Marlene Forte Makes Directorial Debut With The Short Film “Familia”
By Mona Elyafi


Marlene Forte is one of those rare talents whose dedication continues to set a standard in Hollywood. Named one of Hispanic Lifestyle’s 2017 Latinas of Influence, Forte is now readying to step behind the camera and direct her first film ever, the short entitled “Familia”, shedding light on what it’s like to be transgender in the Latino community. Familia is a love story centered around a Dominican Transgender woman, whose kindness is taken advantage of by those she opens her heart to – including her married lover and immediate family.


While asking the questions: where do you find love? And how does one define “family”, Familia also zooms in on the transgender issue in a very macho Latin culture. Familia stars Kase Pena who wrote the script loosely based on her own real life experience, and stars David Zayas famously known for his role as Lt Angel Batista in the HBO hit drama series Dexter.

Forte will step behind the camera this summer to make her directorial debut on this short – a project that is very close to her heart.

This is not the first time Marlene Forte is breaking barriers.

She continues to be an inspiring female daredevil and trailblazing local voice in her community.

With each character and role she takes on, Marlene Forte is refining a formula of proving Hollywood wrong by continually breaking through Hollywood’s stereotypes when it comes to older women and carving a niche for the Latino community by tearing down the walls of “ethnic minorities”.

She currently co-stars on Fox’s drama series “APB”, NBC’s “Superstore” opposite America Ferrera, as well as Netflix’s much talked about “Altered Carbon”. These are three top shows where the # 2 on the cast list are young Latina actresses, and Forte plays their mother in all three series.

As we continue to fight diversity and gender equality this says a lot about where we’re moving, not just on the small screen but in real life too.

After Decades in the industry, Forte is one of those familiar faces to which you’d have trouble putting the name. Yet you’ve seen here everywhere simply because she’s played them all. In fact, her work reads like the ultimate directory of television & film.

Of course, her recurring role in TNT’s re-launched “Dallas” playing Carmen Ramos, her role in “The Fosters”, and her character Celia Flores in AMC’s “Fear of the Walking Dead” have made her even more recognizable.

On the movie side, she played the transporter chief in the 2009 JJ Abrams’ “Star Trek” reboot and the unforgettable Pilar Brown in “Our Song” opposite Kerry Washington (“Scandal”). Marlene Forte’s Hollywood success story unfolds like a rags-to-riches movie script – it is a story that not only anyone can relate to, but also feel inspired from.

When Marlene turned 30, she decided to become an actress. That’s a late start for most occupations; in Hollywood it’s nearly unheard of. But for Cuban born girl named for one of Tinseltown’s brightest stars (Marlene Dietrich) perhaps the journey was predestined.

Forte opened and ran a video store for six years as sort of an “intense film education,” then she sold the place, took classes at The Lee Strasberg Theatre and snagged an adjunct spot at The Lab, where she shadowed such actors as Sam Rockwell and Philip Seymour Hoffman.

And as the saying goes, the rest is history.

Today Marlene Forte most definitely provides a shinning example of how women can “make it” in Hollywood on their own terms.