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’.
The WorkBook Project, Slamdance, Cinema Speakeasy, CineFist and the Downtown Independent are pleased to announce a collaboratively curated short film program, in support of the WorkBook Project Discovery and Distribution Award winner One Hundred Mornings.
Downtown Independent Theatre
251 South Main Street, Los Angeles, CA 90012
**Shorts play nightly at 7:30 PM and 9:30 PM, unless otherwise specified.
Thu 16 Sep
Opening night for One Hundred Mornings: No Short
Fri 17 Sep: CineFist presents
Dir. by Jack Daniel Stanley (in attendance)
TRT 8.5 min.
Synopsis: Haunted by visions of murder and a macabre woodland burial, a man with a troubled marriage must distinguish reality from hallucination in this thrilling Hitchcock/Poe homage.
Sat 18 Sep: Cinema Speakeasy presents
Dir. by Michael Medaglia (in attendance)
TRT 11 min.
Synopsis: Val’s boyfriend has been acting strange lately. She knows he is changing, but into what? A short film about love, romance, and brain parasites.
Sun 19 Sep: Slamdance & Cal Arts present
Dos, Por Favor
Dir. by Fabian Euresti (in attendance)
TRT 11 min.
Synopsis: A man gets out of prison and arrives at an impasse in life. Before he can move forward, he must re-examine his past. ‘Dos, Por Favor’ examines the choices one makes in life, by questioning whether one has a choice at all.
Mon 20 Sep: Downtown Independent presents
Look Not at the Mountains
Dir. by the Younesi Brothers (in attendance)
TRT 18 min.
Synopsis: In 1904, a team of hunters are led through the deserts of Africa by a mad Colonialist zealot.
Tue 21 Sep: Slamdance & Cinema Speakeasy present
Some of an Equation
Dir. by Burke Roberts (in attendance)
TRT 7 min.
Synopsis: A film in one continuous shot exploring just how very bad things can go in only a few minutes.
Wed 22 Sep: CineFist presents
Dir. by Tim Hyten (in attendance)
TRT 7 min.
Synopsis: In deep space with a crippled oxygen supply, a three person crew grapples with the notion that life support will only allow two to survive the trip to a neighboring freighter.
(Cast: Alex Reid, Ciaran McMenamin, Katie Campbell, Rory Keenan)
About One Hundred Mornings:
(85 mins, Ireland, written and directed by Conor Horgan)
Awards include: Slamdance Special Mention, IFTA for Best Cinematography
Synopsis: Set in a world upended by a complete breakdown of society, two couples hide out in a lakeside cabin hoping to survive the crisis. As resources run low and external threats increase, each of them faces a critical decision they never thought they’d have to make. www.onehundredmornings.com
About The Workbook Project Discovery and Distribution Award:
The WorkBook Project Discovery and Distribution Award is part of an expanded WBP initiative to provide tangible options for those working in ﬁlm, music, games, design and software to fund, create, distribute and sustain. The award opens new channels and modes of distribution currently unavailable in the traditional system and established festival circuit. Pooling distribution channels, making them accessible, and spotlighting a featured ﬁlmmaker with theatrical run and packaged PR through secured resources, the WBP Award displaces a limited bottleneck system with an open-source, sustainability model. In addition to the winner, The WBP awarded another 20 selected ﬁlmmakers with an exclusive digital distribution access package provided by WBP Award partner IndieFlix that will place them on Hulu, iTunes, Netﬁlx, and variety of other outlets. www.workbookproject.com/award
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“What’s amazing about where we sit now in a society, we’re global we’re more connected than we’ve ever been before, and we have more devices than we’ve ever had before. This is an amazing time to be a storyteller. I think that inherently, what you’ll start to see is that the next generation of social networking will push more story and entertainment will become more social. Some of that will yield different types of experiences and formats, or a marrying of existing formats. That’s all very exciting but audiences need to know the work exists. ” – Lance Weiler, founder of the WorkBook Project
A few weeks ago, The WorkBook Project announced the winner of our first installment of the Discovery and Distribution Award. The award is intended to be multi-faceted, honoring those who have demonstrated achievement and creativity in fields such as film, gaming, music, design, and software, to name a few. This is the first time the award is being given, and this time, it’s for film. According to Lance Weiler, founder of the WorkBook Project, over 100 independent films were considered for this award, and a jury of three prominent figures in the film community (Ted Hope, producer of 21 Grams, In the Bedroom, Adventureland, and founder of TrulyFreeFilms.com; Scott Macaulay producer of Gummo, Raising Victor Vargas and editor of of Filmmaker Magazine. Anne Thompson former film columnist at Variety, the Hollywood Reporter – currently writing for Thompson on Hollywood a part of IndieWire network) settled on a winner: One Hundred Mornings, an Irish film directed by Conor Horgan and produced by Katie Holly. The award gives its winners opportunities for distribution. The winning film is given a theatrical run in Los Angeles at the Downtown Independent Theater and provided with PR, social media and street team support. The top 20 finalist also receive a digital distribution package made possible by IndieFlix which will place them on Hulu, iTunes and other distribution outlets. All with no cost to the filmmaker whatsoever.
