Interview with Martin Olloren (TWIXXX)

A struggling drag queen meets a persistent houseless man while en route to her show.

Interview with director Martin Olloren

1. What motivated you to make this film?

It’s always important to me when making films or any type of art that it has a message that resonates with the current political and social climate. Currently in our society, I think one of our biggest problems is that the elites of the world are so easily able to turn us minorities against each other. Twix and Chester represent two of the most marginalized groups of people in our society today: the Black Queer Community and the Houseless. I wanted to make a film showing how two people that, on paper, seem to be completely opposite, but in reality have more in common with each other than those in power.

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

The film took me about 10 months to complete.

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

I would describe it as Gritty and Wholesome!

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

My biggest obstacle completing this film was myself. I have a lot of problems with self-doubt (as do most artists). Most of my anxiety stems from my fear of failure. However, I had to keep reminding myself that failure is not just a part of art, but a part of life as well. Every Academy-Award winning director has had their fair share of bad films.

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

I was ecstatic to see the feedback from the audience. As an artist, it’s the best feeling to know that the message you wanted to convey was being picked up by the audience. It’s also a great feeling knowing that a film made by a small-town filmmaker is reaching audiences across the country.

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

I didn’t realize I wanted to start making films until my senior year of high school. Originally, I was going into college majoring in engineering, despite knowing my passion was in film. Greta Gerwig’s Lady Bird had just been released and there was a scene where Saoirse Ronan’s character applies to a whole bunch of schools she was unqualified for. However, she ended up getting into one of the schools she applied for. I took this as my sign to change my major to Film and Television. Although I was rejected by almost every single film school I applied for, I was accepted into one of them and look where I’m at now! The fact that this one movie changed my entire life goes to show the power that film has. I want to spend the rest of my life making films, even if it changes the life of just one person.

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

Most recently, I have watched the film Everything Everywhere All At Once by the Daniels, an unhealthy amount of times. As a recent college graduate, it’s so easy for me to be putting the weight of the entire world on my shoulders. However, EEAAO is a film that reminds me that at the end of the day, nothing really matters. While some view this as negative existentialism, I choose to view this as a great thing – nothing matters so we can do whatever we want!

8. What other elements of the festival experience can we and other festivals implement to satisfy you and help you further your filmmaking career?

I think one thing we virtual festivals could try implementing is a live stream of the audience that chooses to watch it at the cinemas. I would’ve loved to see live reactions of my film!

9. You submitted to the festival via FilmFreeway. How have your experiences been working on the festival platform site?

FilmFreeway is incredible at keeping all of your festival submissions organized. I love it!

10. What is your favorite meal?

My favorite meal is a Filipino dish called Sinigang. It’s a stew-like dish with pork (or fish) cooked in a sour broth with tomatoes, garic, onion, eggplant and red peppers.

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

I’m currently working on some more scripts! I think I’m choosing to stick with short films until I feel ready to make a feature length film. I hope to dedicate my filmography to POC and the LGBTQ+ Community.

Director Biography – Martin Olloren

Martin Olloren is a Filipino-American raised in Surprise, Arizona. He has spent his time at the University of Arizona making films dedicated to marginalized groups of people including immigrants, LGBTQ+, and the houseless. He plans to continue making stories that bring a voice to minority groups. Aside from film, Martin enjoys partaking in many other art forms including dancing, singing, and photography.

Director Statement

TWIXXX follows two individuals who are members of the most marginalized groups in our society: The Black LGBTQ+ Community and the Houseless. It’s become increasingly evident to me how easy it is for the oppressors to manipulate the oppressed against each other. I made this film as a way to remind viewers we all have more in common with each other than we do with those in power. Empathy and compassion are the first steps in creating vital change.

By matthewtoffolo

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

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