Annika Yañez and her pursuit for successful LGBTQ+ film in a mainstream world

Jun 13, 2021 0 comments


Anywhere you look, you’ll find a story. But sometimes, you don’t even have to look very far. There are a lot of stories waiting to be told deep in you.

Annika Yañez is a storyteller, though she’ll be the first to say that it wasn’t something she always dreamt of doing. But whether it’s through her work as a filmmaker or even the videos on her girlfriend Killa Klush’s YouTube channel that she appears in, she strives to share her truth as a member of the LGBT+ community.



We talked to Annika about getting started in the film industry, her award-winning film Sa Pag-agos ng Panahon, and being an inspiration to the LGBT+ community, especially to those who would like to work in the industry.

On Filmmaking

Filmmaking wasn’t always in the cards for Annika. “I had no idea what I wanted to be then,” Annika describes her younger self. “I just enjoyed skateboarding, biking, basketball, video games, and making my Spiderman figurine kiss Barbie.”

It was actually only when she was in college that she fell in love with filmmaking. “I fell in love with filmmaking when I was in 3rd year college when we started with majors and finally stopped studying the same topics we did in high school,” she shares. “I really enjoy telling stories visually and expressing myself in this medium.”



These days, however, it’s not just filmmaking that she focuses on, but digital ads as well. When asked what she loves most about working on digital ads, her answer is frank and honest and reflects a truth about the industry.

“The money, honestly,” she admits. “Because the reality is that when it comes to digital ads, you’ll only see about 60% of your vision (conceptualizing and shot-listing) come to life. The other 40% of the final product depends on producers cutting the budget, clients calling the shots and, of course, things always not going your way in production (weather, delays, etc.). At the end of the day, I love the process though.”




On Being a Lesbian Filmmaker


Being a part of the LGBT community herself has a lot of influence on Annika and her craft. She hopes to tell a lot of dramedy stories as a filmmaker that are “a lot like Taika Waititi’s happy-sad genre films before he directed for Marvel.”

“But I’d center my stories around lots of different kinds of lesbians in it,” she adds.




That brings us to her film, Sa Pag-agos ng Panahon, which was her short film entry for the Cinema One Originals 2018 and went on to win accolades in the Indie Un-Film Festival in the same year. It tells the story of a lesbian in her 20s struggling to come into terms with her traditional father. While the story wasn’t really based on actual events, Annika says it was able to express what she was going through at that time.

“I started writing it not really knowing where it was going to take me,” shares Annika. “But after completing the screenplay, it was incredibly fulfilling to realise that I wanted to communicate being accepted in the LGBT+ community sooner.”



When asked how she hopes to inspire those from the LGBT+ community, specifically those who want to get into a career in film and media, she says she hopes to be an inspiration “by being my most authentic self and sharing my work online. Whether it’s my professional or personal work, a good or bad project, what matters most is that I share my progress. It’s also a good way to reflect on how to up my game.”

On the Future

So what’s next for Annika? “I’m working on something,” she admits and invites everyone to follow @annikafilms on Instagram to see what’s up. “Hopefully, [you can] catch me in TVCs and digital ads ‘cause I’ve been dressing up in the weirdest outfits for so many online castings.”





If you’re hoping for a more frequent glimpse of her, she says you can find her on her girlfriend Killa Kush’s YouTube channel. “I’m there a lot,” she adds. 


 It goes without saying that there’s a whole lot of filmmaking on the horizon for Annika. She says she’d love to work with “a normal true-to-life gay Filipina (who’s not necessarily an actress) that’ll fit my future character” one of these days. And of course, Kristen Stewart.

 

As for what she wants to tell aspiring filmmakers out there, it’s to “put yourself out there. Seek out mentors. Intern. Be a sponge. Take that food videography job even if you haven’t shot any food vids.”

“Explore all the different filmmaking departments and see what you like most,” says Annika. “Help fellow filmmakers. Don’t be afraid to work in the process. Know that at the start all you need is one person to believe in you. Stay true to yourself. Enjoy the process!”

Stay updated with Annika and her projects by following her on Twitter and her two Instagram accounts, which you can find by clicking here and here.


━━ Written By  Bella Javier


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