"I've directed about 20 features and this has been one of my toughest projects"
Being a filmmaker is and never will be easy. But then, talented filmmakers Israel Rios and Luis Antonio Rodriguez prove that when you're up for the challenge, dreams do come true. Read the following interview to find out how Rios and Rodriguez created the superb Border Cartel movie and won Best Picture at Festigious.
Luis, tell us about your background. How did you become a filmmaker?
I started at age 12 when my parents bought me a VHS camera. I always wanted to tell stories , but I am not very good at sitting down and telling them. So I grabbed my camera and started making short films. My actors were my sisters, brothers, friends and a puppy we had. I directed my first short and edited on two VCR's. I think I still have that short. I'm very passionate of what I film because I want as many people to watch my films. I want for them to voice their opinion so I can keep growing as a filmmaker. Watching Robert Zemeckis and Steven Spielberg direct. Their work is so impressive.
Israel, you started your filmmaking career out of coincidence at the age of 42. What made you try out this route?
It really was a coincidence a Mexican filmmaker went to my house and I asked to be an extra on the film as a gunman. I got so intrigued about my experiences when I was a homicide investigator that I decided to make my own films.
Can you share a bit about how it all started? How did you two get to know each other, and is this the first project you're collaborating on?
Yes, it's our first collaboration together. Israel got in contact with me and told me he had a great story that could be a film. As you can see we worked very good together.
What was your casting process like?
I worked closely with my casting director and told her what each character should look like.
Can you share a bit about the experience of working with actor Jorge A. Jimenez (Narcos)?
Yes, he is a very committed actor. Jorge has that natural talent for performing and entertaining. I would like to work with him again.
Luis, you have directed many films in the past. What was the most difficult challenge while directing this one?
Every production is different and each has its degree of difficulty. I have directed around 20 features and this has been one of my toughest projects. What made it so challenging was that we had so many actors on set.
Which scene was the most enjoyable to shoot?
The scene where Israel plays Stefany, the transvestite.
Luis, you also served as the editor of the project and did a wonderful job. Do you normally edit your directorial projects?
Yes. I edit all the movies I direct. I think its the fastest way to shoot a film. When I am directing I am already editing the movie in my head. In post I know where all the scenes are at. I know exactly what I have and don't have.
What is your favorite scene in the movie?
The Martini shot. It's the very last frame of the film.
Border Cartel won Best Picture, Best Drama, Best Actor and Best Original Story at Festigious. How do you feel about your success so far?
It's only the beginning, stepping stone of whats ahead.
Many filmmakers struggle to distribute their films. Can you share how did you approach distribution?
It's very tough because so many films are made each year. There is a lot of competition out there. One needs to make as many shorts as possible before shooting a feature. With experience you will make a good feature and that will make a bit easier for distributors to take a look at your film.
What is the best advice you've been given throughout your career?
Never give up! Being a filmmaker is and never will be easy.
Tell us about your next projects.
We have two more features coming out this year, Flakka 666, a zombie flick, Texas Railroad Killer and Bloody Lipstick which is in pre-production.
Is there anything you wish to add?
Hope you guys have a chance to watch and enjoy BORDER CARTEL.