As part of the upcoming ‘One Hundred Mornings’ run at the Downtown Independent in Los Angeles, Cinema Speakeasy, CineFist, Downtown Independent Theatre, and Slamdance Film Festival have come together with the WorkBook Project to jointly curate a short film program to highlight new independent directors. What follows is the fourth of six director profiles.
Raised in a dusty agricultural town just north of Bakersfield, Fabian Euresti is the son of migrant farm workers in California’s citrus groves.
Attracted at a young age to storytelling, he made his first film as a senior in high school with his brother’s Sony DV camera- learning quickly that one of the hardest parts of filmmaking is commitment. Nonetheless, he carried on these attempts though his undergraduate studies in English Literature, replacing written essays with what he calls ‘essay films’, wherever possible.
The first of these — a deeply disturbing yet oddly meditational film about water contamination and injustice in his hometown (‘Everybody’s Nuts’, 2004) — came to exemplify his style. His graduate studies at Cal-Arts allowed him to further refine his directorial vision and documentary thematics, while serving to support his burgeoning interest in narrative filmmaking.
His work examines alienation, loneliness, injustice, and the slight sense of the surreal that typifies existences in Southern California- where people live surrounded by lush groves, migrant workers, modern subdivisions and forgotten lands, all the while remaining haunted by a faint sense of unease. To that end, his first narrative short ‘Dos Por Favor’, presents us with the story of Jose, a man in transition. Or is it about a world in transition…?
In anticipation of the upcoming sceening of ‘Dos, Por Favor’, we caught up with Fabian for his two cents on film, success and consistency.
What are the biggest issues you’ve faced, as a filmmaker?
The biggest issue I face is evolving as a filmmaker. I strive every day to learn more about my craft, so I can be a better storyteller. I do not feel it is prudent to discuss issues of pre-production, production or post for one reason. Problems arise at one time or another and you solve them, or you don’t, and life goes on. The thing about problems (whether on set or off) is everyone has them. So then, my biggest issues personally as a filmmaker are about potential new projects. I do not want to make films if I feel there is no need.
How do you typically distribute your short films? What has worked, for you?
Being a recent graduate from Cal Arts’ Directing Program, I have two strong pieces that are. I have been fortunate that both films have been well received so far and are starting their respective runs in the film festival world. That said, I have no real experience in short film distribution.
How do you define success as a filmmaker?
I define being a successful filmmaker means making films consistently. In other words, am I making work? For me, it’s really that simple. I am lucky in that Cal Arts encourages their student artists to express themselves how one see fit. For example, my other film is not narrative fiction. “Everybody’s Nuts” is an essay, a portrait film about my parents. I like that I am able to make smaller, more personal films where it is just me and the camera. I know these films do not have any real commercial future. And that is ok. But do they have an audience? Yes? Than all is well. This said, I do want my work to find an audience, and thereby (possibly) a market. Certainly, making narrative fiction films can be a costly endeavor.
Slamdance, Cal Arts, & WorkBook Project present: ‘Dos, Por Favor’
Directed by Fabian Vasquez Euresti
Produced by Benjamin Rodkin
Sunday 19 September
7:30 and 9:30
Followed by the WorkBook Project Discovery and Distribution Award winner ‘One Hundred Mornings’.
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