La Americanita won Two Best Short Film Awards, semifinalist $10,000 Angelus Award. Feature script is two-time semifinalist for Sundance Institute and selected for NALIP Producer's Academy.


The Miami Herald
"A budding filmmaker's projection on cultural identity."
"Una americanita en Miami"
Mon, Jan. 06, 2003
Norma Niurka

The redheaded girl with freckles, an exotic first name and a hyphenated surname that proclaims her biculturalism, spent her childhood in Miami beset by duality, a search for identity and cultural confusion. Years later, that confusion fed her creativity and opened a door to the rich world to which she now belongs: the bilingual and bicultural world of a budding moviemaker.

Erin Ploss-Campoamor, now a Los Angeles resident, will soon see the premiere of her first film short, the bilingual La Americanita, right here in the city of her confusion, during the Made in Miami Film Festival, Jan. 10-19. The second edition of this original festival will present shorts, feature-length films and documentaries, made in South Florida by young and new filmmakers.

The festival will be held at the Tower Theater in Little Havana, with the participation of many Hispanic filmmakers (two documentaries and two feature-length films are in Spanish.) Ploss-Campoamor filmed her short here, with more than a dozen local actors and will attend the showings on Jan. 12 and 17. She wrote, produced and directed the 16-millimeter movie with a $25,000 grant from the Jacob K. Javits Foundation, for her graduation thesis from the University of San Francisco, where she obtained her master's degree in filmmaking.

The film has been shown in festivals in Los Angeles, Boston, San Jose, Palm Springs, San Diego and New York. In March, it will be shown on PBS as part of a program of ``Latin shorts.''

The conflict of cultural identity is the theme of La Americanita, which pits two young cousins in Miami, one of them a recent arrival from Cuba, in a debate over the rejection or acceptance of their roots. Marisol was born here, does not wish to speak Spanish or listen to relatives' stories about their Cuban past, straightens her hair and dyes it blond. Odalis comes from the island, is naturally blond and speaks no English; she is often mistaken for an American and becomes the center of attention in the family.

This is the way Ploss-Campoamor copes with her own experience -- perhaps a settling of accounts with her childhood in a Cuban home in Miami, speaking English and, with her fire-red hair, feeling different from all those around her. She has dual citizenship: Canadian and American. Her third nationality, Cuban, is symbolic and was obtained by osmosis. She was born in Canada in 1972 to an American migrant couple but was still a baby when her mother remarried a Miami Cuban, Roberto Campoamor, who was living in Canada at that time. The family lived for a while at the home of his parents in South Miami, where the redhead lived the experiences she has transferred to the screen.

''Cuban girls were jealous of my straight hair, and I wanted to have their hair: black, thick and shiny,'' says the filmmaker, in perfect but accented Spanish. ''My film wants to tell young people who experience those conflicts that one should be satisfied with what one has and not envy others.'' But she admits that that's a long and complicated process, which is what she went through in various cities. Much of her life was spent in San Francisco with her parents. She perfected her Spanish in Spain, studied filmmaking in San Francisco and two years ago moved to Los Angeles.

''I'm interested in anything having to do with races, languages and cultural heritage. It fascinates me to see third-generation Cubans resisting to speak Spanish, as happened to me,'' she says.

Two years ago, she married a son of Miami Cubans, Pablo Proenza, a filmmaker in Los Angeles, whom she has known since childhood. Now she serves others as a bridge to a community to which she does not altogether belong but which she would never want to abandon.

Norma Niurka writes on culture and entertainment for El Nuevo Herald.


















































































La niña pelirroja y pecosa, con un nombre de pila exótico y un apellido compuesto que revelaba su biculturalismo, tuvo una infancia miamense marcada por la duplicidad, la bœsqueda de identidad y la confusión cultural. Años más tarde, esa confusión, esa experiencia, iba a servirle de alimento a su creatividad y le abriría las puertas del rico mundo al que ahora pertenece: el bilingue y bicultural de una cineasta en ciernes.

