"Focus on the positive, every dark time has a silver lining"
She is probably one of the most versatile actors out there, she's an award-magnet (her latest film The Lurking Man recently won 7 (!) awards at the Los Angeles Film Awards), she was the first actress to become an Actors Awards winner with two different films, and it is impossible not to LOVE her!
From the very first moment you meet Maritza Brikisak, the world seems a little bit brighter. With an incredible energy and positive attitude for life, Maritza quickly makes everyone around her feel better.
We asked Maritza to join us for an interview, and find out her secret...
Maritza Brikisak. Photo by Robin Emtage
Good morning Maritza, how have you been? Any updates on your pre production?
YES! Pre production for “The Sinful Man” is still going strong. We have completed a solid Script. I’ve already submitted it to screenplay Festivals to give it a fighting chance. We have already secured $50K and are reaching out to interested parties for similar amounts.
Tell us about your history with storytelling. How did the Chile-born girl end up working as an actress in the heart of the entertainment industry (Los Angeles, California)?
Being a daydreamer comes natural to me. Growing up in South America (Chile, Venezuela), we had a family tradition: ‘Dinner and a Movie’ every Saturday. Being involved in the arts wasn’t encouraged growing up so I was mostly an observer, making it easy for me to fall in love with everything about films and filmmaking. My parents’ strong focus on education took me to Canada, once I was done University, the ‘acting bug’ came calling again, this time as a suggestion of my then boyfriend (now husband) who suggested I take an acting class as he noticed I craved attention. His job gave us the chance to travel, so I was able to continue my training in England, then back to the USA and we moved to northern California (San Franciso). The bulk of the work is in Los Angeles, so it was a natural progression to move here. It wasn’t until I moved to Los Angeles, that my career really started taking shape and my IMDB started to grow. Here in LA, the industry understands the value of the database, not so much overseas or even northern California. I have at least 15 more films that will never pop up in the database because those filmmakers don’t believe in it.
What do you like the most about being an actor? In other words, why do you do it?
I had no idea what I wanted to be when I grew up, I wanted to do everything, I couldn’t pick one career over another. I remember and still am; jealous of those people who knew they wanted to be a doctor, or a lawyer, etc at such a young age. Once I awakened my love for acting, my life changed overnight. I didn’t have to choose anymore, I can be anything. I love disappearing into the roles, I enjoy playing different characters. Being an actor gives me permission to explore. I’ve been a professor, forensics doctor, lawyer, lady of the night, nun, shaman, maid, various monsters, many moms, wives and grammas.
On the set of "The Wretched"
With over 70 credits as an actress and countless awards, you are very busy and in demand! You performed so many roles... From The Young and The Restless to Cloudy With a Chance of Sunshine and The Cursed Man... In your opinion, what was the most interesting character you portrayed in a film or a show so far?
Of all the roles I’ve played, the most interesting to me was the role of ‘Detective Kobane’ in the film ‘This Love’ by Michael Gonzalez. ‘Kobane’ was a professional, a woman in control and at the same time vulnerable with a painful secret, she was heartbroken. She was in pursuit of a serial killer, not to capture him but to have him kill her too. A very complex role. We filmed this movie before the Internet was popular, VHS times, maybe one day it will surface.
Did you ever say "NO" to a gig? If so, why?
I only submit to roles I want to play so there haven’t been many times I’ve said ‘no’. I like being on set, I only recently had to pass being considered for roles due to availability. I am pursuing my Festival run for ‘The lurking Man’ full force and my schedule is not consistent.
At Beaufort International Film Festival
When reading a new script, what impresses you the most, usually? What kind of details do you expect to learn about your character, or in general?
I want my character to bring something to the story, I like the roles I play to be central and/or significant to the story.
Recently, you were honored at the Los Angeles Film Awards and at The Actors Awards for The Lurking Man (where you portray Cailean / Orthon), and for The Cursed Man (where you portray Death / Alister's Mom). What was your favorite scene to work on in each movie, and why?
In The Lurking Man
For ‘The Lurking Man’, my favorite scene to work on was the ending, because ‘Cailean’ is finally in control and accepts Death’s offer on her terms.
In The Cursed Man
For ‘The Cursed Man’, filming the mom scenes where my favorite, playing someone despicable is a challenge and if believable it is very satisfying.
Can you talk about the experience of co-writing the screenplay of The Lurking Man with Keith Rommel? What did you like about this collaboration? Were there things you disagreed about? If so, how did you solve those?
I connected with Keith while working on the film ‘The Cursed Man’. He and Jim Perry wrote that script. I was familiar with Keith’s style when he reached out to me with a working script of ‘The Lurking Man’. We worked for months tailoring ‘Cailean’ to myself and her reality to Los Angeles. Keith was familiar with the workings of screenplay vs a novel because of working with Jim. He knew some elements may not translate well into film or budget. I believe because I was very respectful of the core storyline, when I made a suggestion, there was not much disagreement. For example, Keith is from the East Coast, so in ‘Cailean’s’ world there is snow, to keep our budget conservative, we don’t have that in the film.
You also edited this film. Kudos on that! Is there a big difference between Maritza the actor, Maritza the producer and Maritza the editor? Do they think alike? Do they sometimes disagree with each other..?
It’s interesting how you can separate yourself from each job. When I am editing I do not see ‘me’, I see the character. I know many actors have a hard time watching themselves, I think since I was an editor before I was an actress, my adaptation was smoother. When being Producer, I do notice I get more serious and there is a clear sense of detachment. Yes, they were moments when a scene wasn’t working. My process went something like this: I would make the mental change of the ‘hat’ I needed to wear: as an actress I would focus in the emotional impact; as a producer sometimes it meant focusing on my costar; as an editor continuity was the decisive factor.
You are currently in pre-production for your next movie, The Sinful Man. You and Felix Martiz (the director) previously collaborated before. What sparked the current collaboration?
I like Keith’s stories and his writing, I like Felix’s style. ‘The Sinful Man’ seemed like a natural choice for a joint effort, making it a third with Keith and a fourth with Felix.
Also, can you share a bit more about your upcoming projects?
I have a few.
‘True Passages’ by Kim Marie a wonderful project aimed to bring awareness to the Foster Children program. ‘The Sweet Spot’ a web series by Kimberly Bautista about Latinx Millennials. ‘Kiko’ by Felix Martiz explores immigration themes like deportation; ‘Janek/Bastard’ (pictured) by Muriel Naim explores the intricate relationship between a Christian and a Jewish boy in 1942 Poland.
Lastly, what is your secret - where does this all positive, beautiful amazing energy come from?
Haha, thank you, earlier in my career I was presented with the choice of choosing family or pursuing acting full time. A hard choice to make in a youth obsessed industry. Since acting was something I was going to do for the rest of my life and I didn’t have a deadline, I chose love and family. Now 20 years later, I have the strongest supporter and best friend (my husband) by my side and my daughter I strive to be a role model for.
As 'Mrs Dobbs' from the film 'Happy Pills'
Is there anything you'd like to add?
Don’t be afraid to say ‘no’. Trust your instincts. And focus on the positive, every dark time, bad experience, has a silver lining. Anything and everything about me is here: www.maritzaweb.com, feel free to reach out, I’ve lived in 3 continents, had 14 different addresses and always the same email!