Interview with Filmmaker Andrew Borene (EL VIAJE)

EL VIAJE played to rave reviews at the Student Action/Crime/Thriller Festival in May 2020.

Matthew Toffolo: What motivated you to make this film?

Andrew Borene: A few years back, my mother was coming out of a Starbucks when she was almost struck by a couple of neo-Nazis driving a pickup truck. As they drove off, they shouted racial insults at her and laughed. Even though it was in public during the day time, no one offered to help her or ask if she was okay. I wanted to make a film that stands up for other people that have faced racism or prejudice based on their ethnicity.

2. From the idea to the finished product, how long did it take for you to make this short?

Even though it’s categorized as a short, there was nothing short about the process (pre, principle, reshoots, post) of making the film. It took a year and a half; and even then, I’m still currently working on a director’s cut since there’s a lot of good stuff that got cut out.

3. How would you describe your short film in two words!?

Thought-provoking (is that technically one word though, because of the hyphen?)

4. What was the biggest obstacle you faced in completing this film?

The sneaking suspicion of self-doubt that no matter what you do, it’s never good enough. And once you’ve finished the film, you could have always done better.

5. What were your initial reactions when watching the audience talking about your film in the feedback video?

I cried. I’ve been doing this for ten years. I’ve been laughed at, ignored and told to give up on my dream; but I’m still here. To know that someone out there cares about what I had to say, and took the time to express that, meant the world to me and made all the sacrifices worth it.

Watch the Audience FEEDBACK Video:

6. How did you come up with the idea for this short film?

Sometimes it’s important for an artist to give a voice to people that don’t have one. The subject of immigration is a complicated one, but I took offense to how some media outlets depicted immigrants as all criminals coming here to steal our jobs. I just felt there was an opportunity to examine the subject matter of immigration, and what it means to be an American citizen, in an interesting, non-didactic, way.

7. What film have you seen the most in your life?

Drive, Sicario and It Follows.

8. You submitted to the festival via FilmFreeway, what are you feelings of the submission platform from a filmmaker’s perspective?

I’m glad that there is a consolidated and streamlined way of submitting content across the board. The main thing, as a filmmaker, that gives me anxiety is if said content gets viewed. Given the sheer volume of films being submitted, it’s almost impossible for the judges to watch all the films in length. So it’s always scary to think your film wasn’t viewed, or viewed in its entirety, to be properly judged.

9. What song have you listened to the most times in your life?

The songs I hate have stayed constant, but the ones I love have always changed. Like films, I’m constantly looking for new music to listen to when I write. I’m definitely a left-handed, right brained person.

10. What is next for you? A new film?

Currently I’m excited to be doing prep work on my first feature film. It’s a psychological film about a film crew making a psychological film. Being a pessimist and my own worst critic, rarely have I liked something I’ve written this much, so I look forward to sharing it with the world.

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