Last year I was invited to become a Grand Jury Member of the Beneath the Earth Film Festival - undoubtedly one of the most exciting outlets for new filmmakers - among the 2011 winners was the charming After Ever After directed by Jeff Pinilla. I interviewed Jeff back then and have kept an eye out for his career since, only to realize this dude is one hard worker. Jeff is currently working on a new project which is sure to capture hearts and imaginations. Here's what he had to say about it:
I believe we last spoke in 2011. Since then I have been working on numerous commercials and films including a few that helped earn me 6 Emmy nominations in the New York television market. Although I lost with these 6 entries, I learned the value of being amongst some of the greatest talent in the number 1 market. These commercials and promos also went on to win me 4 Promax gold awards at the Promaxbda Award Show in Los Angeles. Along with this, I was also awarded with the "Ron Scalera Rocket Award" which is an award given to anyone working in the industry for two years or less and is doing outstanding work. Recently, I documented a local news team while they were out covering Hurricane Sandy and after posting my 22 minute piece on Vimeo, it accrued over 82 thousand views in a matter of days. The project was titled "The First 36 Hours".
What inspired you to develop this new project?
This new project had been in development for two years. It all started when I saw a sketch for one of my co workers clothing company that involved an astronaut with his arms around two mermaids. The first thought I had was "this is so outer worldly and unique. This is an astronaut that doesn't belong" and the idea flourished from there. I later spent an entire afternoon watching my old home movies and I saw this young version of myself, so innocent and full of joy, that I began to feel a bit nostalgic and so I tied in to the visual treatment I had been giving to my story. It made sense to make this story of an astronaut on earth be about a child longing for his innocence.
Your story is seen through the eyes of a little girl. How important do you think is to show more children's points of view in movies?
I think children are the only ones who have a real perspective. Their brains aren't muddled with opinions or references and their take on everything is purely unbiased and unfiltered. The beauty of children and the way they see things is that their imagination allows them to have a certain perspective on heavy subjects, such as death, which we touch on in this film.
Equally, how important do you think it is to tell stories from a female character's perspective?
In our film, our character goes through a rapid phase of growth which we capture on screen. Almost overnight, the death of her brother changes her. A young girl doesn't decide to become a woman... Life, circumstances, and the mental shift of coping with grief have chosen it for her. This is a side rarely told from a theatrical standpoint. We all know we grow up, and we know women experience it much differently than men, but we never see it told from the eyes of the child before the woman.
Why should people contribute to your project?
This project is much more than a film. After the last two years, there has been this journey I've been on with my storytelling that has allowed me to garner the nominations and rewards that have allowed me to gain a different perspective and appreciation for life. None of this would have ever been possible without the support of my own colleagues, peers, and family and I want to keep them along in this journey for as long as I can. This fundraiser isn't about 1 dollar or 10 dollars but rather about the amount of people that take a look at this idea and say "I believe." As a filmmaker and as a storyteller, there's no better feeling than knowing you're doing something not just for yourself or by yourself, but with the people that stand by your side.
Head over to Rocket Hub where you can contribute to help Jeff make his movie. I'm sure it'll be worth it.