Inside Look Into the Making of 'Ludi'
Updated: Apr 15, 2021
The indie film explores the Haitian immigrant experience amid the lack of Caribbean representation in the American movie industry
Miami-based indie film company Bantufy is all about increasing representation of Caribbean communities in the film industry. Their first feature film “Ludi'' is the perfect manifestation of their mission statement. The film tells the moving story of a hardworking Haitian immigrant, Ludi Alcidor, chasing the American Dream in Miami’s Little Haiti neighborhood. Co-written by Edson Jean and Joshua Jean-Baptiste, “Ludi'' is inspired by the story of Jean’s mother who is a Haitian immigrant. Mi Voz Media had the chance to speak with producer Fabiola Rodriguez and lead actor Shein Mompremier about the ins and outs of making “Ludi.”
Julia Krys (JK): Hello, buenos días, and welcome. Today we have some terrific guests speaking with us: Fabiola Rodriguez, producer, and Shein Mompremier, lead actress, from the new indie film "Ludi," which premiered in the opening night of the Miami Film Festival, was in the SXSW Film Fest a couple weeks back, and will soon make its way to the Annapolis and Atlanta film festivals.
The film was created by the Miami-based production company Bantufy, where I'm currently interning at. So, we are hoping to give you a bit of an insider look with these two fantastic collaborators. So first, I want to check in with you both and ask how are you doing? And how has the "Ludi'' film festival press buzz been treating you so far?
Fabiola Rodriguez (FR): I think, to me, it's very heartwarming to see the responses. For the most part, the reception has been positive. It's just really nice when folks take the time out of their day to share that feedback. Overall, I think I'm in a place where I'm delighted and excited by everything that's been happening.
Shein Mompremier (SM): Yeah, same. I think I'm just grateful for the story to be out there. And getting all that positive feedback, it’s kind of like a plus. Not only did we get the story out there, but people actually love it. Not like it but love it. That's awesome.
JK: What is your favorite moment from working on “Ludi”?
SM: My favorite moment, it's hard to choose, but I'll go with the first two that come to mind. In one of the montages in the film, I'm holding this bag of groceries on top of my head and walking to my house. I normally don't carry groceries in this way. I don't carry anything in this way. Right? There was like a pack of water one time. But that's my favorite moment. When I was 15 years old, in Haiti, I used to marvel at these women walking the streets, who would have like huge sacks of potatoes and bananas and plantains, and just really, really heavy, colossal things on top of their head, walking gracefully, basically floating down the street, and this was like a normal thing. And so to have that little, just the one bag really made me feel like I was connected in some way and I just, I feel like that's just such a beautiful skill to have. So that was like a very nice moment for me, I would say, um, and then there was another one. I think in the Jitney Right? The bus. Because growing up, I would always get on Jitney. It was cheaper than the Metro bus. And they basically like, stop anywhere. And there's just like this energy of the Jitney that I felt like we really captured in the film. So I really, really liked that part.
JK: That's beautiful. I love how you have so many, like, personal connections and memories that are connected to the film.
FR: So, for me, I don't know if it's like a specific day or event or anything. What I just really like about the film, is that like, at least sort of, from where I sit in, you know, in regards to the crew. You know, it was– it's like the small indies are usually made out of like love. They're made out of a different place in the heart. It's not just like, 'Oh, I need to pay my mortgage. So I'll take that gig.' Like everyone just sort of comes together to, like, make something happen. I was just really like that part. And I feel like you get that a lot more with, like, the Indies. So I think that would be like my favorite moment.
JK: The last question that I have for both of you two, is kind of for our listeners at Mi Voz and at Mi Voz the majority of our writers and our audience is made up of young women involved in or passionate about the arts. So I'm hoping to hear from you guys as women in the industry– What is your greatest piece of advice for young women trying to break into the industry or what's something that you would want to tell your younger self if you could?
FR: I’ll start– do not give up. Do not give up. You will be tempted so many times to give up. Do not give up. The world needs to hear your voice, keep at it. There may be times where it gets dicey. Do not give up. Like if you really feel deep down in your soul that this is what is meant for you. It is and keep at it. That would be my advice.
JK: Wow – you just hyped me up, like, giving that little speech. I hope everybody else feels the same.
SM: Yes, that part, Fabiola, I 100% agree. My advice would be: to be yourself be yourself, be you. There's no one else like you. No one can offer what you have to offer. Because throughout my journey, you know– that you feel like you're always going to be tempted to be like someone else. Like, you know, we have idols, we have people that we look up to that we want to be like, we want our career to reflect, to look like this person, and oh my gosh, they got to do this, that and the third and they got to work with so and so blah, blah. If you just be yourself and not try to be like anyone else, I promise you, I promise you that you'll attract the things that you want. And that you need.
“Ludi” will be screening next at the Annapolis Film Festival then the Atlanta Film Festival. Please get your virtual tickets below. You do not want to miss out on “Ludi”!
Annapolis Film Festival 4/13-4/18
The interview was edited for length and clarity