Filmmaker Gutiérrez needs sex & wants it known

NK Gutiérrez

Multi-talented artist, NK Gutiérrez, began her journey as a screenwriter just four years ago when she wrote her first short film “The Last New Year.”

Now its Chicago premiere screens Aug. 19 at Gene Siskel Center’s 22nd Black Harvest Film Festival.

The raunchy comedy, with its in-your-face sex talk, tells the story of Alyssa (played by Gutiérrez) who has not gotten laid in three years. With the support of her bestie, Shayna (Adrienne Walker), Alyssa embarks on a journey to end her dry spell and have an amazing bedroom romp before the clock strikes midnight on New Year’s Eve.

Although comedic at its core, it’s a very personal and serious topic for the writer, actor, director and EP.

“There are so many ‘bro’ movies out there with their locker room talk and it’s widely accepted that guys have open and frank discussions about sex. I wanted to do the same for female audiences. We’re no different than the guys. We crave sex just as much. But we don’t want to be perceived as sluts. We just want that special connection,” says the bubbly Gutiérrez.

Director Natasha Parker“I wanted to share my personal story with women that it’s okay to want sex. It’s okay to talk about wanting sex in frank, honest terms. Especially for brown and black women.”

Thanks to Amy Schumer, Melissa McCarthy and Lena Dunham there’s been a growing number of R-rated comedies starring women. But what inspired Gutiérrez most was the lack of seeing a diverse array of women in these films.

“I’m Afro-Latina. I’ve been told I’m not ‘black’ enough for a role. Or I’m ‘too fat.’ Or I’m just not ‘fuckable.’ I wanted to give women who don’t quite fit that stereotype of beauty a voice, to give them situations in which they could see themselves,” she explains.

With the economy down and her hours as a make-up artist cut substantially, NK sat down to write “The Last New Year” over Christmas break. By early January, she had enlisted her director friend, Natasha Parker, DGA/Chicago’s first and only black female location manager.

Cameras were up and running by Mother’s Day. DP was Joe “Jody Williams, Alaric Martin edited. Music by Obi “Obisoulstar” Uwakwe.

Cast includes Khalil Lesaldo, Ken Schaffer, Norman Sands, Lacey Whitaker, Walker, Uwake and Gutiérrez.

The work has paid off substantially for Gutiérrez and her team. The film has played to packed theaters at Charlotte Black Film Festival, Cinema on the Bayou and the popular Martha’s Vineyard African American Film Festival in addition to the upcoming Black Harvest.

Gutiérrez believes that it’s the film’s universal themes that have led to its success. “I’m proud that the film has sparked multiple conversations among women. Teens to early 70s. We all share the common bond of having bad dates and just wanting one good one.”

“The Last New Year” will screen in the “Love, African American Style” short block at the Gene Siskel Center at 6 p.m. A reception follows.

Colin Costello, who still calls Chicago, “home,” is a working screenwriter whose credits include the Emmy-nominated “Moochie Kalala Detective’s Club” and the 2016 family film, “Traveling Without Moving.” Contact him at colin@colincostello.com.

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