Faces of Queens: Cesar Valderama
Cesar, in his own words: I am a 28-year-old Peruvian man who has lived his whole life in Astoria, Queens, and I am an openly fluid man. I bartend at an old famous dive bar called Subway Inn, and I serve at a Comedy Club in Hell's Kitchen. Ever since as a little kid, I have always wanted to act because that is where I always felt my truest, pure sense of self. It was where I was able to discover who I am as a person and where I can express myself because often, I would feel very misunderstood. I would get picked on for being different and weird, yet in the acting space, I felt as if in there it was embraced. Since then, I haven't looked back and decided this is what I want to do for the rest of my life. I am now constantly trying to write and direct my own projects to showcase myself out there as a professional actor, but most importantly, to create a difference by allowing more people of color and minority groups to be represented out there. About the project - This is the first feature film I wrote, produced, directed, and starred in. It is written in English and Spanish, so it is a bilingual film, and the film is about my ex-boyfriend who was in the closet. I wrote this during the start of the pandemic. I had just recently gotten dumped by my boyfriend at the time, who I was deeply in love with, and then faced a near-death experience while catching covid as well. The pandemic was hard times, and I was stuck at home, where I would constantly hear arguments from my parents and sibling as well. I felt in such a dark, depressive state of mind, and I felt through writing I was able to therapeutically express all my thoughts and feelings. However, instead of a diary format, I wrote it as a script. Once I finished it, it was never meant to be seen or heard from anyone, or if shown, it would be sometime in the far future, but then I realized that life is very short. That I may never be able to have this chance to show this piece in the future and that I shouldn't let fear keep me from expressing my work. The film really talks about how you shouldn't hold on to the past because sometimes it will stop you from growing and seeing clearly. Sometimes, love isn't enough to hold a relationship, and both partners must invest time and commitment to each other through all the good and bad times. What really makes this project special is seeing all the diversity in the cast and crew. So many people of color (particularly the Latino community) were well represented throughout this film, as well as other minority groups such as the disabled (we have one mute actor) and the LGBTQ+. Creating this film has inspired many people on set not only to create their own work but to further the mission of having all types of representation and creating opportunities for others to excel.