(Downtown Independent Theater – LA)
We caught up with Lance and Katie last week to discuss the film, the award, and the future of DIY filmmaking and independent distribution.
We’re all aware that technology is changing and becoming more accessible to everyday people. As a result, according to Lance, more films are being made with much lower budgets, which can be a good thing, but on the flip side, fewer are being seen by wide audiences. So what does this mean for the future of distribution and production, and is this necessarily all bad? According to both Lance and Katie, this is actually a very exciting thing, and something that they are embracing and anticipating with enthusiasm.
(Katie Holly, Kelly Campbell, Conor Horgan)
When Katie began her career as a producer she was working on three films that, by today’s standards, were very high-budget. Now, she says, there is no way that any first-time filmmaker anywhere in the world would be able to access those kinds of funds anymore. But she believes this to be an exciting challenge. For One Hundred Mornings, she fell in love with the story itself, and the strong visuals that jumped off the pages and into her imagination, that did not rely on a huge budget to achieve. Lance adds that, while the future of filmmaking as whole is up in the air, and likely without one definite direction, he anticipates a shift to emphasizing the importance of storytelling and the way that stories are told, and that, to him, and to Katie, is very exciting.
Also at the start of Katie’s career, generally once post-production on a film was complete, the producer would put the project in the hands of a distributor, and the producer’s job would be largely done. But now, since it’s much more difficult to find a distributor, the producer’s role is greatly expanded, and the entire process from start to finish is a lot more DIY. This is something that Katie never expected, but she’s stepping up to the challenge and eager to learn all the new things that the position as “producer” would not have previously allowed.
(making of One Hundred Mornings)
They both hope that this award will stem a pattern of cross-pollination around the globe. In other words, this film, for example, was made in Ireland, and it is being awarded a theatrical release in Los Angeles and a community of filmmakers, organizations and the indie film community are supporting it. So perhaps if things similar to this award catch on, Lance hopes, that lots of niche communities of likeminded people around the world will begin communicating and sharing with one another.
Both Katie and Lance discussed the importance of passion and love of filmmaking that contributes to the success of this award. According to Lance, those who contributed their time to make this award possible don’t have any investment in One Hundred Mornings itself, but were very inspired by the idea and philosophy behind the award, and were very eager to help out. According to Katie, especially now since filmmaking, namely independent filmmaking, doesn’t necessarily reel in the money the way it used to, those who dedicate their lives to it really do it because they’re passionate about it. It’s all about the love of it.
(scene from One Hundred Mornings)
From firsthand experience, Katie advises first time filmmakers in this world of evolving media and technology to just go out and make a film. “The most important thing is action,” she explains. “It’s actually doing it. It’s making a film, with whatever means you have available. The act of making a film, the process, going through all of production’s difficulties and challenges, is the best way to learn.” Her company has been struggling to figure out how to produce a film of theirs that calls for a budget much greater than what they have, and instead of giving up on the project, they decided to accommodate the film and the story to fit the means that they have. The result, Katie says, is very rewarding and challenging, and something that is invaluable. Especially now with communities working together to create and sustain new means of distribution, and since means of production are cheaper and more accessible than ever, there is no excuse not to go for it.
WBP Discovery & Distribution Award 2010 Feature Film Winner: One Hundred Mornings
The WorkBook Project (WBP) is excited to announce the screening dates and venue for its Discovery and Distribution Award Winner, the Irish post-apocalyptic drama One Hundred Mornings. One Hundred Mornings cast and crew Conor Horgan (writer/director), Katie Holly (producer) and Kelly Campbell (actor) will be in attendance for the opening night event. Every night of the run other than opening night will feature an independent local short film curated by Cinefist, Cinema Speakeasy and Slamdance. Check workbookproject.com/award for programming updates.
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