Private Project

Te llaman las olas (The Waves Call You)

A Puerto Rican seamstress ponders leaving her island to go live with her daughter in the United States.

  • Ana Verde
    Mara Has Three Jobs in San Juan, Puerto Rico
  • Ana Verde
    Mara Has Three Jobs in San Juan, Puerto Rico
  • Lauren Lukow
    Before, Mara Has Three Jobs in San Juan, Puerto Rico
  • Raúl Abner Samrah
    Receta no incluída, Mara Has Three Jobs in San Juan, Puerto Rico
  • Samara Pérez-Santiago
    Receta no incluída, Mara Has Three Jobs in San Juan, Puerto Rico
  • Aidita Encarnación
    Key Cast
  • Keren Lugo
    Key Cast
  • Yetta Gottesman
    Key Cast
  • Adriana Rosa
    Key Cast
  • Evan Moreno
    La Caída de Coloso
  • Mirel Edmée González
    Production Designer
  • Vicente Manzano
  • Alain Emile
    Mara Has Three Jobs in San Juan, Puerto Rico
  • Project Title (Original Language):
    Te llaman las olas
  • Project Type:
  • Genres:
    Drama, surrealism
  • Runtime:
    11 minutes 14 seconds
  • Completion Date:
    June 4, 2023
  • Production Budget:
    30,000 USD
  • Country of Origin:
    United States
  • Country of Filming:
    Puerto Rico
  • Language:
  • Shooting Format:
  • Aspect Ratio:
  • Film Color:
  • First-time Filmmaker:
  • Student Project:
  • 2022 Wave Grant Recipient - Wavelength Productions
    New York, NY
    United States
    2022 WAVE Grant
Director Biography - Ana Verde

Ana Verde is a Puerto Rican and Venezuelan writer and director. Ana is a 2023 Rising Voices fellow (Hillman Grad/Indeed), a 2022 Orchard Project Episodic Lab fellow (The Orchard Project), a 2022 WAVE Grant Recipient (Wavelength Productions), and she was a finalist for the 2022 Ya Tu Sabes Monologue Slam (Nosotros Org and NBCUniversal). Her first project, a non-fiction short called Your Changing Body, was selected for Ars Nova’s 2021 ANT Fest (Ars Nova). Her most recent short, Mara Has Three Jobs in San Juan, Puerto Rico, made in collaboration with 271 Films and Hillman Grad, had it’s world premiere at the 2023 Tribeca Film Festival. For the past four years, Ana has worked at the Sundance Institute where she provides financial, developmental, and creative support to artists working in emerging media, music, theater, and film.

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Director Statement

My mother is a seamstress, a brilliant one at that, living in Puerto Rico. She’s made all of my important dresses – prom dresses, bridesmaid dresses, graduation dresses – and I hope she continues to do so.

The event industry her work hinges on has never been the same since Hurricane Maria in 2017 all the way up to the COVID-19 pandemic. She often finds herself in an extremely delicate place both economically, and personally. She knows her work is worth more than she is charging for it, but her clients are not often willing to pay the price. So, she either rejects the offer for work and receives no money at all, or she eats it. And takes the job. And makes almost nothing.

I made this film to try to answer a question I have for my mother: Why stay when it’s so hard? Why won’t you come live with me in the United States?

I’ve seen many movies about quinceañeras: a beautiful young girl, a classic coming of age story. But, with this project, I wanted to turn the camera down to look at the woman hemming the dress. What does she want? Why is she where she is? Why doesn’t she want to leave? If there's anything I hope the audience takes away from the film, it's the complexity of the answers to these questions.

I see this film as a way to honor my mother’s hard work. As a single parent, she always encouraged me and my sister to follow our passions to the ends of the earth, because she does this every day. She struggles for her work, because of her work, but she will die knowing that she never took a job she couldn’t find the passion for, even on an island that doesn’t give much back to her.