Photo courtesy by Joshua Peguero

Young filmmaker hopes to document her mother’s 15-year domestic violence nightmare

Lorena Gordon stands on set behind her cameraman in Queens, New York trying to channel her mother’s pain as a domestic abuse survivor. This film relives her family’s past, shedding light on an issue most women often kept hidden inside their homes and bedrooms.

“Times Like These” represents a cathartic journey for Gordon, 21, turning the camera lens inward and taking her audience to a place where she grew up under domestic abuse. Today she shoots inside her childhood park a campaign video for her Indie gogo page — a crowdsourcing website. The goal is to reach $13,000 by May 31st paying for pre-production, production, and post-production cost.

“Online you have to work harder to produce better work as a filmmaker, and to shine and stand apart from the crowd,” says Gordon on set. “One of the things I hated about college was everyone wanted to do a movie about zombies or college buddies getting high. Like seriously? Out of the potential projects one could do.”


Photo courtesy Joshua Peguero

This may have sparked her reason to drop out sophomore year. Her mother, Marisol, had final approval over the script. An estimated 1.3 million women are victims of physical assault every year by their spouse and most go unreported to the police, according to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence. Marisol endured 15 years of abuse at the hands of Lorena’s dad after coming to the United States from Colombia. She eventually mustered up the courage to move out with her two young children, and no money.

Gordon put her script away for two years and started working on movie sets as a production assistant meeting Hollywood titans, eventually working with Martin Scorsese. On the set of “Wolf on Wall Street,” she grabbed a few minutes of his time.

“He told me that his asthma was his inspiration for filming, and I shared with him that my lupus diagnosis was mine,” says Gordon who suffers from Lupus. “He said whatever is in your heart you should follow. He said he was willing to look at my film. It was a highlight in my life.”

“After working on ‘Wolf on Wall Street,’ I was inspired. I needed that creative juice, then I looked over the script. I was hungry and devoted to this film.”

The film stars Nancy Castro as Marisol, Jayson Simba as Gilberto and Ethan Rosero as Alex. “My dream is to find a beautiful dress not for a wedding but for the Oscars,” says Castro, 39, in between takes of shooting. “I decided to pursue acting because using my body language to tell a story is a wonderful thing. Being an actor is not trying to be other people, but discovering other layers about yourself.”

Doing independent films has challenges, Gordon recognizes, due to motion picture companies’ reluctance to gamble on an unknown project during this economic climate. However, the Internet broke down distribution barriers.

“The Internet allows you to branch out your influences. You can promote your film through Twitter, Facebook, and sometimes it can be an enemy,” says David Brock, who worked with Gordon last year in “A Case For You.” “Major distributors want to make a buck. They want something that will give you adrenaline. “G.I, Joe” was a horrible film and made money.”

Simba, the lead actor, expresses confidence in his role having lived through a father who psychologically abused him.

“I can use being exposed to it to form my character,” says Simba, 39, over the phone. “Again for me is what was the journey that got to that point in a marriage. Being exposed to it, I can see the end point, now the next question is how do I get there.”

The film currently is in pre-production, and Gordon will start shooting by Mid-June. Here is her Indie gogo page to show support.


Joshua Peguero is a digital reporter based in New York City writing on immigration, business, and entertainment. He chose this profession to give a voice to issues often ignored. Twitter: @joshuapeguero

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