For Monica Sorelle, her aptly-named debut feature Mountains was a labor of love, requiring a community to rise to the challenge. And that community is a major focus of this realist drama, which centers the family of a demolition worker who is forced to confront the ongoing gentrification of his Little Haiti neighborhood and the role he plays in it. As the film made its award-winning premiere at the 2023 Tribeca Film Festival, Awards Radar spoke with Sorelle about the making of Mountains and the real life inspirations behind it.
Shane Slater: Congrats on your Tribeca premiere. Tell me about the journey to get the film to this point.
Monica Sorelle: Well, it’s a very long story. I’m of Haitian descent, born in based in Miami. I went away to Orlando, Florida for undergrad for film school. And when I came back in 2014, to Miami, I noticed a change in Little Haiti, which is a neighborhood that I spent a lot of time in as a child. And it was troubling because I had known about what happened in Wynwood, which is a formerly Puerto Rican working class neighborhood. That has transformed into an arts district very rapidly and violently. And I was weary of the same thing happening to Little Haiti.