Stories help us understand ourselves and others. It’s through the lens of the modern storyteller, the filmmaker, that we find ourselves warming up to new cultures and newer ways of looking and thinking. One such director is the talented Zachary Laoutides, who aims to represent the Hispanic culture and restore its inherent dignity in the world through his art. Here are excerpts from an exclusive interview with Zachary Laoutides.
Q. Hello, Zachary. Can you tell us a little about your endeavor called ‘La Raza’?
A. Sure! As a filmmaker, I like to always keep my goals in mind. It helps me stay on my path. As you would already know, filmmakers can have a broad reach when it comes to an audience because of the medium and the fact that we all love stories. I realized that as a part of a bigger goal, I do owe my share of responsibility to the youth. In my case, the Hispanic youth particularly. La Raza, therefore, is an active attempt to work with the urban youth by helping them tell their stories, and through that, discover new storytellers with their unique forms of expression.
Q. What made you gravitate towards film-making?
A. Planning, hard work, and intense preparation run in my family. My father was a football player, and my grandfather, a boxer. These are two sports you don’t necessarily associate with creativity. But it’s really a matter of perspective. I’ve heard stories of my grandfather and have seen my father on the field. The way they tested their opponents, challenged themselves, and pushed their comfort zones to their limits are aspects that I find embedded deeply in my own personality. Except, my stage was the one with the spotlight on it. I have always loved films, and the fact that stories have a deep philosophical and psychological effect on minds, and through that, the planet as a whole, excited me like nothing else.
Q. What has been your most difficult experience in Hollywood?
A. Although I’ve had my share of difficulties, compared to those before me, I’d say I’ve had it relatively easy. The fight to bring the authentic Hispanic culture and perspective onto the global stage was challenging, but I know many before have had it worse. Their struggles made mine easier. I’ve experienced being stereotyped in the industry, but the facade soon fades away once they see your capabilities. Finding and defining that level playing field has been both challenging and rewarding.
Zachary Laoutides’ passion for cinema is infectious, and we hope he’s able to be a force for good in the most competitive environment in the world.