Inspired by the true love story of Ivan Garcia and Gerardo Zabaleta, director Heidi Ewing and her cast delve behind-the-scenes in a Q&A for 2020 part-documentary, part-fiction film I Carry You With Me. Featuring answers from the cast, the crew, and the subjects of the film, they cover topics including the true story that inspired the film, the importance of representation between the gay love story and the tale of immigration, as well as the technical aspects that influenced the creation of the film. This lovely Q&A – with an even lovelier cast and crew – proves almost as beautiful and inspirational as the film itself.

  I Carry You With Me is a deeply important film for a myriad of reasons, at its core being representation and relatability to all whom may come into contact with it. It reflects upon love – romantic, platonic, and familial – and aspirations, and the ways in which these passions interact. The film focuses on the life and experiences of Ivan Garcia (portrayed by Armando Espitia), a gay man who dreamt of moving from Mexico to New York to become a chef, and the emotional toll it took to decide whether he should stay with boyfriend Gerardo Zabaleta in Mexico or follow his dreams to New York. The cast themselves – including star Armando Espitia – described the importance of the representation of a queer love story not entirely focused on the experience of coming out, nor a story full of pain and torment around being gay, as so many queer films do. On top of this, I Carry You With Me is a positive portrayal of the humanity and willpower of immigrants, and the strength it takes to immigrate to another country, sometimes leaving the ones you love behind to create a better life for yourself and your loved ones. This film has the power and emotional charge to truly change the world for the better.

               Director Heidi Ewing is often known for her documentary work, not her fiction work, like this film. In her work with cinematographer Juan Pablo Ramirez, producers Gabriela Marie and Mynette Louie, and editor Enat Sidi (not present in the Q&A), Ewing was able to transfer her concept of a documentary into a part-documentary, part-fictional feature film. Quoted as realizing that she “was shooting the third act of a movie” within her documentary, Ewing created a fascinating experience into the human brain with this blend of reality and fiction. The team attempted to create a cinematic experience that mimics the way the human brain works, with single moments in modernity triggering the a flashback to a memory, as if we are viewing the story not through a film, but through Garcia’s eyes in real time. This took a lot of time, patience, and practice from the crew,, but the end product was worth every second.

               If you would like to support Ivan, you can visit his restaurants Sona Rosa and Mesa Coyoacan in Williamsburg, Brooklyn!

About the film: An epic love story spanning decades is sparked by a chance encounter between two men in provincial Mexico. This Sundance Film Festival Audience Award and NEXT Innovator Award winner is based on a true story, in which ambition and societal pressure propel an aspiring chef to leave his soulmate and make the treacherous journey to New York, where life will never be the same.