Interview with Filmmaker Reynaldo Dumas (MOVING-IN-LAW)

MOVING-IN-LAW was the winner of BEST PERFORMANCES at the July 2021 Film Festival.

1. What motivated you to make this film?

I was starting to see all of my friends grow up, and start families of their own. It got me to thinking about family dynamics, and how fragile those relationships are. So I decided to approach “Moving-In-Law” with that in mind. What is the impact of betraying the trust of your close relationships? The characters in the script act in their own self interest seemingly at the expense of only one person, but it’s really at the expense of their own existence in the family structure. If we have someone in our life that cares about us, there’s value in that. Brigitte doesn’t really respect Lisa, which we as an audience are made to identify with. However Lisa is there helping her. Not everyone will give you a hand (or arm) when you need it.

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

In theory this took about two years to complete. I had written this in 2018, filmed it in 2019, and completed it in 2020.

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

Family, damage

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

The biggest obstacle that I faced was cutting this from a 10 minute film with three locations, to a 5 minute film in one location. I had to make that decision when I couldn’t raise enough money to completely fund the film. The original script concentrated heavily on Brigitte and Aaron’s relationship for the majority of the film. It would helped us identify more with those characters and made this a stronger drama. At least that’s how I feel about it. Don’t get me wrong though. Ultimately I’m glad that I made the decision that I did, because I have a film. Also I’m talking to you. So it worked out better than I could have imagined.

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

Wow! Someone watched my movie!

Everyone seemed to be touched by the writing and the performances, which pleased me. Writing isn’t something that comes naturally to me, and I have to work on it more than most. I think about everything in the script from the prose of the slug lines to the wardrobe of the characters. Everything is going to inform the story, and the characters. So it was nice to have that recognized once people saw the finished product on screen. The actors, Chanell Bell, Terence Sims, and Deandrea Brown, did the heavy lifting on the performances. The only thing that I will take credit on for that is casting them. Even though I had never worked with them before, they were the strongest choices for the roles that they played, and they are good at their job as actors. If you get people who are good at the job, then directing becomes easier.

Watch the Audience FEEDBACK Video:

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

I said that I wanted to become a filmmaker when I was in eighth grade, but I didn’t really know what that meant until I got to film school. Then I crashed and burned on a short film, and said “I’m not doing this again.” Finally after working a “Real Job” I was like “Ewww. I’ll go back to that filmmaking thing.” A few short films and many years later, I find myself more curious about filmmaking than I ever was in film school. It’s probably because I’m older now, and it’s less about impressing people with the result, and more about why I’m making the decisions that I make.

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

That’s a tricky one. I’m going to guess “E.T.” which was the first film that I ever saw. Someone got it for me on VHS when I was about four years old. I must have watched it hundreds of times. In fact I tried watching the VHS in 2010, and it finally wore out. They really built VHS tapes to last. If not that movie then “Back to the Future.” If neither I’ll just say…”Moving-In-Law.”

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

FilmFreeway is awesome. Between crowdfunding, producing, casting, editing, and every other challenge that comes at you as a filmmaker, the last thing that I want to do is go through hoops submitting to film festivals. FilmFreeway makes it so easy, and you can track your progress too.

9. What is your favorite meal?

Anything with the word breakfast in it.

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

Yes. I am currently working on my next short film called “Dinner’s Ready.” I am also writing two spec pilots, and location sound mixing. Hey, who’s got two thumbs and owns his own location sound recording equipment? This guy (Pointing at myself)

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