New Mexico State University assistant professor and USC film school grad Ilana Lapid returns to the El Paso Community Foundation Plaza Classic Film Festival with her latest project, Yochi, shot in Belize using non-actors.
The Plaza Classic Film Festival is helping Ilana raise money for post-production costs with a special showing of the 26-minute drama at 4 p.m. Saturday, August 13 in the Foundation Room, 333 N. Oregon. An audience Q&A will follow.
Admission is $10 at the door. Donations will be accepted during the event.
Yochi is an olive-eyed, 9-year-old, selectively mute Mayan boy who guards a nest of endangered yellow-headed parrots in the pine savannah of western Belize. When he discovers his older brother is poaching to pay debts, his loyalties are put to the test. Yochi emerges from Ilana’s continued interest in telling stories that explore human relationships and put a personal face to global conflicts.
Ilana Lapid, a faculty member of NMSU’s Creative Media Institute, is a filmmaker and educator with a strong interest in the transformative power of visual storytelling and comparative border cinema. Born in New York City, she grew up in Jerusalem, Ottawa and Las Cruces, N.M. She holds a BA from Yale, an MFA from the University of Southern California in Film Production, received a Fulbright to work with visual stories of Roma (Gypsy) children, and was Artist in Residence at Slifka Center at Yale.
She has directed multiple shorts that won awards at international festivals, including Red Mesa, which won Best Short at the LA Latino International Film Festival and was shown at the 2009 Plaza Classic Film Festival. A feature she co-wrote with Joshua Wheeler, Lordsburg, was a finalist at the Sundance Screenwriter Lab. Her 2015 short La Catrina was selected for the 2016 Women in Film and Television International Showcase, and is included in PCFF 2016’s Local Flavor series.