Voices continue to raise and tell the true and beautiful story of Afro-Latina identity in the U.S. This time, it’s Afro-Latina director Jeannette Dilone’s short film “Rizo” (2020) that’s making waves.
Rizo follows an Afro-Latina actress who struggles with her hair on a tough audition day. As she navigates the Hollywood machine, she is forced to confront her own identity as a Latina actress who doesn’t quite fit the mold.
After seeing the light of day last year, “Rizo” has been recognized by multiple national and international festivals, including the Pan African Film Festival, the Santa Fe Film Festival, the Official Latino Film, and Arts Festival, and the HBO Latinx Short Film Competition.
“As a first-generation Afro-Latina actress pounding the pavement in New York, I know firsthand what it feels like to be judged, for better or worse, by your appearance,” Dilone said in her director statement. “I wrote ‘Rizo’ based on my own experiences as an actress and woman of color and was equally inspired by the stories and sentiments of close friends who have been through similar situations.”
Jeanette Dilone is a New Yorker born and raised in Upper Manhattan. Although her first passion was classical ballet, she fell in love with acting during her college years at Columbia University, where she majored in theater and psychology. Since then, her acting work has spanned television, film, theater, commercials, and new media.
Currently, Jeanette expresses her passion for other aspects of the filmmaking process. She made her directorial debut with the short film “Return,” which she also wrote, produced, and starred in. She is now focused on promoting “Rizo,” which she wrote, produced, and directed.
“I wrote this piece from the heart, and with an incredibly talented cast and crew, brought it to life on screen,” Dilone added. “I hope this film reaches the hearts and minds of people like me and anyone who has ever felt judged and left out.”