Interview with Filmmaker Renee J. Vaca (LAST LOOKS)

LAST LOOKS was the winner of BEST PERFORMANCES at the October 2020 FEEDBACK Film Festival.

1. What motivated you to make this film?

This was a cathartic piece for me. After the death of my friend and my experience of taking care of her b4 she was laid to rest. I felt the need to tell the story and share the emotional uncomfortable truth of death and how those left make the final decisions.

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

It took me 6 months to process the experience and a month to write, shoot, and edit Last Looks.

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

I would say “Last Looks” is Fabulously Uncomfortable.

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

I would say the biggest obstacle was the technical difficulties with 🎥 It was supposed to be shot on a steady cam, but it broke at the beginning of the day… so we put it in sticks and adjusted the setups.

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

When I first heard the feedback I was overwhelmed. All the quirky notes and colors I was hoping the audience would see and feel was successful. The uneasiness of the situation and the open ended story with no guidelines or answers except for each individual’s experience. I was happy that all types of people got something out of this piece and gave it a life of its own. I was honored and grateful to have this feedback for Last Looks.

Watch the Audience FEEDBACK Video:

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

Well, I lived it. When I first went in and saw my friend she didn’t look anything looked herself. She was bloated from all the drugs they pumped into her trying to save her life. She was an amazing vibrant Buddhist always dressing in color and expressing herself through her style and kindness. Now she laid before me in a black polyester suit dresses picked out her mother. As soon as I left I called her cousin ASAP crying, “who dressed her like that?!? Why didn’t u tell me I would of brought clothes and changed her myself!”
…so I did through film.

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

Film Freeway is a simple and easy platform to use. It is a great way to look up festivals and submit to those that work within the perimeters of your project.

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

Dave Mathews Sister… I love that song!

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

What’s next, well directing as much as possible! I just finished the 48 hr Film Festival and that was quick and fierce especially in the middle of a pandemic. I’m now shooting my web series called COVIDLove2020 which is a 7 episode piece about 2 thirteen year olds falling in love in the middle of a pandemic. How does it look, how do you show someone you care when you can’t get close. What happens when it goes back to normal? I’m really excited about this piece.

By matthewtoffolo

Filmmaker and sports fan. CEO of the WILDsound Film and Writing Festival

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