Interviews with crew
of the indie feature film Gabriela.
Violeta Villacorta - Costume Designer
Im the costume designer for Gabriela. Ive
done some costumes for actors, musicians and performers. This
is my first film, so its exciting. I learned lots and just
working with everybody was really a lot of fun as well. I actually
made about three of them [costumes] that were worn. I made the
wedding grown and then there was a piece that was used in the
club scene. It was
Additional words on Violetta's use of natural products:
I mainly use them [natural fabrics] because I care about
the environment a lot and want to use fabrics that are all
natural. I will not use nylon and polyesters, I think only
if they were recycled; if I were to get them from a factory
that was getting rid of all these things, thats I
would probably use them. I would rather stay with silks,
hemps and organic cottons and linens and I use a lot of
straw, raffia straw, which just grows from the ground and
I use that to embroider.
To me its very important to use ecologically safe
materials. They are [more costly], but to me theyre
worth it because you know what your getting is going to
be healthy for you and the ecology. The people that I sell
to yes [are willing to pay extra], which is very good. They
know what it is and theyre will to pay for something
like that. They actually last a long time, especially hemp
is very durable. And it come in so many different textures
now, that you can do something really rough and rustic or
something very elegant with hemp and silk. I get them from
different places, actually, Hungary, China, Poland. I havent
purchased anything from here because of the laws. Its
still isnt legal to grow hemp in most places in America,
I think there just one, Im not sure.
Cotton, I can usually get here. Sally Fox has great, great
organic cottons and I use her fabrics a lot. I am mainly
concerned with using natural dyes or dyes that are not harmful
to the environment. When I purchase fabrics from companies,
I talk about that. I ask them various questions and get
all their information before I purchase their things, because
thats a concern of mine as well.
a hand embroidered burlap mini-dress in brown with raffia straw.
It was pretty striking. And then there was one other piece with
a motif from a friend of mine, Kenny Sarf, hes a painter,
and it was another scene in the restaurant. It was a fun mini-dress
that I did for that, so they used it.
In terms of what I design for my clothing line, its very
different. My line is very elaborate; lots of hand embroidery,
I mix a lot of different fabrics, silk with straw and then Ill
use hemp with silk thread. So, Ill mix stuff like that and
for the film it was mainly causal wear, stuff youd wear
to work and not elaborate, but the sense of style was there. My
most simple pieces are a lot like what youd see in the film.
The wedding dress was a very simple dress. It was a T-dress,
like a little T-shirt, with a beautiful fabric. So the fabric
made it work and the style was just subtle.
Im originally from Peru, from Lima, but I grew up in New
York and I lived there for thirteen years and then I moved to
Miami and then here.
I think [Gabriela makes progress with Latino roles] because
Im really tired of seeing Latinos stealing or robbing or
being gang members, and here they are professionals doing a job
that was important. They were working at a psychiatric ward and
to me that was much more interesting then as seeing them as little
hoodlums because were not all hoodlums. We have everything
in every race. Theres good and bad, but unfortunately most
of the time theyre portrayed badly, I think. So for me it
was good to see a script where people were actually professionals
and had a normal life. They werent negative role models
at all, they were very positive.
[Working on the film] it was very beautiful to see people you
dont know from before, you never met, bond. There are a
lot of people I want to keep in contact with. I met Vincent I
think last year, in the middle of the year, something like that.
And I sent him a resume and press kit of what I did and at that
point I hadnt done any costumes for movies just for performers.
Ad I believe he liked my style and he called me in and took me
on for this project.
It was very tough for me because I usually when I work on a project
I get half up front and then I get paid. Or when I work with stores,
they pay either before or in parts or a few weeks after, so its
kind of tough for me on this project. My material costs got taken
care of, but the pay was deferred. For pieces that I used that
had already been made, there was no problem I just used those.
And those are mainly on the females, I dont think I had
anything of my own design on the men, we just shopped around and
used different things for them.
Im actually wondering [whether Ill work on another
film]. I enjoyed it very much so if theres another project
that I liked Ill do it because I really liked this one because
the theme was very nice, nice love story, kind of complicated,
but the fact that Latinos were portrayed in a much nicer picture
was important to me.
What I really enjoyed about the film was working with so many
people from other countries, and not just Latinos. We had African-Americans
in our film and Latinos but in the crew we had an English woman,
we had a Greek from Greece, we had people from Peru, Mexico, it
was pretty much an international crew. I liked that a lot because
I come from an international education going to United Nations
school in New York so Im used to that and when ever I have
that around, I really appreciate it. I didnt know there
were going to be so many people from all over, but when I saw
that I was like, oh wow, the UN, the United Nations here in our
little film. It was great, well it was not a little film. That
was another thing that I liked a lot.
Interview by permission from the producers of Gabriela.