IVANA DE MARIA
Founder + CEO + Storyteller
I was born in California, raised in Mexico City and educated in Switzerland. As a fan of the arts and always eager to learn about different cultures, I am fluent in Spanish, English, French, Italian, and am slowly but surely attempting to speak Russian.
After spending three years at Institut Le Rosey in Switzerland I applied to college with the dream of pursuing a double concentration in finance and acting. As I was repeatedly told: "this was not a thing", and there was no institution that allowed a student to pursue both degrees simultaneously.
In hopes of proving to myself that I could pursue both career paths at the same time I moved to New york where I was working at Merrill Lynch Private Banking during the day while also attending Stella Adler Acting School at nights. After 6 months I was unfortunately convinced that it was indeed NOT possible to pursue both at the same time without risking a heart attack. However, I also learned that although I absolutely loved the financial side of life, I had no interest in working in a financial institution. I wanted to pursue a financial education for a lifetime of acting.
In January 2011 I moved to Boston, MA where I completed a Bachelors Degree in Business Administration with concentrations in Finance and Law at Boston University. However, the plan was clear, the day after my graduation I was moving to Los Angeles and pursuing acting full time.
Upon my arrival in Los Angeles back in 2014, I had no idea how to even begin to begin my acting career. My incredible and inspiring brothers' advice was to "make a short film", which I did. After reconnecting with a high school friend who turns out was also an amazing producer, we co-wrote and produced SWITCH HITTER (Film available upon request), which I also acted in. The film was a great success and the best film school I could've asked for.
Soon after the completion of the short film, as I was deep into the post-production depression phase of filmmaking, I came up with a new idea for a short film. I tried hard to forget about it, mostly because short films are passion projects with no economic return, and I had no more funding to spend on this. However, it was impossible to let go. I called my producing partner and her talented director husband and SO began the development of my 2nd short film SOLILOQUY ( film available upon request). After asking for many favors and finding incredibly talented people who were willing to work on this simply for their passion for film and their interest in the story, we were able to shoot this short film in one single 26-hour day shoot (including 10 hours of makeup prosthetics required for aging me to 80 years old). The film was another great success and won awards including "Best Short Film" in the South of France.
These two experiences CHANGED my life. I am currently producing and starring in multiple new projects, many in partnership with Two Hands Productions and Lemon Films.
I fell madly IN LOVE with filmmaking. ALL of filmmaking. I quickly realized that I wanted to be a part of the script development, producing, acting, and editing. ALL OF IT. In my mind it all came as a package, one also known as STORYTELLING.
Today I write, I produce and I act. I am a STORYTELLER.
Founder + Storyteller
I was born on October 10, 1976 in Mexico City, however I grew up living between USA and Mexico my entire life. After studying film in the University of San Diego I founded a production company called LEMON FILMS with my best friend and brother as my partner. When we first started we were led purely by our passion for film. We felt it was our obligation to reintroduce Mexico to its long lost iconic film industry.
The first film we produced through the company, Matando Cabos, was born from this need of telling those stories that were not being told in Mexico at the time. Those stories that were considered somewhat "taboo". This film was a Sundance Film Festival selection in 2005 and was the beginning of a beautiful adventure. The company continued to grow and as did we. Every single project we took on made me grow professionally as a filmmaker, and the story that project told made me grow as a human being. The more stories we were able to put on screens, the more our perspectives were able to expand and thus the better people we became.
For the past 15 or so years of my life I have been dedicating myself to giving a voice to the stories of Mexico that so desperately need to be heard. To get to do this along side my brother is just the cherry on top of this exciting journey.
Today, I am a father; a film, television and theater producer; and a motivational speaker. I am a storyteller.