Boni Mata

Boni Mata is an up-and-coming writer and director based in Los Angeles. We met Boni at the steps of her home in Echo Park, the LA summer was in full swing – hoping a bit of mist from the reservoir fountain would sweep up the hills and cool us down. Much like taming wild horses, becoming a film director only comes to fruition through a mix of determination, careful footing, and fate. When we finally sat down with Boni the conversation was as brilliant as the sun. We talked about the history of Old Hollywood, the phasing out of massive sets, studying literature instead of film, and the intricacies of trying to make it as a young director in a town stagnated by two union strikes. What was clear in our time together was the fearlessness of being wrong. We ended up spending our time having cocktails, accompanying her to the horse stables she frequents, allowing the world to go by, and most importantly having Boni direct the day.

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As a director you have to assume command. It is the last dictatorial position. What is that role specifically like for you?

I think directors, especially dude directors have this idea that the role has to be very fear based. A role where you have to be angry on set, you have to be super authoritative otherwise you come off as indecisive. I think in actuality all you have to do is just be able to make decisions quickly, and know exactly what you want and know how to communicate your vision, then it's just easy flowing. Shit can really hit the fan and you have to be able to rock with it a little bit.

It’s interesting to see how much the director can set the tone good or bad.

The director is by far the tone setter for everything. I think people forget that this business is actually really fun and we're really lucky to do it. We're not in tech. We're not in the medical field. This is not a matter of life and death, even though it can feel like it, we're making entertainment. So then, let's have fun.

How do you think that was like learning curve wise? Was there a moment you realized, “Oh, shit, everyone's kind of looking at me to guide this,” or was that always sort of part of the job?

Sometimes I’ll have an existential crisis, often actually, maybe even before every shoot that I do, I think “Am I even necessary? If I didn't show up today, could they do it without me?” But obviously that's just the anxiety of being a creative or an artist. I think the director's role is super necessary and even if it's just reassuring everyone else they’re doing good, that matters. 

So then what was the process of "Bitches," your latest film?

My friend Emma Stern and I were having martinis one day and she had this thought, ”We should make a movie about furries.” She was like, ''I just want to transform into an animal.'' I was like, “Okay, we can work with this. Yeah I kind of get that, I'm obsessed with dogs.” Then somehow we got on the topic of Taco Bell. We were thinking, “Okay, what do women like?” Women like Taco Bell and they like dogs. So I thought, “Let's make a dark comedy kind of slash horror, about girls that eat too much Taco Bell, in a world where Taco Bell is riddled with dog meat.” Which was a conspiracy that was going on at the time. That week I wrote the script. Two weeks later, we were shooting.

How did “Bitches” get made?

A lot of like groveling and just acting slutty.