Julio Torres, the actor-director of the upcoming comedy film “Problemista,” couldn’t attend the Outfest screening in person, but he sent a video message to the audience. In the message, he greeted them with “Hello, fellow queers” and explained that he recorded the message before the SAG-AFTRA strike on July 14. If the strike prevented him from attending the event, the organizers were instructed to play the video.
In the video, Torres expressed his solidarity with the striking union members and explained that A24, the film’s distributor, had indefinitely postponed the planned release of “Problemista” due to the actors’ strike. The movie was originally set to be released on August 4. In “Problemista,” Torres stars alongside Oscar winner Tilda Swinton. He plays Alejandro, an immigrant from El Salvador who loses his job at a cryogenics company called Freeze Corp, which jeopardizes his chances of obtaining a green card to work in the U.S. Swinton’s character, Elizabeth, offers him employment, but working with her proves to be quite challenging.
The film had its premiere at SXSW in March and was subsequently screened at the Provincetown Film Festival and Oak Cliff Film Festival before being shown at Outfest. In his video message, Torres shared that the theme of asserting one’s humanity to corporations and the systems they uphold is close to his heart, as it aligns with the movie’s narrative.
With Torres’ thoughtful message, the audience at Outfest got a glimpse of the director’s commitment to his work and the cause of supporting fellow artists in their fight for fair treatment and recognition in the entertainment industry.
Julio Torres is best known for his work on the HBO comedic series “Los Espookys,” and “Problemista” marks his directorial debut. The film explores themes of immigration, labor rights, and the complexities of human relationships. The delay in its release due to the actors’ strike reflects the ongoing struggle for better working conditions and representation in the film industry.
Outfest, the LGBTQIA+ film festival in Los Angeles, continues to be a platform for diverse voices and stories within the queer community. By featuring “Problemista” and showcasing Torres’ video message, the festival highlights the importance of representation and inclusivity in cinema.
The actor-director’s decision to stand in solidarity with the striking union members resonates with many in the industry who advocate for fair wages, safer working conditions, and more opportunities for underrepresented groups in Hollywood.
Overall, Julio Torres’ absence at the Outfest screening didn’t dampen the enthusiasm for “Problemista.” Instead, his video message and the movie’s powerful themes left a lasting impact on the audience, reaffirming the significance of authentic storytelling and the power of cinema to inspire change.