A mom, best friend, companion.

I will try my hardest not to make this as cliché as possible. It’s hard to do when talking about someone who has birthed you and has been the one person that craves every ounce of love from you since you could remember. The purpose of Dominicana, this five-minute documentation, is to give thanks to the one that has made it even possible for me to step into the University of Tampa, while also sharing a genuine representation of what goes on inside the WhatsApp groupchat, Familia Ortiz Soto. This time capsule has stayed in our messenger history since the begging of October 2018 and has not been shared by anyone other than those with the last name Ortiz. This is a love letter and thank you for those that continue to show admiration and love for me, even miles away.

In viewing my portfolio, you can probably tell I have a common theme for visually montaging family and friends that are stuck in the moment. I have grown to love this style of filmmaking, one that shows the beauty to; little to no editing and the power of how contagious a smile may seem even in the eyes of a stranger. For my final project at UT, I decided to stick to my roots and show off a part of me that many haven’t seen, my heritage. My Dominican side is one that only few get to really see in Tampa. At my core I have a giant heart that beats for those across the waters and wanted to physically show this love through my grandmothers’ speech. I decided the best way to show off her words is to keep it simple by formatting her words on screen. After the presentation of her words, I decided to montage a lot of the clips that are found in our group chat and gather old clips from my moms old IPhones.

UT has shown me many techniques that I have transformed into my own style. Writing is something that I have loved combining with filmmaking. Blogging and photography and videography come hand in hand to me. It is my form of expression in a way that bring Dominicana to life. In writing the time and place this brings back an exact moment without having to seek the full video behind the words.

In making this documentary, I have gone through lost footage, an entirely lost memory card, and many anxious moments. Though it does not seem like it took months to create. The thought process and trying to find footage consumed my time management for the whole project.

My mother is my main inspiration. I have always understood my mom as a someone who is unapologetically herself in every aspect of her being. When told something with a spice of attitude, most of the time, she does not question what’s wrong, she instead understands that life is sometimes rocky, and that little spill wasn’t meant literally. In working two jobs, having her family nearly a thousand miles away, she has many things to be uncomfortable with. In middle school when most of my friends could only rely on the girls, I relied on my mom. Every day as soon as I got in the car, I would spill every droplet of tea. When she was not on the phone with just about every relative, she would listen for those twenty minutes it took to get home about the unimportant details of middle school drama. Though her ears are not always the best (usually blames it on the airplanes going by) she has always been 1000 percent honest. I applaud my mom in all the things she does and am BEYOND grateful.

Dominicana is for her.