Apr 5, 2009

Inventing Kin: Interview & Premiere

A couple of days ago I wrote about an upcoming short movie called "Inventing Kin". I just got the news that the movie will have a premiere in Coral Gables this Thursday at 8 pm at the Bill Cosford Cinema, (Memorial Building, University of Miami). The entrance is free on first come, first serve basis.

Just in time for the premiere, I interviewed the director and writer of the film, Fro Rojas. Born and raised in Miami, Fro studied at the Miami International University of Art & Design. He works in advertising and has previously directed two other short films that received awards in different competitions. He also has directed Carolina Herrera (fashion icon) and Fanny Lu (singer) for the SONY SER campaign, that targets breast cancer awareness.

He moved to L.A. where he worked for 4 years at FOX SPORTS as a producer/editor but his mother got gravely ill from cancer and passed away in 2004 at the age of 48, so at the age of 24 he came back to Miami to raise his 14 year old sister. Here, the interview:

How the idea of making this film came to you? Where you involved in the script in this movie too? Does the idea evolved with time or did you have the idea "all at once"?

The idea came to me from a couple of different inspirations. I've done back to back comedies and wanted to do something a little bit more serious. I wanted to challenge myself and make something with heart.

I based some stuff on my mother's passing 4 years ago. I went through a lot when my mom passed away and I wanted to bring that emotion to the screen. I wrote the story and then my screenwriter Andy Negrin wrote the screen play.

I was decided to pay an homage to my mom with a story that was more along the lines of a drama because she used to tell me: "your films are comedic and great, but challenge yourself to do some drama, some love". So I did with this latest film. It's a way of saying 'Thank you' to my mom for all her inspiration. Andy also lost his grandfather around that time and we both used a lot of what we went through to write this story.

We work off of each other really well. He writes the screen play and we go back and forth brainstorming ideas. I think we pretty much had the idea all at once. Some things changed here and there, of course, but nothing major.

What other movies have you done (short or otherwise)?

I've done numerous short films and music videos. The last short film "PENCIL FIGHTING: the life and times of team balderdash" was well received by film festivals and by the local media as well. We won 4 BEST SHORT FILM awards and we won BEST MOVIE SHOT ON LOCATION by the Miami New Times.

Is the movie scheduled to show in theaters? Or are you looking forward for someone to distribute it?

It's a short film and it will show mainly at film festivals. We will have a local film premiere with all the actors, crew & local media attending. The goal is for the right people to see the film at the different film festivals and hopefully be given the opportunity by a studio to make the short into a feature.

It seems than "inventions" are very important in this film? Can you tell me a little more about it? Are those inventions in the movie useful or funny ones or....?

I have always been fascinated by silly things, like...who sat there and invented a yo-yo? There is a world out there of inventors who invent the silliest things that we never realize or appreciate. So the idea came to me that I wanted this girls family to have a legacy of useless inventions. Her grandfather invents the funny nose and glasses and her dad the plastic party kazoo. In the story she's trying to add to the family legacy, all while inventing some sort of connection with her distant father. Hence the INVENTING KIN title.

Tell me more about the cast and the team

The cast and crew were an AMAZING bunch. We usually do a casting and bring in actors to audition. But for this film I actually set out to look for people I specifically wanted. I had several girls in mind for the main Kin role but Nikki Borges (the lead actress) came in and did a phenomenal job. She was the first person we casted.

We had worked before with Marc Macaulay on our last film and he is a brilliant actor and it's always such a pleasure to work with him. So we knew he'd be PERFECT for the father role. Then I met Melvin Lima on a set of a music video I was directing and I really liked his look in general. So we brought him in to test with Nikki and they hit it off great so we knew we had found our guy. Finally, George Smith came highly recommended from one of the executive producers and we met him and loved him. So we had our cast ready to go.

The crew had so many pieces but main ones are Andy Negrin, Sherman Johnson (DP), Debbie Margolis, Maritza Dequesada, Paula Jimenez, and JC Nunez (all producers), Ayleen Perez (Art Direction) and Donna Lisa (wardrobe). There are numerous other people who really made this film possible. The team was great, we all worked hard but always enjoyed ourselves. We love creating stories.

Do you want to be a movie maker fulltime? What do you like more, writing the script or directing?

Making movies for the rest of our lives..., I think it's EVERYONES goal! It's definitely my goal. I really enjoy making our stories come to life on the screen. I LOVE directing and I have to confess that I don't enjoy writing scripts so much. I feel like all the characters end up talking like me in the end. But I do enjoy writing the stories or ideas that kick-starts the process off.

Does your bilingual and bicultural skills/knowledge play some role in your scripts?

This is a question that has come up several times. I don't think as of yet I've used my bicultural life as a main role in my films. I have several script ideas that are influenced by my culture, but have yet to use them. I do however love my bicultural up bringing because I do feel it opens another world to telling stories that some other directors might not have.

I think some people expect that if a movie is made by a Hispanic director they'll see a Hispanic story line. I want to change that perception or at least open people's eyes that we can tell any type of story.

Remember: if you are in the South Florida area, this Thursday you can attend for free the premiere of the movie. You can find more information about the premiere in Facebook or you can contact the director at froltd2003@yahoo.com

1 comment:

Unknown said...

great questions..great article! thank you so much for all the classy support.