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An Interview with Zair Montes, Star and Producer of Rumba Love

by Mike Haberfelner

September 2021

Zair Montes on (re)Search my Trash

 

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Your new movie Rumba Love - in a few words, what is it about, and what can you tell us about your character in it?

 

Rumba Love is the story of a Cuban American musician who after living in Cuba for many years, decides to come back to New York to bring his and his best friend's music and make it in the Big Apple. Beyond that, it is a story of perseverance, love, and faith. It tells how passion and commitment can bring you anywhere you want. It is the American dream journey told in a real yet unconventional way.

 

Of course, you also have to talk about the music in Rumba Love for a bit, and what does music as such, and Cuban music at that, mean to you, personally?

 

As a Latina born and raised in Venezuela, with Colombian roots and a strong influence from the Caribbean, music like rumba, salsa, and latin music in general plays an important role in my life. It is ingrained in our culture, and not only do we learn to live with it, but it's part of who we are. The way we interact socially, the way we confront our fears, or we celebrate our successes, everything is through these rhythms, through music and musicality, and as such, participating in a movie in which music plays such an important role, like another movie character itself, was not only was excitingÖ it was very inspiring.

 

Do talk about the shoot as such, and the on-set atmosphere!

 

We shot in Havana and New York. The atmosphere on set was fantastic both in New York and Havana. The Cuban experience was incredible for me, not only as an actress but also as a producer. I was challenged in ways I never imagined. We had to deal with sorting out power outages, lack of gasoline, and absence of internet and printers just to mention a few things, but on the other side, we were blessed with the Cuban people. Locals would notice we were filming and out of the blue, they would come to set with colada (Cuban coffee) for everybody. They opened their homes, helped in any shape or form and we became part of a community that embraced us and made us feel accepted and blessed. The fact that we were able to shoot a movie with no internet made the process so special. We had no other option than being in the present, and only live the present moment. For an actor, thatís priceless.

 

The $64-question of course, where can Rumba Love be seen?

 

We premiere in selected theaters in the US and on VOD platforms in the US and Canada on September 24th. If you are based in LA, we will premiere at Laemmle Glendale. For our community in New York, The City Center Village East is the theater to go. We will also be in theaters in Miami at Dolphin 24, and you can check our website rumbalovemovie.com for the full list of cities and platforms.

 

Anything you can tell us about audience and critical reception of Rumba Love?

 

Rumba Love is a tribute to our heritage, therefore we are pretty excited to celebrate the Hispanic Heritage Month with the premiere of Rumba Love. We latinos are a big community that want to be acknowledged and celebrated, and as such, we believe that Latinos and other ethnicities will be able to get a sense of who we are, and celebrate our tenacity, our determination, our faith and our joy with Rumba Love.

 

Any future projects you'd like to share?

 

I will be back on set pretty soon, this time playing the lead in a psychological drama that will be shot on location in Orlando. Iím not allowed to say more at this time, but it will be officially announced soon.

 

What got you into acting in the first place, and did you receive any formal training on the subject?

 

I started my career as an actress in Venezuela where I did a lot of telenovelas, and also participated in some films and theater plays. Then, I moved to Colombia where I did films and TV series merely as an actress until I had the opportunity to produce my first movie in which I also acted. That movie, Habana Instant, won several awards including the Montreal World Film Festival. After that experience, I knew I wanted to continue growing as an actress and producer, and I have been doing both ever since. Recently, I started writing as well. My first TV show as a writer is called The Flowers, and you can find it on Amazon Prime.

 

In recent years, you've also picked up producing, sometimes even writing, in addition to acting - why is that then?

 

I consider myself primarily an actress who has had the blessing of learning a lot about the craft by being a producer. And the more I produce the more I love it ,and my producer hat is always present even in projects where Iím merely an actress. That is not to say that doing both things is easy. On the contrary, it is quite a challenge, and if you add writing to the equation, it gets way more complicated. But the journey has been beautiful and I take one project at a time. There have been times where Iíve only produced, and others where Iíve only acted, and others where I do both, such as in Rumba Love. In any case, it is rewarding and I learn a lot.

 

What can you tell us about your filmwork prior to Rumba Love, in whatever position?

 

You can watch my work as an actress and producer in movies like Habana Instant and Welcome to Acapulco with Paul Sorvino, William Baldwin and Michael Madsen. You can also watch The Flowers, a series I wrote, produced and played the lead.

 

Actresses (and indeed actors) who inspire you?

 

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Reese Witherspoon inspires me because she produces her own shows and gives opportunities to women in a male-oriented industry. I identify with it, and I hope I can be an inspiration and a bridge for other latinas to pursue their dreams and go after them. Young actresses like Ana de Armas, Natalie Portman, Jennifer Lawrence and Zendaya will always be a reference. And institutions like Meryl Streep, Viola Davis and Nicole Kidman always amaze me and inspire me.

 

Your/your movie's website, social media, whatever else?

 

rumbalovemovie.com

Instagram: @rumbalove

 

My personal Instagram: @zairmontes

 

Thanks for the interview!

 

THANK YOUUUU!!!!!

 

© by Mike Haberfelner


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