Interview with Christian Garcia Soriano
I AM (Artist in Motion) is an interview series meant to spotlight indigenous artists and artists of color in the Twin Cities. I had the privilege of working at the Loft as the fall 2019 marketing and communications intern, and when they gave me the chance to work on a project of my choosing, I AM is the first thing I thought of.
The artists in this series were people I found truly inspiring. They incorporate art into their lives in many different ways and expressions, finding time whenever or wherever they can. They show how art can be a form of healing, understanding, and moving forward. I hope you take in their words and feel that for yourself.
Christian Garcia Soriano is a filmmaker. His documentary, which he created at CLUES and focuses on his own story and how positivity has affected his life, was featured at Cine Latino, the Twin Cities' celebrated Latino Film Festival.
Who you are? What mode or modes of storytelling do you use?
I’m Christian. I use narrative storytelling. I like to be a narrator when I tell my topics. I’m a filmmaker.
How is filmmaking a unique way of telling a story?
It's a powerful tool to influence the audience. With films, with cinema, with movies—it's literally in the person’s brain. They're seeing what you're trying to talk about, seeing what you’re trying to put into the world. I believe it's one of the most powerful ways that you can influence people. People can see it so vividly. When you see something that real, you can feel something real. That’s when people become amazed by the story you’re trying to tell. When you can have them visualize and feel something, then you know you hit gold.
How did you get into filmmaking?
I took a class with CLUES—before called Youth at Work—and in that class, it was all about being more professional, trying to be good at the workplace, trying to learn how to network, how to be successful when you grow up, all that. It was really good. The teachers were all talking about this filmmaking class that was just about to happen. It was the first year, the first time they were going to do it. They were saying that you could make your own film, work with a director, and they give you cameras, and you learn all about what it’s like to be a filmmaker. They asked the class if anyone would like to learn more information. They had fliers and all that. No one else raised their hand, and I was just like “I’ll do it!” Yeah screw it, you know. Why not? No one else is going to do it. I want to see what it’s going to be like. It was an opportunity that I thought I couldn’t miss. Now, it’s really cool.
How was Cine Latino?
I didn’t know anything about Cine Latino. I got a call from Ricardo. He helped me make my film, and he told me that my film was in Cine Latino. I was really happy! I was really happy to hear that. I was like, wow, I don’t even know what it is! But he told me what it was, what the festival was about. I was just really happy. I felt really good that my film made it in there.
Can you tell me a little bit about your film?
Yeah! I tried to influence the audience to just try to do better. Try to have hope for the future. In the video, I talked about how I want to change my future and how I came from a place where I wasn’t doing so good at that time. I thought about what I was doing, and I changed how I looked at life, how I looked at school, how I looked at work, how I looked at a lot of different things. I just tried to make a positive impact as much as possible in the community.
With my film, that’s what I’m trying to do, I’m just trying to influence other people to do the same. A lot of people come from the same point I was at. Everyone goes through tough times. When you realize you can make a difference in your life, you can change it, then the sky’s the limit. Then you can start working for it, you start having hope. Hope is important to me. Hope is important to a lot of people. Where we are today, it seems like we’re running out of it. If we can keep hope, if we can all be happy, then everything will be okay. In that film, I really just tried to influence people to walk every single day with a positive mindset and just look toward the future.
Can you tell me what the film was about exactly? And what it was called?
I didn’t name my film, but it’s about me, about how I came from a bad place, how I wasn’t doing so good, and how I figured out and realized that I need to make a difference. I want to do better. It’s not all about me. It’s about you. It’s about everyone. It’s such a bigger picture. In this film, I’m trying to influence whoever’s watching it to just know that. It’s not all about you. It’s about your neighbor. It’s about who lives in your community. It’s about the world. I want the best for the world. I want the best for everyone. In this film, I really try to show that. Just trying to spread positivity everywhere. If I can do that in cinema or movies, that’s awesome.
What’s your process in creating your art?
The very first thing I do before I start brainstorming is think about how I want the audience to feel. I don’t think about ideas, a plot, characters, none of that. What do I want you to feel when you watch it? I just come up with a list and write down: I want you to feel motivated. I want you to be happy. I want you to be shocked. I want you to be, I don’t know, amused. I want you to be thinking about it two days from now. All types of things. After that, I think about what type of scenarios can portray those feelings. If I want you to be inspired, how can I take a story out of my life that was me at a point when I was low, not doing so good, and show a scenario where I’m doing better and working to do better? That’s my way on how I work on things.
What is it like showing people you know and don’t know your art?
I care, but I don’t care what people think. I make it, I put my heart into it, and I’m happy with it. If they like it, awesome. If they don’t like it, it’s whatever. I want people to like me for me. I’m not going to be someone who’s going to try to please everyone. I’m someone trying to be me. My story is my art. My art is my story. My loved ones, I love them. I know they support me, and I want them to see it. I want them to see my art. I want them to see my work and see what I do.
How do your stories connect to your identity? How do they connect you to your community?
They relate to me because everyday I try to wake up with a positive mindset. I always try to stay positive no matter what’s happening in life. If you think negative, negative things happen. If you think positive, positive things happen. So I just try to always do that. With relating my work to myself, to my identity, to my community, it’s all about positivity. It’s the one I try to focus on the most. I just always try to stay positive in my home, my school, my community, and my work as well. Working on my film, I met a lot more people that I didn’t know I was going to meet. I met a lot of nice people, some new friends. It was great to work with people who lived in the same community as me. I could relate to them and they could relate to me.
Why do you do what you do?
I made the choice because I thought it would be nice if I could influence people through cinema. Cinema, movies, theater—it's very influential. I thought that I could make a movie like that and influence people. Rather than see other famous directors and producers make their movies and have their movies influence people, I want to be there too. That’s why I did it as well.
Do you plan on making more films in the future?
Yeah, I have a lot of ideas for other movies. I want to work with CLUES again. I definitely plan on making more.