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Diane Guerrero Interview for Blast Beat Film

By January 29, 2020 , ,

One of the films showing at Sundance Film Festival is BLAST BEAT, directed by Esteban Arango, which tells the story of a Colombian family's move to the United States and their struggles to adapt as their expectations are shattered.

At the heart of the family is the mother, played by Diane Guerrero, who's trying to keep her family together and moving forward against unexpected odds. To learn more about her role and the message of the film, I interviewed Diane while she was at the Sundance Film Festival.

What spoke to you about this role?

Diane Guerrero: The story attracted me. I'm eager to story tell, but I'm also eager to share stories of the Latinx community and a little bit of how I grew up. This idea of a dual citizenship, coming from two places that make you whole. This story was unlike any immigrant story I came across.

I'm interested telling in stories that are reflective of the times and show different experiences. Normally what we've seen in the past is stories that deal with immigration, or families of Latinx decent, are kinda border stories that are very tragic and you don't get to see the stories of thousands of other families.

Diane Guerrero: Some actually leave their home countries for political asylum, or has a child with extraordinary abilities and you need to get them to fulfill their dreams somewhere else outside of your home.

And I just love Esteban Arango vision. He had done a short film five years prior and when I saw it, I just thought it was so interesting. I love, not just the different kinds of immigrant stories, but also to have Latinx characters be represented in a different way. I thought that was an interesting conversation around cultural and who a Latinx person is and a multitude of things.

As the mom, your character is very supportive. Some might say a bit to much. What were your inner thoughts about her?

Diane Guerrero: Normally I feel like you see the Latina moms kinda in the background or the sidelines. But I really wanted to show that there's a woman who is clear on her boundaries, who is for the most part well adjusted, who is connected to her community and family for help. It's not just for making decisions or helping make decisions, it's a unit making decision.

I really wanted to show kinda a healthy relationship between a mother and her children and her husband. As someone who would see the positive in a stressful situations.

Diane Guerrero: When she come to the home and see that her husband has painted a picture of this life and then to see it depicted not the way she thought, but to make the best of it.

I mean, that's what I saw my mother do, that what I know how Esteban wanted to portray the character and I'm excited to tell that story.

What was it like working with Wilmer Valderrama?

Diane Guerrero: I met Wilmer years ago through his immigration, advocacy work. I've wanted to work with him, since we knew each other on a personal level. So it was actually easy to play husband and wife. He was the one who talked to me about the project. He made everyone feel at ease, especially when playing his wife.

We have that relationship where we know each other, we support each other, so it was easy to get into that husband and wife role.

Part of the message of the film is the grass isn't always greener, share a time in your life when you learned this lesson?

Diane Guerrero: In my own immigration story, it was a positive thing for my family to come here, but they sacrificed a while lot to be here. They sacrificed a lot for me to have the opportunity, that they never had. That sacrifice was so huge that ultimately we were separated. It was sort of a logistical choice made.

So I like the film because it show a bit of that, but it doesn't go on to show you that there's no life after something tragic like that. There's life after that. You can make a life anywhere that you are.

Diane Guerrero: I think in some ways, we also exercise that, my parents and I. There was life after what happened to us. And we're still working on it everyday.

That's why I think watching films like this is very helpful for communities to see because they can see that it is hard work, but it's not impossible.

The other message of the film is about following dreams, what advice can you give to others about following their dreams?

Diane Guerrero: Just say "Yes" to yourself. Just try a little bit of that everyday and see what happens. It all stems from loving yourself. That's the first step. I think we live in a society that sometime breaks us down depending on where you come from, depending on your monetary status, or whatever.

I think that if we pay attention to where we come from, or what our history is, or where we want to go, and just love ourselves, so much can happen.


On the cusp of the year 2000, Colombian brothers Carly (Mateo Arias) and Mateo (Moises Arias) prepare to move to the United States for their last years of high school. Metalhead Carly has his heart set on attending the Georgia Aerospace Institute and working for NASA, while his supportive parents (Diane Guerrero and Wilmer Valderrama) seize the chance to escape the political turmoil in Colombia and chase the American Dream.

At first, Mateo is the only one to express any cynicism, but when the reality of their new life sinks in, the family struggles to adapt as their expectations are shattered. When events threaten to derail their future, Carly’s dream becomes his only lifeline.

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Twitter - www.twitter.com/Blast_Beat_Film

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