Writer/Director: Juan Castilo
Running Time: 9:00
For more information visit: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0421055/t
• NYU First Run Film Festival – Directing Award
• DGA West - NYU Haig P. Manoogian Screenings ("Best Films Of NYU") – Audience Award
• NYU First Run Film Festival
• Los Angeles Film Festival
• Urbanworld Film Festival
• New York International Latino Film Festival
On a sweltering summer day in Washington Heights, a boy and an elderly woman collide: the boy, from the arriving Dominican enclave; the woman, from the old guard. Growing tense moment by moment, their brief encounter culminates in an explosion-literally.
Originally from the rural Dominican Republic, Juan grew up in Brooklyn, where he developed a passion for public service, which led him to pursue a career in the media. As story development assistant at 40 Acres and a Mule Filmworks, he entered NYU's graduate film program, where, with grants from Latino Public Broadcasting, Disney/ABC, and the Spike Lee Fellowship, he apprenticed as assistant to director Spike Lee and directed award-winning shorts aired on Showtime and HBO.
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What inspired you to make this piece?
The inspiration for this film was Washington Heights, a community in uptown Manhattan populated largely by immigrants from the Dominican Republic, many of whom began arriving during "white flight." Now a pretty aggressive wave of gentrification is causing drastic changes in this community. So the idea with this short was to glimpse life in this neighborhood while, with a very simple scenario, exploring how differences can lead to miscommunication and tension.
Briefly tell us how you made your film or video: what camera and format did you use to shoot your piece, and what system did you use to edit it? What is your working process? Did you use any special techniques to make this work?
The film was shot on 35 millimeter over one summer weekend. It was edited on Final Cut Pro. There were no special techniques used in making this film. We did emphasize from the outset, however, that it remain true to the community and be made on a "grassroots" level, meaning that it would be about the community, by the community. The kids in the film, who were cast on neighborhood streets, grew up and continue to reside there.
Do you have any interesting behind-the-scenes stories about the making of this particular work?
To Chayanne's credit, his last close-up in the final scene of the film had to be shot more than a month after principal photography. It is impressive, especially in light of this being his first acting experience, how -- with little direction -- he still managed to deliver the emotion required by that moment in the story.
What is the relationship between your work as a video/filmmaker and life in the New York metropolitan area?
Living in New York has probably been the most influential factor in my pursuing a career in film. In spite of the challenges involved, the transition from one extreme (rural Dominican Republic) to this, the greatest metropolis in the world, is a mind-broadening adventure. This may be a matter of perspective, but there is no denying that the magnificent landscape of New York (physical and cultural) is not only cinematic, it is inspiring.
What films/videos and makers have inspired you or influenced your work? And why?
Some of my favorite films: SUGARCANE ALLEY (Palcy), SALAAM BOMBAY (Nair), HE GOT GAME (Lee), THE PIANO (Campion), THE BLACK STALLION (Ballard), LAWRENCE OF ARABIA (Lean), THE VERDICT (Lumet), THE COLOR OF PARADISE (Majidi), FITZCARRALDO (Herzog), APOCALYPSE NOW (Coppola), BARRY LYNDON (Kubrick), and others in which the directors clearly appreciate the potential of this medium as an instrument of social effect. Making disciplined use of the devices in the craft of cinema, these films embrace landscape while emphasizing the human heart. Make sense?
If viewers are interested in obtaining copies of your work for rental or purchase, whom should they contact and at what address and phone number?
For further information, please e-mail (email@example.com
) or call (646.249.5282).