From Visual Effects On ‘Machete’ To Winning A Grant To Make Her Sci-Fi Short: Meet Emerging Director Maru Buendia-Senties


By Manuel Betancourt @ Remezcla

With issues of diversity dominating the conversations surrounding the film industry, it’s always heartening to see film festivals supporting minority talent. Last week, at the Latino Reels panel at the Sundance Film Festival, NALIP (National Association of Latino Independent Producers) announced the winners of its 2015 Latino Lens: Narrative Shorts Incubator. Latino Lens is a new, exclusive incubation and media content production program designed to develop, nurture and produce a series of creative Latino projects.

“With Latino Lens, NALIP is thrilled to provide original production programming and support and promote Latino content creators and filmmakers. With the embarrassing and shameful lack of diversity seen yet again at this year’s Oscars, NALIP focuses on actions that directly address this need for change within and without Hollywood’s antiquated system,” said Axel Caballero, Executive Director of NALIP. Winners receive contributions for pre-production, production, and post-production tools, resources, and assets to support the successful completion of their short films.

Among the winners was Maru Buendia-Senties, whose short film Windows joins three others —One Halloween by writer/director Rebecca Murga,Swimming in the Desert by writer/director Alvaro Ron, and Dying Man by writer/director Rodrigo Reyes—as the finalists of this months-long search. The final shorts will screen in June at 2016 NALIP Media Summit.

Born in Mexico City, Buendia-Senties got her Masters at the University of Texas-Austin and has slowly been building an impressive resume, alternating between doing visual effects work for films like Spy Kids 4, Predators, and Machete, and writing, producing and directing her own shorts via her production company, Bloodbank productionsWindows is the result of a collaboration with Glenn Eanes, who she’s known and worked with for over ten years—a friendship that was nurtured by their mutual love of genre films like Robocop, Lethal Weapon, The Thing and Alien. The deceptively simple short centers on “two isolated women who bond by sharing their lives from a distance through their apartment windows,” and without giving too much away, they teased it as a cool Black Mirror episode.

Fresh off receiving the news that her project had been named a winner, Buendia-Senties jumped on the phone with us alongside her Windows co-writer. They filled us in on how this twisty sci-fi short came together and shared some words about how the immigrant experience sneaks its way into their creative process.