Issa Lopez is a writer and director. She wrote and directed Tigers Are Not Afraid. Issa took time to talk with Horrornews.net
Hi Issa, how are you?
Issa-I am fine.
Tigers Are Not Afraid is such a beautiful film. How did this idea manifest for you? Also, do you think there would be another one, a sequel?
Issa- I think you are the first people to ask about that one about the sequel in a long while, which is interesting. It’s interesting because there’s movies that come to you in a moment and they happen and then there’s movies that are in the making in your head and heart for decades. That’s the heart of Tigers. I had this idea about what happens with children that are left and forgotten in Mexico. I felt it could be a Peter Pan-eque idea and then I heard about these ghost towns that were happening everywhere. Then I went through a complicated time in my life, the project I was developing for four years came to a halt. It was not going to happen.
My father had died recently, I lost my mother when I was very young. The loss of my father was massive. I had to put my dog down, I had a break-up. It was a mess. In that place of hopelessness and exhaustion, I found this story of this little girl who had nothing and comes home and finds her mother gone. It was a little bit like what happened to me, of course not the same that happened to this kid, my mother died of natural causes. But, this feeling of coming home and not having your mom and not having the chance to say goodbye, I understand. I started to create this story and it took a life of its own and it became Tigers. I found a universe where these kids understand the supernatural elements. Its set in those two fantastic worlds that happen on both sides of the border between the U.S. and Mexico. I was working on a story and it was going to take its time to manifest itself.
Issa, I am so sorry about everything you went through. I think watching this movie people often forget about the kids and they become lost or pawns but kids remember and see everything. You show what they are going through. I dealt with a lot of trauma and Tigers really hits a lot of nerves. It hits psychologically and shows what kind of strength people have in them.
Issa- Thank you so much. I am sorry about whatever happened to you. Here’s the deal, not that I celebrate for a second that I lost my mother. It was a difficult time from where the movie was born for me. But I do feel that I was given an advantage and as a strong storyteller, it comes from the terrible things that have happened to me. Part of the positive thing is to learn to treasure them as the things that make you. The same as incredible joys. I personally create and things that are born from pain and turn into something creative, it’s the best art you can make.
I agree. What was it like directing this cast? They all did an incredible job.
Issa- At the beginning it was a scary adventure. It was scary because it was such a challenge. I couldn’t imagine how the hell I was going to get these performances out of children. These performances had to feel…. not like a performance, which is tough with child actors. We saw six hundred children. There is a feature, its forty-five minutes about how the movie was made and me working with them. It was such a joy to listen to them. Despite the dark source material. It was a challenge to get these children to a place where they could give you that performance, but at the same time they were enjoying themselves.
What do you want to say to the people who will be watching Tigers Are Not Afraid?
Issa- I want people to know that these are the children and they’re stories, that right now, they are being held at the border between the U.S. and Mexico. They are escaping this horror. We should treat them as heroes, they are survivors. They go through hell and they end up in another hell here. We know better then that. Have fun and it is a ghost story but you get a perspective into this world.
Thank you so much Issa. This was a beautifully done film and stay safe.
Issa- Thank you so much.