Now Loading… the new episode of your favorite independent film podcast Indie Beat

On this episode, we spoke to director, producer, actor, and dancer Carolina Monnerat.

Monnerat’s love for film started early and without bounds: alongside regular childhood programming, her parents encouraged her to watch the titans of the cinema canon such as Scorsese or Kubrick, age be damned. This developed not only her passion for cinema but her fluency in it at a very young age, leading her to make inventive little movies with her friends in her spare time. Deep down, Carolina hoped to one day become a movie maker.

The art of dance also called her, though, and she found herself performing and studying various forms, notably ballet. She got work with a dance company and that brought her to the States, and it was there that she met future collaborator and husband (and former guest!) Theodore Collatos.

READ MORE: Andy Muschietti Talks Bad Endings, Ritchie’s Story & More In Our Spoiler-Filled Discussion [The Fourth Wall]

The duo began working together on projects immediately and there is quite a body of work to delve into! Around the time Collatos was “on the pod” he was promoting their feature “Tormenting The Hen,” an intimate psychological thriller which Monnerat both produced and starred in. ‘Hen’ centers around the tumultuous relationship between a young couple (Monnerat and Dameka Hayes) and an autistic groundskeeper (Matthew Shaw). The shoot was incredibly no budget and took a lot of miracles to pull off — but the team did it and Monnerat was a big reason why, shepherding the team through thick and thin. This is all without mentioning her deep and intense performance, one that propels the film to soaring heights. Check it out for yourself here (free with Prime!)

Meanwhile, Collatos and Monnerat were also working on a much longer-term project: a documentary on Luana Muniz, a transgender Brazilian activist that ran a house for other transgender sex workers. On the festival circuit now, “Queen of Lapa” is both a Frederick Wiseman-esque examination of the house and its occupants and also a character portrait of Muniz, the matriarch of the sex workers in the neighborhood of Lapa. Don’t think it’s a slow one, though, as the subjects are some of the liveliest, absorbing personalities to grace a film of this kind. This isn’t a film to be missed so be sure to check and see if it is playing near you!

Carolina and I chatted about “Queen of Lapa,” Brazilian politics, how her skills as a dancer shape her filmmaking side, and more!

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