100 Creatives

100 Creatives 2013: Stephanie Saint Sanchez, Senorita Cinema Founder

Stephanie Saint Sanchez is a Houston-based short film maker and founder of Senorita Cinema, and all-Latina film festival that takes place this weekend in various locations around town.

What She Does "I like to take our mythologies and recreate them to fit modern modalities," she said. "I am not 'stuck' in arrested development. I relish arrested development."

Sanchez talks a lot about her childhood growing up in Beaumont. She was the youngest of three siblings -- an older brother and sister -- by ten years. Her parents couldn't afford a babysitter so they often took her to the movies with them, usually adult-rated films.

"The first movie theater I ever went to was the Lamar Theatre (in Beaumont). I was really happy to have such a good childhood," she says.

Much of her childhood influences her work now she said, including the music her teenage siblings turned her on to -- bands like Devo. Sanchez also sometimes Djs parties and art events, but says she is primarily a visual person.

Why She Likes It Sanchez quotes the lyrics from the song "All That Jazz" -- "'I'm no one's wife but I love my life.' I love the creation. I don't live an extravagant lifestyle, but I have extravagant moments."

She also talks about the importance of being able to help other Latina filmakers show their work. She was recently awarded a grant from the Idea Fund for Senorita Cinema.

"When you're working on projects like this, you thrown a lot of lines in the water to see what you can get," she says of the Idea Fund. "Some of the women who presented shorts in the past, they're returning to present their first features. I wouldn't have been able to fly them out without this grant."

"I just hope, whatever vision they have, that might inspire you," she said.

What Inspires Her Sanchez speaks again about growing up in Beaumont.

"We rode our bikes outside. We didn't lock our doors. We barely kept up with the news. The way you learned about the world was the Monday Night Movie of the Week," she said.

"There are three things that motivate me: jealousy, fear and snacks. I like folk tales. I like people who lie. I like outlandish stories. When I was a kid I was big into mythology, celebrities and old Hollywood, and ghost stories. Everybody's got a good ghost story. I'm also very superstitious. I'm interested in the human condition. You know what the difference is between a tragedy and a comedy? One day."

"La Llorona" by Stephanie Saint Sanchez on Vimeo.

If Not This, Then What? "When I was younger my dad wanted me to be a lady golfer," she said. "There was a golfer at the time that he liked, Nancy Lopez. He also wanted me to be a pharmacist. I think he knew I wouldn't have the discipline to be a doctor."

For the Aurora Picture Show's Extremely Shorts Festival in 2008 Sanchez made a film called "Chiquita Gordita" in which she imaged herself in the more traditional roles of a heavyweight woman. "I imagined myself as a domestic, a lunch lady and a prison matron. These were solely based on the 'women of size' trope," she said.

If Not Here, Then Where? "If I was more adventuring, just some small crazy town, untouched by time.Some place like Northern Exposure, but in the South," she said.

What's Next? Senorita Cinema runs June 7-9 with an opening night screening at 6:30 p.m. Friday at Rice Media Center. The film will be Delusions of Grandeur and filmmaker Iris Almaraz will be in attendance.

As for Sanchez, she's currently working on her first feature-length film, about a girl called Chancla, "a lovable ne'er-do-well. As a kid she was hit in the head with a chancla and she ain't been right since." Sanchez plans to start shooting on July 17, her birthday.

More Creatives for 2013 (In order of most recently published; click here for the full page). Ned Gayle, thrift store painting defacer Sameera Faridi, fashion designer Greg Ruhe, The Human Puppet Sophia L. Torres, founder and co-artistic director of Psophonia Dance Company Maggie Lasher, dance professor and artistic director Jordan Jaffe, founder of Black Lab Theatre Outspoken Bean, performance poet Barry Moore, architect Josh Montoute, mobile gaming specialist Ty Doran, young actor Gwen Zepeda, Houston's first Poet Laureate Joseph Walsh, principal dancer at Houston Ballet Justin Garcia, artist Buck Ross, dilettante and director of Moores Opera Center Patrick Renner, sculptor of the abstract and the esoteric Tomas Glass, abstract artist and True Blood musician Ashley Stoker, painter, photographer and Tumblr muse Amy Llanes, artistic airector of Rednerrus Feil Dance Company Bevin Bering Dubrowski, executive director at the Houston Center for Photography Lydia Hance, founder and director of Frame Dance Productions Piyali Sen Dasgupta, mixed media artist and nature lover Dean James, New York Times bestselling mystery novelist Nicola Parente, abstract painter and photographer Cheryl Schulke, handmade leather pursemaker Anthony Rathbun, Alternative Lifestyle Photographer David Salinas, computer-less analog photographer Danielle Burns, art curator Alicia DiRago, Whimseybox founder Katia Zavistovski, contemporary art curator Ashley Horn, choreographer, filmmaker Amanda Stevens, scary book author Peter Lucas, film and video curator, music lover and self-described culture-slinger Ana María Otamendi, collaborative pianist and vocal coach Billy D. Washington, comedian Michele Brangwen, choreographer and dancer Kristin Warren, actress and choreographer Kelly Sears, animator and film maker Colton Berry, Bayou City Theatrics' artistic director jhon r. stronks,dance-maker Joe Grisaffi, actor, director, writer, cinematographer Jordan "Monster Mac" McMahon, artist, designer

KEEP THE HOUSTON PRESS FREE... Since we started the Houston Press, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Houston, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Shey is an experienced blogger, social media expert and traveler. She studied journalism at Oklahoma State University before working as a full-time reporter for Houston Community Newspapers in 2005. She lived in South Korea for three years, where she worked as a freelancer.
Contact: Brittanie Shey