What It Was

DIRECTOR: Daniel Armando

Expected to attend: Writer/Director Daniel Armando, Cinematographer Ryan Balas, Composer Sean Balas, Lead Actors Deirdre Herlihy and Arlene Chico-Lugo (attending second screening), and Executive Producer Dane Joseph

Taking a break from her high-flying career, Adina, a successful Latina starlet, (the stunning Arlene Chico-Lugo) takes refuge from Hollywood and the collapse of her marriage, at her ex-girlfriend Toni’s modest Brooklyn flat. While the movie star becomes the subject of curiosity among Toni’s friends, Adina is inspired to do some soul searching. In the here and now, she has choices to make: go back to her comfortable but arid old life, rekindle her relationship with old flame Toni, or maybe start something new with sexy butch body artist Hilary (Melissa Navia). But the return to her native New York also occasions a look back at the journey that has brought her to this crossroads: her risk-taking youth where she imperiled body and soul to be true to herself, and early friendships with people like Toni that helped her break free of her troubled past.

Writer-director Daniel Armando makes an impressive feature debut with this drama that is part romance, part character study, and part memory play. Lyrical and languorous, What It Was unfolds like a dream as Adina’s memories leave her reeling, trapping her in the past, while smoldering sensual encounters with Toni and Hilary bring her back to an uncertain present. Chico-Lugo is both vulnerable and strong in an affecting performance as a woman whose life is on hold. Having discovered the hollowness of riches and fame without a solid foundation, she must confront her past and sort out her present if she is to have a brighter future.

— Pam Grady

This film is eligible for the Frameline38 Wells Fargo First Feature Award.

AT&T Audience Award Text Voting Code: F142

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