Latino Disconnect: Entre Paola y Gloria and Stuff of Dreams

Many Women speak of the experience of sisterhood found in friendship. This lineage of sisterhood can happen at childhood and last a lifetime or it can reveal itself during adulthood.

When we recognize a sister, when we know we have a non-blood sister I think a little bit of heaven has kissed us.

The film projects La Toma, Entre Nos and Autumn's Eyes have one thing in common, Paola Mendoza and Gloria LaMorte. They are sisters in creativity in a field where not many women have a stage, get recognized, and much less as Latina filmmakers.

Paola (actress, writer, director, producer) and Gloria (editor, director, writer) were both born in Colombia but raised here and both have an indelible connection to their country, its history, and its struggle.

But beyond that, their gift as artists is their stubborn pursuit of their dreams.

Those dreams have manifested film projects that address some of the most volatile and controversial issues plaguing our world.

Independently of each other, both Paola and Gloria continue to deliver projects of substance, depth, and beauty.

Last year they had La Toma - a short doc that tells the story of an Afro-Colombian gold mining community in southwestern Colombia fighting their displacement - directed by Paola and edited by Gloria, La Toma screened at last year's DOC NYC, where I saw it.

Also in 2011, Gloria directed Dominic Colón's award winning (short) screenplay CRUSH. CRUSH is marvelous, and first played at last year's New York International Latino Film Festival (NYILFF) and is now screening at Frameline36.
CRUSH is about homosexuality, heterosexuality, confusion, lust, and insecurity but with a twist of fun.

In 2012 Autumn's Eyes became Paola and Gloria's first collaborative work. Gabriel Noble co-directed Autumn's Eyes with Paola; and Gloria and her husband Joseph LaMorte, edited the film. Autumn's Eyes is about a three year-old girl living in extreme poverty in the United States. You can watch the documentary, for free, through SnagFilms.

Then in 2009 came Entre Nos, a film written and co-directed by Paola and Gloria, and inspired by Paola's mother's journey to the United States.

That is when I met them and instantly recognized their vibrancy and valor.

Since then, I have closely followed their steady course as filmmakers gain traction.

I admire their dedication, discipline, tenacity, their respect for artistic creation, but most of all their keen awareness of the world around them. It seems that they want to remind us about the brotherhood of mankind with each and every project.

A video that Paola and Topaz Adizes recently made as volunteer Visiting Teaching Artists in the Kakuma Refugee Camp in northern Kenya is circulating Facebook and YouTube.

The timing of the video almost coincided with World Refugee Day on June 20 and with graduation season, a time when inspiring speeches are given left and right with the purpose of inspiring graduates to chase their dreams.

I heard several this season and they all reiterated the message of "dream chasing" as urgent.

I for one have chased most of mine but have left others behind. When I get to thinking about the past, the present, and the future, it is artists and sisters like Paola and Gloria that remind me that it is worth it to go after your dreams.