I screened “Hostile Border” (Fka “Pocha, Manifest Destiny”)
at Urbanworld Film Festival (www.urbanworld.org)
last September after hunting it down for what felt like an eternity having
followed the project since its audition process. Not only did Veronica charm
fellow filmmakers and audiences alike, she gave an understated and captivating
performance that carried the film effortlessly. One that should take the young
Cali Latina to dizzying heights.
LatinoBuzz: Is there an artist whose career you
Veronica Sixtos: I greatly admire Jennifer Lawrence’s
career. She was put on the map by her performance in an indie film called
Winter’s Bone. Knowing that gives me faith that I can lead a similar path. I
can tell that she puts everything she has into giving the audience the most
honest performance that she can. I adore her for her bravery in letting go. She
chooses her roles wisely and she’s not afraid push the limits. I love that. I
also love how she presents herself in public. Whether it’s a TV interview, red
carpet, or a tweet, she is not afraid to be herself and I think that makes her
LatinoBuzz: Does your music help you with your acting
and vice versa?
Veronica Sixtos: I was an actress first before I was a
musician and songwriter. So what I had learned about letting go and trusting my
human instincts in the art of acting I applied to my music. When I write and
perform my music I do my absolute best to always come from an honest and
sincere place. I imagine it would be more difficult to get to that place if I
was not also an actor. During the filming of Hostile Border I would play my
guitar and sing my songs during down time. It helped me unwind after an intense
day of work. It also helped me to tap into the more emotional side of my
LatinoBuzz: Did making Hostile Border help you gain a
better understanding of the complexities of the immigration issues?
Veronica Sixtos:: Before making “Hostile Border” I had a
limited understanding on the immigration issues today. Being a part of this
project has allowed me to gain a lot of insight and perspective on
immigration/deportation on a more personal level. One thing that has really
stood out to me is the extent of how many people’s lives are affected by it and
how they are all affected in different ways.
LatinoBuzz: What was the most important element you
wanted to bring to the role of “Pocha”?
Veronica Sixtos: Humanity. I wanted to bring to my character
such a level of humanity that the audience would identify with her whether she
was making bad decisions or not. I didn’t want it to be a performance. I wanted
to share with the audience a real human experience.
LatinoBuzz: How did the whole experience of making
the film change you in any way?
Veronica Sixtos: Around the time that I was offered the role
of Claudia I was feeling like I was at a stand still in my career and in my
life in general. I was tired of living the same routine everyday and
auditioning for similar stereotype roles all the time. Without realizing it I
was waiting for an opportunity to express my art in such a way that it would
make a real impact on people. I wanted to jump into something that had never
been done before where I could have the freedom to truly push the boundaries of
what is considered correct or acceptable. Playing this role forced me to
completely let go of ego. I had to let go of the preconceived ideas of what
women in movies are supposed to be like. This was one of the biggest challenges
I faced in the making of this film. What I continued to remind myself was that
it was not about me… it was about the art, the message, and the experience of
the audience. Embodying such a complicated character required for me to delve
into the darkest parts of myself in order to portray Claudia in the most
authentic way possible. Doing that wasn’t easy and I found myself learning a
lot about self acceptance and transformation. To this day I am still learning
and changing from this experience.
LatinoBuzz: The film first premiered on the east
coast at Urbanworld Film Festival and took the jury prize for Best Narrative
Feature Film. How was that experience to come to New York for the first time
and accept the award?
Veronica Sixtos: I love New York. Walking the beautiful city
streets in designer pumps and dress was like a dream!! What an incredible time
I had watching beautiful films and meeting incredibly talented and passionate
people at the festival. Seeing Tyrese Gibson watching my movie was an insane
surprise. He even stayed for the Q & A and asked me a question! I felt so
honored just for him to have seen it let alone hear his thoughts on it. During
the awards ceremony I remember looking around and feeling overwhelmed that I
was lucky enough to even be there to witness these film makers accept their
awards. Which is why I was completely caught off guard when they announced that
my film had won the Grand Jury Award for Best Narrative feature film and I was
the only one there to accept it! In front of all those people. I was so over
joyed that I couldn’t stop giggling like a little girl. I’ll never forget that
LatinoBuzz:Is there a filmmaker you really want to
work with? Put it out there!
Veronica Sixtos: Alejandro G. Inarritu. After watching “The
Revenant” I fell in love with this directors work. I started doing research on
him and found that we have some things in common! He was born and raised in
Mexico (I wasn’t but I’m Mexican and I love Mexico!). At a young age he went
traveling around the world which he says has heavily influenced him as a filmmaker (I love to travel too!). He is a musical artist and says that music has a
bigger influence on him as an artist than film (I can totally relate!). He has
a long list of critically acclaimed films and one day I hope to be in one of
them. I think we would work really well together. Can someone send him a “Hostile Border” screener???
LatinoBuzz: What’s the ultimate game plan for
Veronica Sixtos: I love film. I want to keep working on
movies and I have high hopes that Hostile Border will bring forth more
opportunities for me. Currently I am working on completing my first EP called
Chapters. Eventually it will be available on Itunes and hopefully Spotify etc.
I love writing music and sharing it with those who need it. Travel is another
one of my passions… I don’t quite have a game plan yet on how to accomplish
this… but I would like to somehow incorporate travel with music and acting.
All in one. That would be my ultimate dream.
Written by Juan Caceres. LatinoBuzz is a feature on SydneysBuzz that highlights Latino indie talent and upcoming trends in Latino film with the specific objective of presenting a broad range of Latino voices. Follow [AT]LatinoBuzz on Twitter