VIDEO | 06:00
Victor and Isolina

Victor and Isolina

‘Victor and Isolina’ is an animated short film featuring 3-D printed miniatures of director William D. Caballero’s bickering and boisterous Puerto Rican grandparents.

I grew up in a trailer in my Puerto Rican grandparents’ backyard in Fayetteville, N.C. Here, I had a front row seat to their quirky and oftentimes irksome interactions with one another. In 2007, my grandmother Isolina kicked my grandfather Victor out of the house for good, forcing him to move to a small apartment, about a ten-minute drive away. Ever the curious family documentarian, I picked up a camera and interviewed them during my last year of graduate school from NYU.

“Victor and Isolina” would open many doors for me and change my creative trajectory. It premiered at the 2017 Sundance Film Festival, Museum of Modern Art, and even qualified for an Academy Award. It was also instrumental in helping me receive a 2018 Guggenheim Fellowship and 2021 Creative Capital Award, and led me to move to Los Angeles to pursue a career as a Latinx filmmaker dedicated to telling the stories of marginalized communities.

This short still informs my work today. In 2021, I created “Chilly & Milly,” a short film that explores my parents’ relationship and my father’s chronic illness due to diabetes and kidney failure. The film just premiered at the 2022 Sundance Film Festival and I know it will have a promising festival journey throughout the rest of the year. In addition, as one of 10 Latinx filmmakers chosen for the LALIFF Inclusion Fellowship, I’m currently creating a comedic short film that explores my identity as a bisexual person of color.

Though my grandfather Victor passed away in 2019, I would later reflect that the “breakup” of this elderly couple (who were never married in the first place!) actually made their strange relationship somewhat stronger. This powerful example of strength through resiliency will continue to guide my work, y por eso, siempre estaré agradecido.