara (co-director of Filly Brown) called “Marching Banda.”
“Filly Brown” opens in wide release on April 19.