Constant foreclosure threats from Midgia Chinea’s bank was enough to inspire her to write a script about the corruption of large banking companies.
Chinea, a graduate film student, channeled her frustration with large banking corporations into her short film “anonymous (street meat),” a science fiction movie that explores the quest for social justice in a parallel world.
The short film, which was inspired by a mortgage scam Chinea experienced when attending UCLA in the fall of 2009, was selected as an official entry into the Cannes Short Film festival.
The four-minute feature is set in a psychiatrist’s office where a male psychiatrist is conversing with a woman who has a background as a prostitute.
The large banking corporations have taken over and have begun to control the public. The prostitute’s name is anonymous, because she has become a part of the banking corporation’s numbering system that steals her identity.
“”˜Anonymous (street meat)’ is what people become when they lose their identity. Once you lose your credit and you are assigned a number, you become anonymous,” Chinea said.
Chinea’s short film is based on a longer feature script she wrote to examine the corruption of big companies.
The movie is set in a future in which crooked corporations are abusing power to control the powerless public.
Chinea said her mortgage bank inspired the script for her film because of the stress the bank put on her about refinancing her mortgage.
“A couple of years ago, someone at my mortgage bank contacted me to see if I was interested in refinancing. The banks took me for a two-year ride, and someone at the bank forged my signature on documents,” Chinea said.
Chinea said she received notices of foreclosure and eventually threatened her bank with a lawsuit and demanded the impound she received on her account to be removed. Her issues were resolved with the bank, but her anger remained.
“These large banks and corporations are abusing people with their power. This (film is) essentially right out of the news as far as the inspiration is concerned. It is just taken to a science fiction extreme,” Chinea said.
The script was taken to production during the fall of 2010 when Chinea began to direct her film in a course on experimental film production taught by film production Professor Belinda Starkie.
According to Starkie, the class focuses on the basics of how to create and direct a short film no longer than five minutes.
Starkie was a little apprehensive at first about the sexual direction Chinea’s project was going in but began to love the film as it advanced in production.
“She really worked through with something that could have been soft porn, which she didn’t do at all,” Starkie said. “What started out as a four-unit class assignment grew into more. She came up with something really special.”
Chinea eventually cut her script down and found actors to star in her project, which operated on a budget of only $520.
Chinea got her project into Cannes by submitting an inquiry to Cannes. She was subsequently encouraged to submit it to the festival as well as attend it.
Chinea selected Josie Martineaux, a graduate film student, to take on the role of the anonymous female in the film.
As a screenwriter herself, Martineaux said this is a valuable opportunity for Chinea.
“It’s definitely important publicity-wise. People choose to premiere major films there, and it attracts a lot of major players in Hollywood,” Martineaux said. “As a screenwriter, to be able to have your film in the festival, you’re going to get a lot of attention.”
Chinea said she is thankful for the opportunity to be shown at Cannes and hopes to get her full-length script picked up by a production company.
She said she still has animosity toward large banking corporations.
“I feel that I’ve learned a great deal. The festival is quite encompassing, and I am very flattered to be selected out of thousands of entries. I don’t know what the future holds, but it is a great opportunity to have my short film exposed to the public,” Chinea said.