January 16, 2009

Journey of a New Found Passion

By Bel Hernandez

“I developed really bad insomnia after my grandmother passed… it’s one of the reasons I came out to L.A., and to pursue my dream of a singing career” says Veronica Loren who grew up in Mc-Allen, Texas. What she discovered was a new passion.

Three months after arriving in Los Angeles, Loren was coaxed into auditioning for a film. She had nothing to do that day. She landed the part and headed back to South Texas and its 102 degree weather, ice cream breakfasts and the experience of her life.

Director Chris Eska was looking for the perfect actors (or non-actors in this case) for his first feature film August Evening, the story of an aging undocumented farm worker named Jaime and his young, widowed daughter-in-law, Lupe. Loren had the look, although they would have to do something about that perfect slim model figure. “This was my first time acting and when Chris asked me to gain some weight, at first I said that’s unheard of but I love eating so it really wasn’t hard,” laughs Loren. “When I do something I do it 110%, so I gained 30 lbs. I said, if I’m going to do this I’m going to do it right. ”

The film’s theme of aging parents, grown children and the unstoppable force of time that leads to a father-in-law having to say goodbye to his daughter-in-law so she can start her own life, are real live issues which Loren hopes will help audiences connect with the importance of maintaining close family ties. “If this movie makes you feel like ‘let me call my mom…my brother or sister…my aunt or uncle’…if you walk away feeling that, then I think we did what the movie was supposed to do,” she says.

Watching the completed film, was a cathartic journey for Loren which began with the loss of her grandmother. “I couldn’t stop crying. I saw my family in the movie… how the family separates. Even though you live 2 or 3 hours away, you really don’t see each other that often. Cuando se muere la abuelta o abulelito, ya no se junta la familia… no como antes [when the grandmother or grandfather passes, the family doesn’t get together… not like before.], she says quietly.

But then Loren’s jovial personality shines through when asked what her reaction was to seeing herself on the big screen, she jokes out “I saw a “big o booty.” Yet, more pointedly, Loren saw up on the screen inspired an insightful revelation. “You’re able to share something with the audience, I realized acting was just another avenue to reach people and I’m all for that…it’s my second passion.”

As for her first love, music, that’s a constant, Loren explains. She is constantly writing music and although that aspect of her career has been up and down, it seems to be coming together, “I’m working with a few producers, so si diosito quiere [God willing]… I’ll have something coming out soon,” she says, as she reflects “I used to sing for my grandma. That’s why I sing… for her.”

You can see August Evening now in release on DVD or learn more at www.MayaReleasing.com

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