Eliana Pipes Nails

“¡NAILS!” by Eliana Pipes has one of the most imaginative loglines we’ve heard: “When Catalina develops a crush on a girl in her Quinceañera court, her fingernails begin to grow at a superhuman pace — a blessing in Black and Latina beauty culture, but a curse for a lesbian (at first glance).” The film is one the highlights of a recent NewFilmmakers Los Angeles celebration of InFocus: Female Cinema.

The animated film is a “whimsical, uplifting, intersectional coming of age story” with — spoiler alert — a happy ending, as Pipes tells NFMLA interviewer Danny DeLillo.

Eliana Pipes is a playwright, filmmaker, and recipient of the Academy Gold Fellowship through the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. Her play Dream Hou$e was recently published by Concord Samuel French following a world premiere co-production at Alliance Theater, Long Wharf Theater, and the Baltimore Center Stage.

Represented at WME and Anonymous Content Management, she’s been awarded the Harold & Mimi Steinberg Award, Leah Ryan Fund Prize for Emerging Women Writers, National Latinx Playwright Award, WAVE Grant through Wavelength Productions, and the Outfest x Colin Higgins Foundation Youth Filmmaker Award. You can follow her on Twitter or Instagram at @elianapipes.

Elian Pipes on “¡NAILS!”

“¡NAILS!” was originally a 90-minute stage play, “and then I got the opportunity to pitch it as a short film,” Pipes explains in the interview.

“So then I adapted it from that 90-minute [play] to a 15-minute live-action short, and then the pandemic rolled around and interrupted the production process for that live-action short, and it turned into a five-minute, no-dialogue animation. So it was a lot of transformation.”

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The final version is the core of the story, Pipes says.

“There are things that I learned in the 90-minute version that really served me in the 15-minute version and that made the five-minute version work the way that it does.”

Watch the NFMLA interview with Eliana Pipes, writer and director of “¡NAILS!”:

NFMLA showcases films by filmmakers of all backgrounds throughout the year in addition to its special InFocus programming, which celebrates diversity, inclusion, and region. All filmmakers are welcome and encouraged to submit their projects which will be considered for all upcoming NFMLA Festivals, regardless of the InFocus programming. 

Main image: “¡NAILS!” by Eliana Pipes