How did you get inspired to become a filmmaker?
The first film I ever saw in my life was Disney’s Dinosaur, and since then I have loved monster movies like Jurassic Park, King Kong, and Godzilla. These were the films that fascinated me the most because it gave me the idea of creating my own characters, my own stories, and my own world. I realized that I wanted to keep making movies about non-humans, but make them more character driven. Ray Harryhausen taught me that non-human characters can develop and change that same way as human characters can. From middle school all the way up until college, monster movies, such as Cloverfield, Transformers, Pacific Rim, or Ray Harryhausen films, were the films that I constantly watched for inspiration.
What is your favorite part about the short film form?
It allows young artists, like me, to keep making films even when they don’t have much money or not many people.
Who were the people that supported the making of this film?
For I Want My Body Back, it was mostly made by people I met at Columbia College Chicago. The film was made for my Directing 2 class, and I am grateful for the cast I had. Will Madden & Hannah Rhodes gave their heart and soul into this. And my editor Mehdi Akbar, a guy I can always rely on to help me realize my vision.
What is your next project?
Still thinking about it. With this being my last year of college, I have a lot of ideas. Either a romantic film or another horror film.
The independent film business is a difficult one. What keeps you motivated? Where do you see the industry going in the future?
I know it’s hard, and it’s just going to get harder. I just keep reminding myself what inspired me. Always remember, we make movies, because we have something to say. I hope the industry becomes more diverse. Where people on any race can participate in any film they want. There are many people out there from different ethnic backgrounds who struggle to get their stories out there, and I want to create more opportunities for them to present their stories.
Which filmmakers, artists or individuals have most influenced your work?
It really is hard to pick certain individuals. I am constantly inspired by whoever I meet.
What advice would you give new filmmakers?
Never give up, it will only get harder and harder. Always remember what inspired you and just keep telling yourself “That’s what I want to do.”
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