Discover the world's best short films

Discover the world's best short films

Interview with Jon Cruz

Director/Writer of

Jon Cruz

What was the inspiration behind making this short film?

This short film is actually a remake of a video project I made for a video art class I had taken while I was in college. Of the options the professor had given me, I thought the panopticon was most interesting. Plus, I had studied it once before. Fast forward several years and I decided to submit it to film festivals. First, I wanted to clean it up, i.e. make new frames, re-record the narration, and use original music. Once all that was taken care of, with the exception of using music, I knew it was ready to submit.

Was there any particular challenges you had to go through to make the short film happen?

Yes! I am not an animator and I know nothing about animating. I had a clear view in my head of what I was looking for when making this film, and in my head, it was animated. Any animator I’m sure can tell you that there are a hundred and one easier ways to do this, but since I’m not an animator, I did it the best and only way I knew how. In making this for class, I drew every frame by hand and took photos of them to edit. This was the most time consuming part. Remaking it for the festivals, I simply traced those original frames using an Apple Pencil. For the original video, I used a text-to-speech program for the narration, but in the remake, my friend and collaborator, Brandon Kennedy, recorded the dialogue.

How has the short film been received?

It has been very well received. We’ve been official selections in quite a few festivals and have even won several awards. I’m really amazed how far it has come.

Do you have any other projects in the pipeline?

I always have new ideas for future projects! Some of those ideas are sci fi and some have vampires! I will be reshooting and shooting new scenes for a short film I made about the first astronauts traveling to Mars. While I do have concepts for feature films, a number of them are short films which I’d either release individually or part of an anthology. Lately, I’ve been leaning towards converting some of my concepts into mini series.

What advice would you give to anyone wanting to make their first short film?

A former professor told me, “If you have a story to tell, tell it.” Whatever you have to film with, whatever you have to edit, use it! My first short film, Orfeo (2017), is what I call a no-budget movie. We were just a couple guys not even in full costume, just using stuff we brought from home. We filmed it at our alma mater, but we could have just as easily filmed this in our backyard. It got me into my first festival. Use what you have, be creative, and don’t give up. Take it from me. I know it firsthand. If you need any advice or guidance on your first production, give me a call! This is what I do and this is what I’m here for.

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