A DOCUMENTARY ABOUT ARELY VAZQUEZ
AND THE SANTA MUERTE
Documentary, 20 min | USA & Brazil | 2018 release
La Flaca is a film about Arely Vazquez, a transgender woman and leader of the Santa Muerte (Saint Death) Cult in Queens, New York. During her yearly celebration to the Bony Lady ("La Flaca" as she likes to call her), Arely faces a lot of challenges to fulfill a promise she made ten years ago.
Arely Vazquez's personal story as an immigrant and transgender woman is the starting point of the short movie "La Flaca", that attempts to show what the Santa Muerte (Holy Death) cult is about - a cult formed by those marginalized in our society. The movie blurs the line between documentary and fiction when bringing together real characters and events with a fictional plot, based on the day of the 9th Anniversary of the Santa Muerte. Arely gathers the devotees annually in a celebration through the night, idealized by her as a form of fulfilling her vows to the Skeleton Saint.
That same day she is visited by Enriqueta Vargas, the godmother of the cult that comes all the way from Tultitlan, Mexico to follow the celebration but Arely is constantly harassed and threatened by strangers throughout the day. Despite the support from the community and her husband Jorge, Arely faces a big dilemma before continuing with the yearly celebration.
"La Flaca" is above all a documentary about the overcoming of prejudices and the breaking of tabus, that also questions social superficial morals. It is a movie about life, but it is also a movie about death - the death that is always just for she'll come to meet us all, sooner or later.
Director/Writer: Thiago Zanato
Co-director/Writer: Adriana Barbosa
Executive Producer: Thiago Zanato
Production: Sebastián Aguirre
Cinematographer/DP: Alejandro Mejia
Camera assistant: Sandra Kaethner
Editor: Rodrigo Carneiro
Production Assistant: Liz Saldoriga
Sound operator: Mike Wolf Snyder and Lindsey Cordero
Sound design: Ventana Bezerra & Matraca Records
Sound mixing: Fernando Ianni & Renan Vasconcelos
Soundtrack: Thiago Zanato and Max Blum
Color grading: Luisa Cavanagh & Pétala Lopes @ Quanta Post
Distribution: Kino Rebelde
Leading role: Arely Vazquez
Supporting role: Enriqueta Vargas & Puy Navarro