San Antonian’s ‘Work’ at Sundance elevates diverse perspectives

Writer/director April Maxey created her short film through the American Film Institute Directing Workshop. She plans now to expand it to a feature-length film.

By Laura RiceJanuary 20, 2022 1:19 pm, , , ,

The Sundance Film Festival kicks off Thursday. Among the films at the fest with Texas connections is writer/director April Maxey’s “Work.” She describes it as a film about a young, queer Latina who is reconnecting with herself after a tough breakup.

Maxey says the story has been burning inside her for a long time. She created the short as part of her participation in the American Film Institute’s Directing Workshop for Women. She’s now working on a feature-length version.

Maxey was born and raised in San Antonio and says it’s where she discovered art and creativity. She tells the Standard about her short film and the impact she’d like to make on the film industry.

April Maxey

“I love that San Antonio is this huge, major city in Texas, but it has this very like almost small-town feel… that’s where I discovered art and acting, and I was very blessed that my parents were very supportive of me being creative.”

“I would drive up to UT [University of Texas at Austin] in high school and like, be in their thesis films at the MFA program there. This one time I was the lead in this MFA short film and the director was a woman. It was the first time I was on an indie film set and kind of seeing younger adults making a movie. It was so cool. I remember thinking the director was such a bad***. And yeah, I was like, very intrigued.”

“I am a person that carries different facets of identity with me, especially in an industry like the film industry that’s very male dominated. I’m, you know, a woman, I’m Latina, I’m queer. And so I think… it’s important for me to work with people from other identities that have been minorities, historically. Because, yeah, I think in my career, at least in the way that I have been able to make a living, mostly is with other women giving me a chance and women of color hiring me.”

“I think it’s just really important to uplift people horizontally, you know, as a collective group, because that’s the way we advance, and that’s honestly the way that we create better art.”

Poster image of “Work”

“I like telling stories that are very personal for me and very specific, but I think the overall idea is something that’s universally relatable. Even if on the surface, someone might not think that they have a lot in common with this character, I hope that they’re able to connect with her and enjoy the film.”

The Sundance Film Festival runs Jan. 20-30. Single tickets and festival passes are still available.

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