We spoke with Iris Almaraz, the director, co-creator and co-writer for her new web series. Here are her unedited responses enjoy.
The Bloody Maria crew has been such a collaborative experience and I want to acknowledge all the work as a collective. One of our key figures is the Tejana media artist Stephanie St. Sanches. We answered these questions together on behalf of the team.
Sojourn Productions: Why is this project important to you?
We want to be able to tell stories with unconventional style and humor.
Sojourn Productions: How did the show come to be?
The idea of Bloody Marias had been swirling around our heads for years. We would be cracking each other up over crazy stories of all the cholas who taught us how to be bad asses and stand up for ourselves and that’s how the characters started taking shape. The Supernatural elements had always been in play. Then bringing in talent and trustworthy people kept adding quality and love. Once we had the series mapped out we launched grassroots fundraising from the community. Then during production it was Teamwork, Post more teamwork and promoting the series more teamwork. No person can do it alone and a community has to commit to lifting each other up.
Sojourn Productions: What or who inspired the show and who inspires you?
First of all our cousins, sisters, tias and baby sitters...all the Cholas we knew growing up! After them came the films that spoke to our soul. John waters “Female Trouble” & “Cry Baby” Russ Meyer “Faster Pussycat Kill Kill” Walter Hill “Warriors” Jack Hill “Switchblade Sisters” Comedy Central “Strangers with Candy” Movie Mcob with Elvira Los Hernandez Bros / their comics “LOVE and ROCKETS”
Sojourn Productions: What challenges did you face and overcome while making Bloody Maria?
What challenges didn’t we face! It isn’t that fun to dwell on the challenges but our advice to people facing them would be the good old adage from the 1990’s “You better check yourself before you wreck yourself.”
Sojourn Productions: What is your hope audiences will take from watching this show?
That we can claim space in places that have excluded us in the past, like the B-Movies that we mentioned before. We want people to see that the Chola icon can exist in comedy and stylized projects akin to “Switchblade Sisters”, “Foxy Brown” and other exploitation films. We want people to see that we are honoring the strong Chicana voice and style that has such a unique history and is now influencing young people in countries like Japan, England, Italy and around the world.
Sojourn Productions: What are the visual and technical approaches you took to make this unique?
With a cinematic passion we combined campy style with classic b-movie qualities and merging that with a comic book aesthetic.
Sojourn Productions: What are your future goals?
We want that doughnut money, Man! We have scripts ready to go for more seasons. We are putting it out into the universe that more episodes of the BLOODY MARIA saga must be made!
Sojourn Productions: What makes this your project (what makes it unique to your voice and why you’re the only one who can tell this story)?
Not sure if we are the only ones who can tell it but we were the ones who did tell it. First and foremost we have a deep love and respect for the culture. As artists we are the loners who watched and admired the badassery of the Grand Cholas around us! They gave us the ability to have a voice to try something rebellious, something chola and counterculture. It can be very scary to try and do something that people haven't seen before. Fellini was heckled by his fellow Romans for going against the Italian Realist style. But sometimes you just have to listen to the universe to guide you along the way. And we were told GO FOR IT!