Chorus Films took on yet another personal project in 2018 with the micro-short Por Ella, a story about an immigrant family’s journey in America.
The story was inspired by a young Latin American Dreamer’s student essay (she shall remain anonymous). “When I read her essay, I was inspired,” says Director Troy Bieser. “The young author spent her childhood nights and weekends helping her parents clean office buildings to make ends meet. Despite all their struggles, they endured. They flourished. To me: they represent the American Dream. We are lucky to have people like them in this country.”
Troy took the essay and built upon it, utilizing Atlanta’s annual Beltline Lantern Parade as a metaphor for the young dreamer and her family’s hopes for a new life. “Tying their story together with the Lantern Parade just seemed like such a hopeful and visually sumptuous metaphor. Living in this city for two decades now — the parade is one of my favorite nights of the year. The entire city comes out for this amazing and joyful experience together. It’s beautiful. With the constant fear-mongering about migrant caravans, placing this family in a joyful caravan of light … of potential, just seemed too poetic not to incorporate somehow. Profound thanks to the Atlanta Beltline. They embraced the project and allowed us to film. It was a magical experience.”
Producer Meagan Massa, playing double-duty as art director, helped design and create the showpiece prop. As a career crafter, she utilized the short to put her creativity and her glue gun to work creating the iconic prop that ties the story together.
The small ensemble cast, featuring Vanessa Ann Williams, Denise Santos, and Javier Vasquez Jr. was brought together by Chorus Films’ friends Jen and Rita at Big Picture Casting. “We couldn’t have done this without Jen and Rita. We did this with a near-zero budget. Without their help — we wouldn’t have been able to find willing actors and bring it all together literally days before the Lantern Parade,” says Massa.
Since its debut, Por Ella has been shared multiple times across social media. “With the midterm elections landing where they did, I’d like to believe we made a small impact toward righting the ship and motivating people to go out and vote from a compassionate and empathetic place,” says Bieser. “So many of us in America are the decedents of immigrants. The current political landscape in which good people are made scapegoats is something I find truly abhorrent.” Bieser continues: “This short is something I am immensely proud of. So many people gave of their time and talents to tell this story. In the end, all of us put something good out into the world. and I am so grateful for the opportunity to have done that.”
The short won two 2019 Atlanta Addy Silver Spikes and a Regional Addy Silver for Online PSA and Creative Editing.
Watch the :60 version here: