Thirty-four year old producer/director Luis Fernando Midence knew that he wanted to be a filmmaker at an early age when he first saw the full length music video for Janet Jackson’s “Rhythm Nation 1814.” The Guatemalan native earned his bachelor’s degree in Broadcast Production from Loyola University in New Orleans, a Masters in Film Production from the University of Miami, FL and a Masters in the Theater Arts from Miami University Ohio. Midence has made six short films including one of our personal favorites “One on One,” a romantic comedy which examines themes of sexuality and masculinity. Midence recently spent a moments with PrideIndex. He talked about his filmmaking style and the “little film that could” as it makes waves on the internet.
PI: Tell us about some of the hallmarks of a Luis Fernando Midence film?
LM: Visually I do not have a trademark, since I like to dwell in different genres and styles. My strongpoint is mostly thematic and structural; I like to mix unpopular themes with popular styles of filmmaking. For example, “One On One” is an allegory disguised as a romantic comedy.
PI: Name at least 3 people who have had the most influence on your artistic style.
LM: Directors: Alfonso Cuarón, Michael Winterbottom, Paul Greengrass.
PI: I recently saw your short film “One on One” I understand that you made it for less than $200, how?
LM: It’s a student film. We managed to get a lot of support from local businesses for food, props, and other requirements. The cast and crew were all students from the University of Texas at Dallas and Arlington.
PI: In “One on One” you touch on themes of the sexuality and masculinity. Why did you go there?
LM: There is a lot of discrimination within the gay community regarding the theme of masculinity. I have an adverse reaction towards those individuals who refer to themselves as “straight acting” or anyone who catalogues/passes judgment on others by the sexual position of their preference, if there is such a thing.
PI: Where did you find the inspiration for the film?
LM: The original intention was to create a romantic comedy about two guys wanting to learn how to waltz, which gradually evolved into something more profound (at least for me).
PI: In “One on One” actors Timothy Brown and Braulio Cruz-Ortiz gave credible performances as the two lead characters. Where did you find them? Do you plans to work with them in the future, if so when?
LM: Tim was referred to me by a great theatre director (Anne Healy) and I got to see Braulio perform for the dance company directed by one of my co-producers (Danielle Georgiou). I dislike the casting process, I rather go with my instinct when selecting actors (or non-actors in some instances) for particular roles, so I approached them both and they liked the project. I would work with both of them in a heartbeat. What an amazing team!
PI: Thus far you have made several short films, do you have plans to make a feature length film, if so when?
LM: I guess that’s the natural progression for all filmmakers, to work on feature films. I like the short story medium better, because it is harder to tell a complete and meaningful story in 10-20 minutes. When I attend film festivals I always get passes for the short film screenings; in 60 to 90 minutes I’m presented with a variety of stories, characters, and visual styles. I find that much more appealing.
PI: Do you have any favorite American filmmakers you would like to work with?
LM: John Cameron Mitchell for sure. Mike Nicholls, Steven Soderbergh, and Gus Van Sant.
PI: Have you considered making a compilation of your work available to purchase online? Why not?
LM: Not really. After the movies have made the rounds in the film festival circuit I usually upload them online for the Internet audience searching for these types of story to enjoy them.
PI: What’s next for you professionally?
LM: I continue to work in film and theatre: I just shot my very first short movie in my home country of Guatemala titled “Camino/Destino,” dealing with the topic of immigration and GLBT issues. It should be hitting the festivals this upcoming summer. Last year I produced and directed the plays “Rabbit Hole” and “God of Carnage” and in 2012 I’m producing and directing Brian Sloan’s “WTC View” and probably a Eugene Ionesco comedy. I’m also a DJ and music programmer for Kiss FM 97.7 in Guatemala, and I’m teaching cinema and theatre at one of the universities here.
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