Remarkable People 2022: Samantha Luque, SLlama Productions Founder

Remarkable can mean many things, but the one person that upholds the significance of that word would be Samantha Luque. She took it upon herself this year to shine a spotlight on Tampa Bay’s LBGTQIA+ and drag community through her film “The Heart of Ybor.”

Eyes are constantly on the drag community when it comes to the glitz and glam, but seldom do we talk about the process, the history, the struggles, the community’s work and everything else behind the scenes. She changed that with her film.

She was a one-woman, LGBTQIA+ company who put together the documentary in a matter of a months. It features multiple well-known and beloved performers from throughout the area, including Brianna Summers, Gabrielle Santi, Esme Russell, Jade Embers, Joey Brooks, Lady Fatalya and more.

I had never seen such dedication and vigor from anyone. Samantha wanted nothing other than to be able to tell the whole story of one that should be noted and celebrated. She stayed up day and night, filming and interviewing these artists, gaining a real side of the story.

The performers do so much more than their few minutes on the stage and that can get overlooked. Samantha captured the hard work that goes into each of their performances and detailed their efforts right here in Tampa Bay. Each performer highlighted has a heart of gold and were so open and excited to take part in this project.

The documentary and the entire process was inspiring! Samantha worked with their schedules and respected who they are. Their stories are not ones that could be told lightly. They hold passion and truth.

Samantha’s project with the performers landed a nomination for Best Documentary at the Gasparilla Film Festival. The crowd was packed with supporters, new faces and even the performers themselves, receiving a level of applause that was full of love and support.

None of this could have been possible without her dedication of the performers and their story. Her love for the community and her unwavering commitment to the story of Tampa’s drag scene was remarkable.

Samantha’s dedication to these communities didn’t stop there. She is now in the process of building up her film company, Sllama Productions. Their mission is to “give a voice to minority groups that have been put aside by society to not only ensure understanding, but to instill empowerment and create a ripple of change.” She’s worked with countless nonprofits to help spread awareness and community support for those in need.

It’s hard to find someone with such pure energy and motivation. If you ever need a helping hand, an ear to speak to or some hype, then she’s your girl. Samantha worked diligently this year to make each day brighter for all.

To view the full list of Watermark’s Remarkable People of 2022, click here.

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