Last week during the nominations announcement for the second
edition of the Premios Platino of Iberoamerican Cinema, the organizers brought
together a stellar lineup of talent to let the press know which films made it
to the final list of nominees. Among them was Mexican actress Kate del
Castillo, who is one of the most prominent Latin American stars working both in
the U.S. and back home today. While she had been a recurrent face in numerous shows
and films, Del Castillo became a household name among the U.S. Latino community
thanks to films like “Under the Same Moon” and TV series like “La Reina del
Non-Spanish speaking audiences were also able to witness her
skills in popular TV shows like “Weeds” and more recently voicing a character in
the animated feature “The Book of Life.” Her eclectic career has allowed her to
take risks and often step out of familiar roles to take on something unexpected
like the horror film “Visitantes,” released in Mexico last year.
Due to her important place as a trailblazer paving the way
for Latinos, and Iberoamericans in general (a term that includes Spain and
Portugal) within the entertainment industry, Kate del Castillo will have the honor of presenting Antonio Banderas with a special award for his
multiple achievements throughout his career.
We sat down with Del Castillo to talk about what the Premios
Platino are and why they are needed, her multiple upcoming projects, and her dream
of being part of a film screening at the Cannes Film Festival some day.
Aguilar: There are many national film awards across Latin America and the Iberian peninsula already, but do you believe the Premios Platino come to fill a void in the region? If so, what’s that void?
Kate Del Castillo: They
come to fill a void that in all honesty had taken to long to filled. It was about time. With need unity among us, all Iberoamericans, which doesn’t yet exist – that’s the void. It’s incredible, we
want to advance and see progress individually and that can’t be done. We can’t get out of the
hole if we don’t help each other out. We have to support one another, and support
platforms like this. I believe Premios Platino is a gigantic platform to start
fostering this unity.
Aguilar: One could
argue that it’s hard for Iberoamerican films to be successful in the U.S
because of the language barrier, but these films also have a hard time getting
exposure in their own countries and countries that share the same language.
Kate Del Castillo: That’s
what’s incredible and it’s because we are often “malinchistas.” We don’t support our
own cinema, our homegrown talent, and not only the cinema of our individual
countries, but we also don’t support the cinema of other Iberoamerican countries.
We usually prefer to go see American blockbusters, which is not to say they are
bad or that we shouldn’t support them, but I believe that all of us, specially exhibitors, should support our cinema and make them a priority on the screens.
Aguilar: We need to
see our own stories and be interested in the. Right?
Kate Del Castillo: Absolutely,
there is so much talent in our countries.It’s a terrible thing to make films that
are never seen or experienced by audiences. Often times nobody knows about
them, even though they are great films. They are not promoted and that’s really sad.
worked extensively both in Mexico and the U.S., and you’ve achieved great
success in Hollywood. What would you say is the main difference between the two
Kate Del Castillo: Neither
of them is better than the other from my point of view, but clearly one has
more money than the other because it has much more support. In Mexico we need
much more support, but really a lot more, from the government. Sadly the
Mexican government has never cared for cinema, and cinema is the window to the
world. Therefore, what the rest of the world knows about Mexico is what they
see on films and the bad news they see on TV. We need to make films
that are worthy of who we really are as Mexicans. We also need to make cinema
that reflects the diversity in the region, so that Americans and Europeans know who Mexicans
are, who Salvadorians are, who Cubans are, etc. We need to do it now, and all
we really need is support because we have the talent.
Aguilar: Unfortunately, sometimes when talent from the region finds success in the U.S or other markets they stop working in their native language and they rarely go back to make films in their homelands. However, you’ve found a balance between the two sides in your career.
Kate Del Castillo: I
go back much less than what I used to, but I recently did I film in Mexico
titled “Visitantes” (Visitors) evidently in Spanish, and I’ve done a few other
things here in the U.S that are also in Spanish. I will never stop working on
Spanish-language projects because that’s my language, and because I’m a Latina
and Mexican before anything else. However, they have to be projects that catch
my attention whether they are here on in Mexico. All I want is to be involved in
projects that are interesting to me, projects that are a challenge wherever
they may happen, in Spain, in China, or in Hollywood.
Aguilar: How difficult was it for you to get opportunities and find success working int he American entertainment industry? Is it still a challenge?
Kate Del Castillo: I’m
still fighting to get the things I want and to do the projects I want to do. I
think it will always be a fight or a challenge, but not being
in my comfort zone keeps me very excited and happy. You have to constantly be doing something and not just wait
for someone to call you with an opportunity, you have to develop your own
Aguilar: With the achievements and recognition of trailblazers like Salma Hayek, Demian Bichir, Eugenio Derbez, and yourself, would you say more doors are opening for Iberoamerican talent and our films?
Kate Del Castillo: Totally,
every time talented people like them become popular or are recognized is a good thing. Someone might say,
“I didn’t know this actress before, but now I do” and when those films get exposure because of them that is also great. But
sadly most films only get exposure if they win an award or were in a festival,
which is really difficult because those things cost money! Submitting your film
to a festival or campaigning for an Oscar or a Golden Globe is very expensive.
Most people don’t know that, but all those events require a lot of money. If you
have a small independent film, it’s very hard to get the attention of people in
those circles. There is tons of talent like I said, what we lack is support to
promote the films, which means we need more money. That’s why we need to
support each other and unite.
Aguilar: You are right. It’s hard for films to travel even within the region. We rarely get to see what other Spanish-speaking countries are making.
Kate Del Castillo: We
don’t even know our own cinema in the region. They were just asking me if I
knew anything about Paraguayan cinema, and I felt embarrassed but I
unfortunately haven’t seen any because they don’t travel. We really need to
join forces and these awards are a great platform for that. They did incredibly
well last year and there was a big audience watching them. They are being noticed
and hopefully this year is even better. We need stars, like Antonio Banderas who
will be there this year, to be present and support so that the global press becomes
more interested in our cinema.
Aguilar: Tell me about you are doing. Any upcoming projects we should watch out for?
Kate Del Castillo: I
just finished working on a TV show, and I came back very tired. I’m also trying
to develop a couple of my own projects, and I’m going to start promoting the
film “Los 33.” Then I’m going to work on another film, right before I leave to
work on a new series for Netflix.
Aguilar: Seems like you are unbelievably busy and you still found time to stop by the Hola Mexico Film
Festival earlier this month to support “Visitantes.”
Kate Del Castillo: Yes,
I’m very happy because “Visitantes” has done very well. It’s a film that means
a lot to me because I returned to Mexico after a long time to work on a truly Mexican production. I’m very proud of everyone’s work in that film.
Aguilar: With some many projects ahead there might be an Oscar or another big festival award in the future for you.
Kate Del Castillo: Wow
[Laughs] Can you imagine? I was at the Cannes Film Festival recently, and as an
actor you never stop dreaming and thinking, “I’d love to be back here with a
film” and competing with incredibly talented people. And it would be even more
amazing if it was a film in Spanish. Is not all about working with Hollywood
stars and famous directors, being present there with a Spanish-language film
would make so proud. One can always fantasize about it, hopefully one day.