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On The Table Read, the “Best Entertainment Celebrity Magazine in the UK“, filmmaker Nora Isabel Cross talks about co-founding a women-led filmmaking collective, SheFilmsLA, and her new project, The Tits.

JJ Barnes editor of The Table Read online creativity, arts and entertainment magazine

Written by JJ Barnes

I interviewed filmmaker and co-founder of SheFilmsLA, Nora Isabel Cross, about her life and career, what inspires her work, and the work that goes into her current project, The Tits.

Tell me a bit about yourself.

Nora Isabel Cross, SheFilmsLA, filmmaker on The Table Read
Nora Isabel Cross

I was born and raised in Mexico, but today I’m an immigrant and artist living and working in Los Angeles. I’m a co-founder of a women-led filmmaking collective called SheFilmsLA.

For ten years before I left Mexico I dedicated my life to performing arts– living and breathing theater. After moving to the US I decided to start a career in the film industry.

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When did you first realise you wanted to make films?

After moving to the States in 2019, my grounding in theater developed into an intense interest in film. I’ve written, produced, and acted in a growing handful of my own short films, and a web series.

What is your favourite thing about films?

Well, with working in film it’s that I get to see these shapes in my head transform into something vivid, and shareable, but it’s even better than that, really; Once there’s a piece of yourself out there,  other creators end up offering their talent and vision to support the storytelling you’re trying to do. That spirit of collaboration is amazing.

What classes or research did you take to support you in your filmmaking career?

I have a Degree in Dramatic Literature and Theater (from UNAM in Mexico) and an Masters in Management of Creative Industries (UPF in Spain).  Within those I studied playwrights, script writing and analysis, the differences in performance and composition between theater and film, and even implementing new technologies in the arts. That educational mix was a good springboard for me to dive into more technical aspect of filmmaking and production on my own.

What was your first film industry job?

It wasn’t a film job so much as an attempt at visual storytelling, back in 2017. I wrote and co-produced a music video as the intro for a web series about the life of Mexican Millennials.

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What was your most recent film industry job?

At the moment I’m producing a web series I wrote called “The Tits” (which sounds irreverent because it is– and the project has actually been a lot of fun). We’re shooting our third episode and ramping up our search for funding so we can produce the entire series– and hopefully work with a major production company.

Tell me a favourite experience in your career. Something that stands out in your memories and makes you want to find more experiences like it.

My favorite experiences are those moments when the disparate pieces of a project are just beginning to form together, to make sense as a whole. Sometimes I’ll have written a scene and thought it was fine, and then while planning and thinking out the shoot, something will shift. Like that– and then it’s suddenly possible to discover the improvements waiting to emerge. I want to keep stumbling on those wonderful surprising fragments of new universes.

What was your toughest experience in your filmmaking career?

It’s been the lack of funds to develop larger projects. I have a project which is on hold for funding, and right now we haven’t been able to find many grants or funds which support small fiction productions.

What is the title of your current project?

“The Tits”– like the birds! You can watch the music video as intro for the project here:

What inspired you to make The Tits?

It’s a web series about a group of failed musicians with questionable habits. I personally consider myself to be a failed musician. Long ago I had a desire to be a DJ, but then ended up studying singing for a year and it was terrible. I’ve always admired musicians and many of them seem to have fun while working.

What is the main conflict of The Tits?

How unpredictable the band is. Also the unethical ways they try to achieve success.

How long did you spend in production?

We’ve been working on this one for five months now, off-and-on.

How long did you spend in post production?

I’m starting post next month, and I think it’ll take about two months.

Did you work with a writer, or write The Tits yourself? Would you do the same again?

I write myself. I’d love to work as an established writer for other productions.

How did you find your cast and what made you choose them?

I don’t usually do auditions. I invite people who want to create.

How big was your crew? Would you choose the same size again?

The Tits, Nora Isabel Cross, The Table Read
The Tits

For this small project, only three on crew. I’d have a larger team in the future. 

How did you find your locations?

By Asking! Fortunately, I’ve encountered generous actors who have helped in finding or offering locations.

Tell me some career goals. What would you like to achieve?

I’d like to grow– and grow with– my filmmaking collective (SheFilmsLA). Zanie Marudo and I co-founded it and we have two projects currently in post production. One of our goals is to create a space where women filmmakers can grow and develop their unique stories. 

Tell me something you were surprised by, something you had never realised about being a filmmaker.

That each film shows and shares with the audience the filmmaker’s inner world. Whether intended or not, that person’s culture, life experiences, dreams, relationships, troubles, fears, successes– they’re all there, visible on screen. 

What are words of advice you have for other aspiring filmmakers?

Start. Regardless of your resources, your experience, or your fears. Just get started!

Give me your social links so people can come and find you!

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