Lights… Camera… Action! The independent feature-length film, Becoming Lola, written and directed by San Diego native Karen Schuback and produced by Coronado’s own Tania Luviano pays homage to the City of Coronado by showcasing select businesses, homes, and other local venues as the set for the recently completed festival-circuit film.
With a modest budget of just $25K, producer Tania Luviano relied on her network of friends and business contacts to scout suitable set locations for the movie. Thanks to the support of local real estate agent Alan Kinzel and a handful of willing newcomers, Becoming Lola was realized after just six-weeks of filming.
“Coronado is a perfect film set,” explains Luviano. “There are a range of businesses very close to each other and it offers the character of a quaint small town. I went to every single store and business in Coronado looking for locations to film. Nado Republic, Laundry Lounge, the Coronado High School Theatre… so many places made this film possible.”
Tania describes Becoming Lola as a modern-day Cinderella story. Specifically, a comedy/drama about an aging actress who discovers her inner princess by fashioning her outer self as a queen – a drag queen.
“It’s so much fun,” says Luviano about the film. “It’s about taking the opportunity to reinvent yourself at any stage of life and really finding your happy place in the world.”
In the interest of authenticity, Luviano recruited real-life queens: Samuel Christopher Bledsoe (Quin), Kickxy Vixen-Styles, and Santio Cupon, to feature in the movie and add their own element of fantastical flair.
Luviano joins the cast in front of the camera with her own gender-bending character in the film by playing an androgynous director who casts the leading ladies.
Despite the fun and frivolity in the filming of Becoming Lola, the production was not without its challenges.
“It was a big complication to find a retail store prepared to close their businesses to potential customers so that we could film,” says Tania. “I was so grateful when Mary Ann Berta of La Mer on 1122 Orange Avenue opened her doors to us. She was such a sweetheart and really, she saved us.”
Other Coronado businesses were equally accommodating.
“One of our longest nights of filming was at Nado Republic the weekend before the 4th of July. We began filming at 8 pm and didn’t wrap up until after 3 am. The support of these community businesses is really amazing.”
Becoming Lola is currently in post-production. Luviano and writer/director Karen Schuback intend to submit the film for inclusion in the Coronado Island Film Festival scheduled for November 8-11.
“It would be fantastic if we could coordinate the opening of the film with the Coronado Film Festival,” says Tania. “We owe the Coronado community so much for helping to make this film possible. Let’s celebrate together by throwing a fabulous party!”