Mexican filmmaker discusses personal journey
One thing that stood out while interviewing Diego Luna Alexander was his passion. Whether it was for his children, work or beliefs, Alexander connected with his crowd. He wanted to be heard and understood by the audience at the Jorgensen on Thursday night; something at the heart of his work.
Alexander, 34, from Mexico, is an actor, producer and director. He's most recognized for his role in the film "Y Tu Mama Tambien," a drama about two teenage boys, and for directing the film "Cesar Chavez," a biography of the civil-rights activist and labor organizer Chavez which came out in theaters recently. He's been in the acting business since he was a young boy and is now producing his own films.
The event was organized through the efforts of the Puerto Rico Latin American Cultural Center.
Alexander began by speaking about his children who he says are what "what gives meaning to everything." He has two children, and defines himself, before anything, as a father.
The emphasis he places on striving to be a father first, began in his childhood, said Alexander. His father was a set designer for theaters and traveled from place to place, leaving Alexander and his sister to grow on their own during his absences. While working in theater, the people there were constantly in Alexander's life, and became his family.
He wrote several telenovas that revolved around childhood. One of them centers on a boy who wanted so badly to be an adult in order to fill the void in his life, that he became his father and acted like him. His own childhood is reflected in the story: though he was a child actor, he always acted like an adult because he was constantly around adults. But when he directed his own movies, he would create the organization to allow children in his movies to act like children. In such a way, Alexander uses his past experiences to shape his worldview and life, which consists of his work and parenting.
For example, while he worked in theater, he loved being an actor because he ultimately had the control of his work. Though he would receive direction, when it was time to perform, all of it rested on his shoulders and on his talent. In the end, the audience was the judge; and they'd either stay and congratulate him, or leave the show. But in the cinemas and movies, most of the power of the product lies in the editing and producing, not the actors. This is why Alexander decided to switch to producing from acting.
Ideals and emotion shape Alexander's work, as seen in the film "Cesar Chavez," which focuses on the plight of farm workers and one man who stood up for them. Alexander thinks the most beautiful thing about cinemas is that they can be personal stories that affect millions in the way they see things and how the interact with the world. The power of numbers is something that Alexander believes in, especially to promote social and economic change. He believes that if people are able to overcome indifference, then changes can happen quickly. It's all about connecting with others.
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