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Miracle Makers Interview with Maria Brenda

What have you made?

My Projects:

- MAYA the Sacrifice Short Teaser & Trailer (2019)- Award-winning film

- BLANK WALL Short Film (Filmed during pandemic/2020)- Award-winning film

- LUNA-TIC Short Film (Filmed during pandemic/2021)- Award-winning film

- Daniel's Reindeer Short Film (Filmed during pandemic/2020)

- The Last Prank Short Film ( My 1st short film/2018)

What are you making next?

Pre-production for my feature film, MAYA the Sacrifice, and TV Pilot, The Myths Beneath which will be filmed this year. Along with my 2 short films, I killed Myself & Reven's Last Prophecy. All my projects are proof of concepts.

What do you believe in?

I believe that we all have our path and destiny. Filmmaking and advocating mental health is mine.

What inspires you to make?

My first feature film, MAYA the Sacrifice was inspired by my personal life. It is a film for a cause dedicated to Mental Health Awareness. My struggle as a full-time caregiver of my daughter who suffers from mental health challenges. A mother who will go above and beyond to help & care for her child.

Over the past 20 years, suicide amongst children and adults are rising and it triples that during the pandemic. Most of the mental health facilities were defunded and a lot of the people that are going through challenges have nowhere to go. Let us all rise up and help each other. A little help can go a long way. Reaching out to your loved ones, friends, neighbors, acquaintances, and strangers will help tremendously. A simple hello and smile can make someone's life brighter. Who has mentored you? There's really no one mentored me. It's through my experiences & struggles that I am able to create something unique & a one-of-a-kind project. My mother is my biggest inspiration. She molds me to be who I am today. She is independent and tough and I wanted to be half of the woman she is. How do you make what you make? Through my life experiences and what's around me. I am always been a creative person since I am little. What creators and creations inspire you most? I am a big sci-fantasy fan. Stephen Spielberg's creations inspired me the most. Someday, I wanted to be his female counterpart if given a chance. I know I have a long way to go, but I'm patient. What is your story? I was born and raised in the Philippines and moved to the US (Chicago) in my young adult's life with my family. It was a cultural shock and I struggle at first but I adopt the American way of life. It took me quite a while to do that.

I love cinema and 2 years ago I started a production company, Zatori Films which is based in Chicago. We consist of a diverse group of emerging filmmakers. Most of our team are minority female professionals. We dedicate our lives to creating one-of-a-kind and unique projects. We also advocate Mental Health Awareness through our projects. I am blessed to have an amazing team. They are my extended family. I am also the founder of a non-profit (501c3) organization, No Small Potatoes Foundation which started in 2020. My goal is to help mental health communities everywhere. In addition, my team and I started, Feed the Homeless project which we started on December 25, 2020, and continued doing it monthly. We are hoping that we can do more in the near future. Helping others is not a chore; it is the greatest gift there is.

What is your purpose? My purpose in life is to tell my story and share my creations. And ultimately to become an ambassador in advocating Mental health Awareness around the world. What miracles have you experienced in your life? It's definitely my daughter's progress and she continues thriving. Her courage & braveness to open up about her struggle is a blessing. God gave me a voice and strength to pursue my dreams and work on my goals in life. That's the miracle that I am thankful for and grateful to be blessed with. What miracles do you want to perform? My projects that will touch people's lives will be the biggest miracle that I can be proud of. What do you need to make miracles happen? Keep learning and pursuing my dreams and never give up.

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