Inspired by a true story, Chi Chi is a coming of age journey in 1984 Miami and follows Ava, a naive student living under her father’s watchful eye as she meets a smooth talking wealthy man and gets swept into a world of luxury, excess, and addiction. Ultimately choosing between loyalty and self preservation.

Director’s Vision

Miami has always had a special place in my heart.
I was born there, and most of my very large extended family is still based there.

The history of the city is beautiful, gritty and complicated. In the 1980s the drug industry brought a huge influx of money which in turn led to very rapid, large-scale development. The world of partying, glitz, glam, flashy luxury is seeped into the very essence of what made the city what it is today.

There was a naivety at the time, about the legal and health consequences of drugs that allowed young people to have a false sense of invincibility. However as with anything that booms fast, there is usually a crash. The money and drugs led to an increase in violence and crime, and a police crackdown with a strong local presence of the DEA (Drug Enforcement Agency).

One thing I noticed when looking into the subject- is every film, TV show or book that details the history of cocaine in Miami tends to focus on the male-dominated business and violent side of things. However, there was this whole other side of this world in Miami that had yet to be seen or told. A collective willful ignorance of what was really going on under the surface.

It is during this time that Chi Chi takes place. The story and main character is loosely inspired by my mother and her whirlwind introduction to this strange, fast-paced lifestyle which happened during her first serious relationship with a man she later found out was involved with more than she anticipated. The story follows Ava, as she makes an attempt to step out on her own, and begins losing control. In this loss she finds her strength and is able to protect herself when the pressure is on.

I wanted to tell a story from a female perspective and show the beneficiaries of the money and effort of those involved in the drug trade and how the truth always emerges.