Felicia Luna Lemus is a Latinx author and filmmaker based in Los Angeles, California. She is best known for her critically acclaimed novel, Trace Elements of Random Tea Parties, and her award-winning short film, Transformations.
Her work has been featured in The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times, and The Washington Post, among other publications.
In this exclusive interview, Felicia Luna Lemus offers insight into her creative process, her views on storytelling and representation in the media, and her thoughts on the power of art as a tool for social change.
Join us as we explore her remarkable journey and get inspired by her unbridled passion for storytelling.
Let’s start by talking about your creative process. How do you go about creating your novels and short films? What inspires you to write? I think that I have a pretty eclectic set of inspirations for my work.
Sometimes it comes from reading a book or seeing a movie I love, and I think to myself, “I can do that!” Other times, it’s more like a puzzle; I’m trying to figure out a way to build something that I’m interested in but don’t yet have the pieces for.
I have notebooks full of random thoughts and ideas that I’ve accumulated over the years, and they’re a great way to get a jumpstart on new projects. I also tend to get a lot of my inspiration from other creative people.
I find that talking to other artists about what they’re working on and what inspires them is a really powerful way to get new ideas of my own flowing.
As an author and filmmaker, you are a passionate advocate for storytelling and representation in the media. How important do you think it is to have diverse storytelling in the media? Why do you think representation in the media is so important?
I think it’s absolutely essential that we see people who represent all different types of people, experiences, and identities in the media. I think it’s important for a few reasons. First and foremost, I think it’s crucial that all people see themselves reflected in the media.
I’ve seen firsthand how transformative it can be to see yourself in books or movies or TV shows; it can change your entire life. Representation in the media can change people’s lives by helping them to see themselves as valuable and worthy of recognition, which is a really important thing.
Second, I think that representation in the media can help us to better understand each other as humans. We’re all incredibly complex, and we can only ever know each other as well as we know ourselves.
The more different stories we see, both about different types of people and about people who are like us but also very different, the better we understand one another. Obviously, the more we know about each other and where people are coming from, the better our world gets.
As an artist, do you feel art is a tool for social change, and if so, how? If not, what’s the alternative? I think that art has the potential to be a tool for social change.
The key is to make sure that it’s being used and created by people who represent the communities that are in need of change. That’s really important to keep in mind.
If the people creating art and using art as a tool to change society is primarily people who are in positions of power, then I don’t think we’re going to make all that much progress.
The best art, the art that can help change our world, is the art that represents and is created by the folks who need it the most.
Your journey as an author and filmmaker has been quite an inspiring one. Can you tell us more about how you got started in these fields, and what your journey has been like so far? I started writing when I was a kid.
I think I’ve always been drawn to creative outlets; I’ve always been interested in creative people and creative works. I started writing (and reading and watching and dreaming) a lot when I was a kid, and it was really powerful.
I started to get the sense that all of the stories I was consuming and the stories I was trying to create weren’t all that diverse, and that was a pretty jarring realization for a kid who’d always loved stories.
I got really interested in the idea that I could create stories that could help change society, and I started to realize that I wanted to make those kinds of stories. I started graduate school in creative writing and film at Stanford University, and I’ve been working on my own projects ever since.
What are your future goals as an author and filmmaker? What new projects do you have coming up? I’m at a point now where I’m really trying to figure out how to take what I’ve been doing as a creative person and turn that into something that can sustain me.
My goal is to keep writing, keep making art, and keep trying to figure out how to do that in a way that allows me to make a living.
I’m working on my next book and my next short film, and I’m also working on some other collaborative projects. I’m excited to see where things go and what comes of the work that I’m doing.
What advice would you give to aspiring authors and filmmakers? What are the keys to success in these fields? I think the most important thing is to just keep working. It’s easy to get frustrated and feel like nothing you’re doing is working, but if you just keep going, you’ll find your path.
It’s also so helpful to find other artists and creatives who are working on similar projects and are going through the same things you are. It’s really important to lift each other up and not feel like you’re doing this alone.
It’s easy to feel like the only person who’s interested in what you’re doing, but there are tons of other people out there who are interested in the same things and are working on similar projects.
Thanks for inviting me to share my work with your readers! I hope it inspires folks to make the art that they want to make and to use art as a tool for social change.
I hope it also brings attention to some of the amazing work being done by Latinx and Latin-American creatives and artists, who are so often overlooked and underrepresented.
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