Showcasing Women in Film

Interview with Jean Lee, Writer and Director of Original Sin


Q: Can you tell me more about how “Original Sin” was conceived?

A: Maia, César and I wanted to make our first feature with the resources we had available to us. In other words, we wanted to make an opportunity for ourselves. So given this context, Maia and I started brainstorming story ideas that were meaningful to us. We were deeply inspired by the women in our lives – friends, sisters, mothers, grandmothers…and from there we borrowed and hyperbolized moments, aspirations, and desires that then became Pecado Original.


Q: What are some key elements of the film?

A: Comedy! We want to entertain our audiences and make them laugh. Then, through satire, provoke thought and discussion.

Q: What drew you into film-making?

A: I made a documentary during my undergrad at Penn about Philadelphia’s sex trafficking industry. Initially, I thought this would be a good way to parlay my creative interests into law since Penn had an amazing documentary and law program. However, throughout the process I began to realize that my passion for advocacy work and interacting with underrepresented communities could be better accomplished through filmmaking.

I was scared of this realization at first for obvious reasons – only heathens went into the arts. But my amazing community challenged me to pursue it. This group of people included Penn Professor Peter Decherney, Penn Alumni Luis Gomez, Mariya Khandros, Sarah Stewart, my sister, my then church community at Antioch Church, and many other Penn colleagues.


Q: Where else has “Original Sin” been screened?

A: Santa Cruz FF, Cardiff International FF, Downtown Los Angeles FF, Austin FF, and Milan International Film Festival


Q: What is the next step for “Original Sin”?

A: More festivals, sales and distribution!

Q: What is the next steps for you?

A: I’m in post on a Science Fiction Young Adult short film STRONG, which is a proof of concept for a series.

I’m also developing my next feature, which is a horror comedy.

And finally, I’m working on a Korean Latina anthology series with Maia about women in desperate pursuit of happy endings. It’s called American Operas…and it’s a comedy.


Q: How can people find our more information about you and the film online?



Interview with Maria Millan, Director of The Refuge


Q: Can you tell me more about how “The Refuge” was conceived?

A: The Refuge is the product of my time volunteering in a Women’s Aid Refuge in London that was facing government’s cuts. Is based in true stories, in the feeling i got from the women inside there.


Q: What are some key elements of the film?

A: The key elements are that the film is in one location and with a full female cast. I believe that you can see the influence of my love for fashion there too. I personally love the soundtrack. I always wanted to have classical music with a bit of experimental in my film and i think the composer got me right in that.

Q: What drew you into film-making?

A: Every time i have ever watched a film, I get this striking feeling of wanting to make one. I live my life taking notes about people and situations that i could include into a film.

Q: Where else has “The Refuge” been screened?

A: The Refuge has been screened in the Social Machinery Film Festival in Salerno, Italy, where it won an award as “best short” in the “social issues” category.


Q: What is the next step for “The Refuge”?

A: The Refuge is now part of the official selection of the L’Etrange Film Festival in Paris and will premiere there on the 12th September of this year, so we are working hard on that event. We will have the honor to have Anthony Fawcett saying some words about it as an introduction to the screening, and there will be some important people attending so we can’t wait. After we will premiere in London on the 27 of September in the Bloomsbury Hotel as well with Anthony Fawcett giving an introduction and all the crew and cast. We shot in London, and all the cast and most of the crew is based in London, so this one is a close celebration for us, so we are working a lot in the PR of the events for now.

Q: What is the next steps for you?

A: I am working now in the feature film from The Refuge thanks to some lovely people that joined the project and want to make it real. We are writing the script so there is still a lot to do. I also have another feature film project that i just finished the script also with female leads so working on the funding and the adaptation of the film to the country where is more likely we shoot. In the meantime, i would love to shoot another short that i’ve been obsessed about it for a while, so working on the development of that as well. I have gotten back to shoot stills with my analogic Leica camera, black and white 35 mm and i am truly happy about it.

Lujza Richter in The Refuge by Maria Millan

Q: How can people find our more information about you and the film online?

A: Everyone is welcome to get in touch. As i said i am always in the hunt for characters, stories, adventure. My email is and my channels online are: