VELMA Filmmaker Scarlet Moreno Reminds Us We’ll Never Make It If We Quit

I recently had the chance to catchup with this an awesome filmmaker, actor, and all around talent named Scarlet Moreno. You may know her from Rebel Without a Crew or she may be new to you, but she’s definitely worth your time. Check out our chat below…

Let’s start with who you are. So, quite simply, who is Scarlet Moreno?

Scarlet Moreno is a storyteller. I’ve learned that no matter what I am doing on a project, whether that’s directing, acting, art directing, my most important role is to help tell the story at hand. The stories I choose to tell make me the kind of artist that I am. Storytelling is one of the oldest human inclinations and mode of connection there is, so it feels like I’m fulfilling a very old purpose.

As someone new to the El Rey project you were part of, what is Rebel Without a Crew and how were you selected to participate in it?

Rebel Without a Crew: The Series is a docuseries by El Rey Network and Robert Rodriguez that was created to celebrate the 25th anniversary of Rodriguez’s first film, El Mariachi, which he famously made in two weeks with only $7,000. The premise of the show was to follow five first time feature filmmakers on the journey of creating their first features in the same way he did his. I applied to participate and went through an interview/audition process that was actually pretty fun in itself. I submitted previous short films I had made and got to the final round of casting and then onto the show!

Before I ask you about your actual film, I wanted to see what your favorite Robert Rodriguez project or projects are, being that he’s the guy behind El Rey Network and the series.

My absolute favorite Robert Rodriguez film is Planet Terror.

Me too! That’s awesome… now, let’s dig into Velma. What’s the 2-3 sentence synopsis for the folks who haven’t watched it yet?

Velma is a late 60s visual feast that takes us on a psychological journey with the title character that examines sexuality, shame, and our societal views of both. That pretty much sums it up!

You are the star of the film. I noticed you’ve been in a handful of other films, were these primarily you films or have you acted for other directors?

I have acted for other directors and have also acted in all of the films I’ve written and directed so far. I started writing and directing with the purpose of creating characters that I wanted to play as an actor, and that’s truly how I fell in love with filmmaking.

Do you prefer being in front of or behind the camera?

Honestly it depends on the project. In Velma, I absolutely loved being in front of the camera. In my feature film Phaedra, which I made on the show Rebel Without a Crew, I really enjoyed being behind it because of how rigorous the filmmaking process was (although I do have a small cameo).

All of this said, your performance is fantastic. What did you use as motivation in this role?

Thank you so much! I was truly motivated by the chance to tell the story of a woman who is so affected by societal pressure to be a certain way that she resorts to horrifying coping mechanisms. Velma is rebelling against society’s views of women and their sexual expression, almost compulsively, and I feel like this is such an important and interesting topic to dig into.

Now that the film has debuted, where can people go to watch it?

Velma premiered via Geek Tyrant and is now streaming on Vimeo!

What’s next for you, Scarlet?

I just wrapped another short film called Little Lucha & The Big Deal, co-directed by my great friend and collaborator Josh Stifter. It’s about two semi-pro wrestlers in the early 80s giving it their all to “make it.” I think it’s a beautiful metaphor for the life of an artist, and probably one of my most heart-felt pieces of work to date. Look out for its debut on the festival circuit this year!

And, before we go, how can people follow what you’re up to?

People can always find me on instagram @scarletinni as well as check out my website!

Thanks again. Any parting words?

I keep hearing this message from the universe lately and maybe I should share it:

The only way to be sure you’ll never make it is if you quit.

Keep going. Keep making!

Justin has been running websites since his first Geocities site in 1994, but only did he ever start covering anything of substance years later. After he stopped regularly running local concerts in Northern NJ and the greater Philly area, he knew he needed to step up his writing game if he expected to continue to get free music to listen to. He writes regularly here and at Cinapse, as well as contributing to a few other sites on occasion. He likes music, film, the Philadelphia Eagles, the 76ers, talking about Criminal Justice, reading Intelligence Report, and his family... not in that order. His beautiful wife is far more talented than he is and his kids far more adorable... and crazy.
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