Interview with Filmmaker Antonio Melendez (GORILLA GIRL)

GORILLA GIRL was the winner of BEST SHORT FORM SHORT FILM at the February 2021 DOCUMENTARY Film Festival.

1. What motivated you to make this film?

Rob and I are passionate about reconnecting people to the earth and animals. We developed a web series of 10-15 minute episodes about people with a unique perspective and connection to the earth. Ann was an acquaintance at the time and I thought she would make a good subject for our pilot episode. So we began production. We quickly realized that her story was way too good to keep under 15 minutes so we ran with it and let her story dictate the length. We had no idea that we would end up with such a beautiful film to share. We are truly grateful for the experience to share Anns story.

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

Rob and I produced, directed, shot and edited this film on zero budget, while working on paying gigs as the priority, we finished the film within 2 years.

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

Heartfelt and Compassionate

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

I suppose it was making time for it. During the production process we were working on multiple client film contracts to pay the bills

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

I was very moved by the reactions from the audience. It reinforces to me how important it is to do things for the heart rather than the money.

Watch the Audience FEEDBACK Video:

6. When did you realize that you wanted to make movies?

As a child I knew that one day I would be telling visual stories

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

Probably the Harry Potter Series with my kids

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

If you can afford the entree fees its a great and simple process.

9. What is your favorite food?

Food cooked with love and fresh ingredients

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

We are currently in the tail end of production on our first feature. We have acquired some top level executive producers and are really excited about the potential of impact on this one. Its a film about the indigenous peoples in the braziian amazon, deforestation and human rights. We are taking the same approach with characters and balanced perspectives on this complex issue. It has been amazing living in the villages with the indigenous and learning from them..

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