1.When it comes to storytelling, where do you get your inspiration from?
My main inspiration is that unique intersection between “established” history and folklore where that hidden network of stories binds the foundation of how humans have chosen to remember themselves and their effort to change things- whatever that “thing” or sense of “change” may be.
2. What is the toughest challenge you’ve faced so far?
The toughest challenge, asides from the more practical side of filmmaking like convincing potential collaborators a project is worth their time and labor, is trying to find that essence of your idea and then be able to communicate it on a consistent basis. I guess that’s what we might call “vision,” but having one is one thing, maintaining it throughout a project, is another.
3. What kind of world do you want to see now that your film “#8MMFH” is made? (For clarification) We know that there is a message you as a filmmaker are conveying to your audience, what is that message?
8MMFH is ultimately about the cultural legacy of urban communities of color and the role that legacy has played in their survival in America. I also want people to appreciate the transcendent power of comedy and to realize there is something truly empowering in being able to laugh at oneself and the tragicomic aspects of reality.
4. As a filmmaker, what are some key lessons learned so far? What do you know today that you wish you knew when you began your journey as a filmmaker?
I’d say the biggest is to not wait until you think you know everything and to realize that every filmmaker has been in your shoes at one point. Don’t be afraid to experiment, and definitely, don’t give up on an idea just because it may be hard to translate into a visual form- every day brings new things learned and a new perspective by which to approach it.
5. What would you say is your unique responsibility as a filmmaker?
I want to keep making films the way I’m making them now, with a sense of passion and love, and a sense of duty to my fellow future artists (of color) and audience, who at some point might, for whatever reason, have a compelling need to see my film.
How can others reach out to you and/or stay informed about your upcoming projects?
I’m always active on social media, @jluisjeluis