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AN INTERVIEW WITH Brandon Cela, DIRECTOR
As a filmmaker, please introduce yourself.
Hi! My name is Brandon Cela and I have been working in film and video for six years now. I am the writer/director for the film "Just a Kiss".
Why you became a filmmaker as director ?
For me, it's the best way to tell the stories I want to tell. I've heard actors talk about what stories they want to tell
and how they want to go about it. On my end, I feel like writing and directing is the only real way because you have the most control over your work
and what you're trying to do. As far as why I got into filmmaking specifically, it was to tell stories. I remember falling in love with
Star Wars: Episode III - Revenge of the Sith and thinking that I wanted to do that. As the years have gone on,
I've expanded my palette and wanted to try more and do more in the medium.
So, that's what it really boils down to. Expanding the medium.
Give some more information about yourself and the films you have made so far, about your experience?
I started making short films in high school at Doral Performing Arts and Entertainment Academy.
Some cool ones, some really crappy ones. "Episode 2.1" is probably my favorite because I got to do a lightsaber fight.
I went to college at Florida Atlantic University and graduated with my Film, Video and New Media degree.
There, I worked at the school TV station called Owl TV and worked a lot there. For classes, I did more short films and some
documentaries here and there. When I graduated, I did some internships and got some jobs from a bunch of different places all around Miami.
I got a gig for a film called "Puffing Iron", which is in post-production, where I was an AC/steadicam operator. Throughout my work in film,
I have tried my best to cultivate my voice and I think "Just a Kiss" is the closest thing to that, so far.
I have continued to sharpen my technical skills, tweaked my comedy and blended styles using
the medium of my films. I hope people can see that, when they go through my work.
What are the films or people that had impacts on you and deeply inspired you to become a filmmaker?
Too many to keep count. The first film that really gripped me was "Star Wars: Episode III - Revenge of the Sith".
It was the film that made me want to tell stories. After that, there have been so many films to come into my life that it would take too long.
They all inspire me in different ways but the main thing I take away from watching them is just how each of them can exist; that
if a film is good enough or specific to an audience or an issue, it will find its audience. As far as people go, my parents are first and foremost in terms of people
who inspire me. They keep me focused and driven to make it in this industry and they help me out when I'm down. As far as directors go,
you have the usuals (Spielberg, Scorsese, Tarantino), a few less-mainstream ones (Kubrick, Fincher, Lynch) and some that really work for me
(S. Craig Zahler, Zucker-Abrahams-Zucker and Mel Brooks).
You have made your film "Just A Kiss" which got official selection in the
"American Golden Picture International Film Festival".
As a filmmaker, why you decided to make it?
I wanted to tell a funny and quaint story about young Hispanics in Miami. The film is specific but also universal, in terms of its human connection
and the comedy. Comedy is one of those things that I have always been attracted to in film, so I wanted to continue pursuing
that aspect of my work. In this case, however, I really wanted to sharpen my skills and figure out how to make a more manageable
and universal story. I hope I achieved that with this film.
What were some of the challenges you faced in making this specific film?
Honestly, arranging the filming. The filming, itself, went by rather smoothly. I was able to edit and re-edit the piece with no real problems.
The pre-production of "Just a Kiss" and actually getting it off the ground was the most challenging part. I tend to hold on to my ideas and not explore them because of the fear that they will get worse or I won't be able to do anything with them. In reality, these ideas are just ideas.
They aren't completed works; they are meant to be explored, taken apart, expanded, etc.
Once I got past that and once we got everyone together, it was a piece of cake.
Let us more about your experience in this film?
I have tried to gain as much experience as I can throughout my career. I have been on large sets as a PA for shows like
"Secret Celebrity Renovation" and movies like "The Day the Music Died". I have worked on smaller sets in bigger roles like the aforementioned
"Puffing Iron" and pieces for Miami-Dade County and private companies, as well.
What was it like to work with your team?
A blast. It was a lot of fun. Challenging, at times. We were having such a good time filming that we had to catch ourselves because
we were going to go overtime. Thankfully, we really got a good cast and crew together. I applaud the actors for their efforts in cultivating chemistry and nailing these scenes. I'm so grateful for the essential crew we had because of how they were able to problem-solve in such a short amount of time. Truly grateful.
For you what was the biggest lesson you had to learn after making this film?
Time is so important. You can only plan for so much until something happens. When it happens, you have to roll with the punches.
The best cushion for a problem is that you will have time later. For my next production, I will definitely account for factors I can't control
and give more time (in terms of days and time on set) so that we can get it done.
What keeps you inspired to continue filmmaking?
My desire to tell stories and to get a career making movies. Eventually, I want to have a family of my own.
I want to be able to provide for that family. So, I need to achieve some form of success in this business. I know it will be challenging.
I already feel the tightness around me, letting me know that
I only have so much time left to figure it out. But, I trust in myself and the people around me that it will all be fine. I just have to tell my stories.
The most important part is distributing the film. What did you do for distributing "Just A Kiss" ?
So far, we are on our festival run. As the run concludes, we will make plans for distribution. If anything, we will distribute ourselves via YouTube
or some other form of online distribution.
What is your next project?
There are a few projects floating around right now. One is the series called "Single in Miami" based on "Just a Kiss".
The series will follow the characters in the film as they go through more adventures and conflicts in their lives, in a comedic fashion.
Got some other ideas. We'll see which pops up first. Also, we need the follow in.
GOOD LUCK Brandon
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