Erin Ploss-Campoamor, ahora residente de Los Angeles, verá muy pronto estrenarse su primer cortometraje, La Americanita (en inglés y español), precisamente en la ciudad de sus confusiones, durante el Made in Miami Film Festival. La segunda edición de este original Festival de Cine Hecho en Miami presentará, del 10 al 19 de enero, cortos y largometrajes, y documentales, filmados aquí por jóvenes y nuevos realizadores.

La jornada se efectuará en el Teatro Tower, de La Pequeña Habana, y cuenta con una buena proporción de cineastas de origen hispano (entre las cintas se verán dos documentales y dos largometrajes en español). Erin realizó el corto aquí, con más de una decena de actores locales (entre ellos Severino Puente), y regresará para estar presente en las exhibiciones, el 12 y el 17 de enero. La joven escribió, produjo y dirigió la cinta, filmada en 16 mm, con una dotación de $25,000 de la Fundación Jacob K. Javits, para hacer su tesis de graduación de la Universidad de San Francisco, donde obtuvo su Masters en cine.

El filme se ha exhibido en diversos festivales de Los Angeles, Boston, San José, Palm Springs, San Diego y Nueva York. En marzo, se transmitirá por televisión como parte de un programa de ''cortometrajes latinos'' de la PBS.

El conflicto de la identidad cultural es el tema de La Americanita, que enfrenta a dos primas adolescentes de Miami, una de ellas recién llegada de Cuba, en el debate del rechazo y aceptación de sus raíces. Marisol nació aquí, no quiere hablar español ni escuchar los cuentos de su familia sobre el pasado cubano, se alisa y se aclara el pelo; Odalis llega de la isla, es rubia y no habla inglés, la confunden con americana y se convierte en el centro de atracción de la familia.

Es la manera que tiene Erin de lidiar con su propias vivencias, tal vez un saldo de cuentas con su infancia en un hogar cubano de South Miami, hablando inglés y sintiéndose, con su cabellera de fuego, distinta a todos los que le rodeaban. Erin tiene doble nacionalidad: la canadiense y la estadounidense; su tercera nacionalidad, la cubana, es simbólica y por osmosis. Nació en Canadá, en 1972, de padres norteamericanos emigrados, pero aún era bebé, cuando su madre se unió en segundas nupcias a un cubano de Miami, Roberto Campoamor, residente en Canadá por esa época. La familia vivió un tiempo en casa de los padres de éste en South Miami, y fue donde la pelirroja vivió las experiencias que ha trasladado a la pantalla.

''Las niñas cubanas estaban celosas de mi pelo lacio, y yo quería tener el de ellas, negro, grueso y brilloso'', cuenta Erin, en perfecto castellano con acento. ''Mi película quiere decir a los jóvenes que tienen esos conflictos que uno debe estar satisfecho con lo que tiene, no envidiar lo ajeno''. Pero acepta que es un proceso largo y complicado como el que ella vivió en distintas ciudades. Gran parte de su vida transcurrió en San Francisco con sus padres, perfeccionó su castellano en España, estudió cine en San Francisco y, desde hace dos años, se mudó a Los Angeles.

''Me interesa todo lo que tiene que ver con razas, lenguas, herencia cultural; ahora me fascina cuando veo a gente de la tercera generación de cubanos resistirse a hablar español, como me pasó a mí," dice. Hace dos años se casó con un hijo de cubanos de Miami, Pablo Proenza, cineasta en Los Angeles, a quien conocía desde su infancia. Ahora es ella quien sirve a otros de puente hacia una comunidad a la que no pertenece del todo, pero de la que ya nunca quiere apartarse.

