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GRRLTalk: Issa Lopez
It's another edition of GRRLTalk, where we sit down with some favorite ladies to learn all about their relationship to fandom. Today, let's get to know writer and director Issa López, whose fantasy/horror film Tigers Are Not Afraid, which recently won Best Foreign Language Movie at the Fangoria Chainsaw Awards, is currently available to stream on Shudder and will release to DVD and Blu-ray Steelbook on May 5.
Name: Issa López, fillmaker
What are you currently FANGRRLing over?
Tales From the Loop. It is gorgeous to look at; it feels like a riff on a Russian sci-fi novella I loved when I was a kid — Roadside Picnic, about abandoned extraterrestrial objects whose real purpose was a mystery, but they disrupted human existence. Like trash we leave behind after a picnic, affecting natural life behind us. It also has this sadness to it, this sweet melancholy that I'm very attracted to.
What was your first fandom?
I was positively obsessed with Indiana Jones. I will argue it is fantasy all the way, sorry. Ark of Covenant? Indian curses? It ran so deep into who I am that I actually went to archeology school before realizing cinema was my life.
When you were a kid, what was your most prized geek possession? Do you still have it?
I had (and still have) a statuette of Neil Gaiman's Sandman. It's from Sandman 50, the one where he takes Baghdad and turns it into a dream city, leaving behind the war-torn Baghdad we see now — or saw in the '90s — in the news.
Who was most instrumental in getting you into geek culture?
A miserable, motherless, bullied life. I was different, clumsy, wore thick glasses, and loved movies, comics, books. My defense was to go deeper into all of it.
What are you geek-curious about?
I need to get into The Last of Us. I really, really need to. But I also need to write.
Do you collect nerdy stuff? If so, what?
Comics. I try to not do it anymore. I travel too much, and the bulk of my collection is in Mexico, in my home. But I still fall for them from time to time.
Do you cosplay? Follow up: If yes, what's your favorite that you've ever done? If not, what would you dress as?
Not now. I did it as a kid, and it didn't have a name. And it was a very poor version of it. I suspect part of why I make movies is to have proper costumes and props, not cardboard sh*tty sh*t. I think I would make a pretty badass Cruella DeVille now.
What's something geeky that you will always spend money on?
Comics. As I said, trying to stop. But not quite successful.
If you could do a TED Talk on anything fandom-related, what would it be and why?
Horror as a tool to talk about the real horrors of the world. Horror as means to look at what scares us and see the human side of it.
What's one moment in nerd history you'll never get over?
I was never a Harry Potter fan — I don't dislike it, it was just not my generation — but the glorious thing of seeing children reading fat books everywhere, it was so wonderful and touching and filled me with hope.
If a studio came to you and said they would adapt anything you wanted, what would it be and why?
I have so many stories I need to tell, my own mythologies to put out there. I'm working on them right now. Let's hope they make their own tiny cults in time!