Interview with Filmmaker Alex Ramirez (THE QUIET SHORE)

THE QUIET SHORE was the winner of BEST FILM and BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY at the September 2020 LATINO Film Festival.

1. What motivated you to make this film?

The film is not the easiest watch and I think the passion for the truth in the material was the overall factor. I write from the perspectives of people I know and these two lead characters, Elena and Adrian played by Jeaux Bartley and Joseph Rene respectively were characters I really understood. They come from the same world I do. Seeing how they got through was a great catharsis and motivator for myself.

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

It took a long time. I think the idea began to germinate in the late Summer of 2017. I had the script written by Fall. We shot in the Summer of 2018 and Fall of the same year. Post work was slow: editing and mixing and scoring. We finally screened in Fall of 2019. The whole process was difficult and life interfered in almost ridiculous ways at points… until it interfered in the most real way possible and the film’s production became a crucible of artistic perseverance.

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

Supportive crew. Everyone was so supportive when they read the script. It’s hard to get people behind your idea but when most read the script and the idea got out behind the picture, the crew was so in love with the material as were the actors. The community really went out for it, the ones who knew what we were filming.

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

There were many that really stuck daggers in my chest. Menial production issues that aren’t important in retrospect. Every production has its difficulties. The big one was my Father passing away a month after we wrapped principal photography. That was debilitating and unexpected and the film became my eulogy for him.

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

I thought the feedback was absolutely lovely. The words were so affirming for all the hard work we put it and it was so nice to see and hear from people who connected with it. Also, the diversity was a huge plus. I try to create work with an inclusive cast in mind, for a diverse audience, so hearing feedback from such was aces.

Watch the Audience FEEDBACK Video:

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

I read an article in college about a couple that was dealing with the trauma and grief associated with an ALS diagnosis. It was honest, heartbreaking, and overall, hit me like a freight train. At that time, the only real mention of ALS in the world was the ice bucket challenge which, for me, started with the best intentions but unfortunately devolved into an internet fad. This article had none of that, just a sobering look at a real-life medical tragedy in progress.

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

I think the Departed might be the most. Somewhere in the mid-60s.

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

I use Filmfreeway a lot so I’m really acclimated to it. I think it’s great and quite user friendly. No reason to really change.

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

If I had to take a guess, I’d say “Blue Ridge Mountains” by Fleet Foxes. Some tunes just don’t leave you.

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

I’m writing and directing a horror film that has received a grant from my city. I’m very excited for that because it explores themes of indigenous practices and Mexican-American stories as the backdrop to the main plot. Other than that, I’m going back to my roots and writing for the theatre again.

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