The Story of Who We Are: Gregory Nava Helps Celebrate Selena’s 50th Birthday | Interviews

Is that available on a streaming service?

It isn’t. It’s available on DVD, but we’re looking into seeing if we can get it streamed and get some focus on it because it’s a very important film, I think. It’s one that I’ve very proud of and has had a tremendous impact, actually, within its own world. 

How has “Selena” impacted you personally? When someone finds out that you directed “Selena,” what reaction do you get?

It’s unbelievable. I’ll tell you a story. I was at a weight loss spa, and I was on a treadmill, and there was a guy next to me on a treadmill. He was a good ol’ boy from Texas, an older guy, and we were doing the treadmill together, and he’s asking me what I do—I get this question all the time—and I said, “Well, I’m a filmmaker.” He goes, “Oh really? Have you made any movies that I might’ve heard of?” And I thought, ‘I hate getting that question,’ but I said, “Well, I’ve made a few things,” and he said, “Tell me what.” And I said, “Well, I made a movie in Texas.” He goes, “Really? What was it?” And I thought, ‘Oh god, this guy is a good ol’ boy, and ‘Selena’ is about the Tejano community. The relationship between the Tejano community and the Texas community is problematic at best.” Anyway, so I said, “‘Selena.’” And he says, “‘Selena’? That’s my favorite movie! That’s the greatest movie about Texas ever made!” And from that point on, this guy was all over me. He wouldn’t leave me alone. He was buying me everything he could get. He was treating me to everything you could imagine. We snuck out one night for a steak dinner with the greatest bottle of wine, and he wanted to pay for everything, because I made “Selena” and he loved “Selena.”

I’ve gotten that response from the Latino community—from Tejanos and Chicano. They love the movie, and when they find out I made it, oh my God, you couldn’t imagine it. But what amazes me is everybody loves that movie. I’ll meet some blonde shopkeeper at a store in Orange County, and boy, when she found out I made “Selena,” she went crazy. She said she saw it as a little girl, and she identified with Selena. All these women identified with Selena, and so many men and women relate to the father-daughter relationship. Women’s relationship with their fathers is such an important part of their lives, and they tell me that movie “Selena” meant more to them because of her relationship with her dad.

Nick James, who was the editor of Sight and Sound magazine, saw “Selena” at a film festival, and he came up to me afterwards and said, “It’s not my kind of movie, but I cried. I have a daughter, and I’ve gotta tell you, it made me cry.” And I thought, ‘It touches people because it reaches a deep human level. That’s what I wanted to capture. I really wanted to capture Selena’s spirit in that film, and that’s what we focused on in doing it. It’s such a tragic event, and there is no way that you can bring Selena back, but I wanted to do everything I could to try to bring something positive to this horrific tragedy.



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