THE BOSTON PHOENIX
"In brief . . . Shorts at the Boston Film Festival"
By Mike Miliard
September 5 - 12, 2002

Every one of the Boston Film Festival’s short entries (all of which screen at the Copley Place) wears its production values like glad rags. But expressive cinematography and inventive editing come often at the expense of rudiments like credible dialogue, competent acting, and coherent narrative. Fortunately, you’ll find scattered among the gussied-up and half-baked offerings a number of fully realized gems. [...]

In Package #5 (Tuesday at 12:30, 2:15, and 4:30 p.m. and Wednesday at 12:15, 2:30, and 4:45 p.m.):

"La Americanita" is Erin Ploss-Campoamor’s credible glimpse at a spoiled Miami teen’s reaction to her just-escaped Cuban cousin.

    

THE SAN FRANCISCO EXAMINER
Movie Showings
February 22, 2002

SECOND TO NONE
San Francisco State University MFA Thesis Films --
the best of the best -- screen for the public in this "greatest hits" compilation evening.

Featuring films by six MFA students including John Guttman Memorial Award-winners Cathy Lee Crane and Steve Patapoff; Princess Grace Award-winner Luci Kwak, and Sundance Film Institute semifinalist Erin Ploss-Campoamor, the films cover a broad range of styles including documentary, experimental and narrative in 16mm and video. Laurence Mazouni and Helen Pau also screen first-rate films. A reception with the filmmakers in the August Coppola Theatre lobby is at 6 pm.

When: 7 tonight (reception at 6 p.m.)
Where: August Coppola Theatre, 1600 Holloway Ave., San Francisco

    

NYC NETMIO.COM
New York International Latino Film Festival
1 de agosto, 2002

La Americanita
"2002 Vanguard Short Films"
jueves, 1 de agosto, 2002 a las 5:00
sábado, 3 de agosto, 2002 a las 7:00

Marisol es una latina que se alisa el pelo y vive en una zona residencial. Odia tener que hablar español y tener que escuchar las anécdotas de la vida que llevaba su familia en Cuba. Odalis es su prima balsera recién llegada. Es rubia con pecas y odia que la llamen "Americanita". Juntas, las dos enfrentan lo que significa ser cubana-americana hoy en día.




















































THE WASHINGTON POST
"Orient Expressions:
The Washington City Paper's Guide to the 16th Annual Washington, DC International Film Festival"
By Arion Berger
April 19 - 25, 2002

This year's shorts weren't chosen around a single theme, but certain thematic threads seem to weave through the films nonetheless. They are for the most part very short, there are a number of wordless or near-wordless entries, and the battle of the sexes is a strong recurring motif; as usual, their quality varies widely. [...]

"Short Cuts 1':

La Americanita lingers [...] over the model like beauty of its young protagonist, Miami teen Marisol, as she pouts, slouches, and sasses her family as they await the arrival of a cousin from Cuba.

    

THE BOSTON GLOBE
"Seeing the Dark"
By Janice Page
September 1, 2002

Despite the mostly difficult subjects among this year's 62 features and shorts, hope and determination leave their mark. Some say that which does not kill us makes us stronger.

Let's hope so, because this year's Boston Film Festival presents enough challenge and adversity to test the mettle of Lance Armstrong. Among the difficult subjects dealt with in the 38 feature films and 24 shorts that make up the festival's 18th annual run, from Friday through Sept. 15, are terrorism, AIDS, racial and cultural persecution, self-mutilation, addiction, and nocturnal barking. Nearly all the works are determined and unflinching, but the best sprinkle in humor and hope without sugarcoating too many real-world complexities.

[Unfortunately] there are too many short films and corresponding director appearances to mention. [...But if] the festival's 62 films leave you feeling a little rattled, perhaps you'll identify most with Kasia Adamik's "Bark," in which the main character is a woman so shattered by the difficulties of the world that she retreats into believing she's a dog.

No question, there's plenty to yelp at here.

Tuesday, Sept. 10. Short Package 5: "Apology to Josh Fleischman," "Infidel," "La Americanita," "These Few Weapons Against Death"; 7:30, 9:15 p.m.; directors present.

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