Interview with Filmmaker Jekyns Pelaez ([Aphrodite])

[Aphrodite], 12min., USA
Directed by Jekyns Pelaez
A goddess decides to visit us.

Get to know the filmmaker:

1. What motivated you to make this film?
The thesis for my Master’s Degree was based on an adaptation of Oedipus Rex, which ended up being a fulfilling, yet difficult project. Nonetheless, it gave me the idea of pursuing a dance film with yet another Greek story. With the experience I have in dance, I figured the story of Aphrodite would be very interesting to put as dance in film because she is a figure with characteristics that lend themselves with this kind of format. My wife, who is the dancer in the film, was very receptive to my idea and agreed to embark in this project with me. I wanted to explore the idea of beauty of the etherial from an internal point of view instead of the public point of view. I wanted Aphrodite to explore whether or not she felt beautiful.

2. From the idea to the finished product, how long did it take for you to make this film?
We started shooting in July 2019 and had the final cut in August 2022.

3. How would you describe your film in two words!?
Goodess Self-discovery.

4. What was the biggest obstacle you faced in completing this film?
I completed the editing in February of 2022 but my Hard Drive broke and I could not extract the file. I knew at that point that I did not want to repeat endless hours of editing it again from the raw footage and risk not getting the same result I had already accomplished. So I decided to take the hard drive to a few places to see if the edited files were remotely salvageable. It took more than 6 months to recover the file.

5. What were your initial reactions when watching the audience talking about your film in the feedback video?
It was lovely. I really appreciated the feedback that pointed out the nuances in the film and accurately described my intentions with it. I also appreciated their feedback on the performance itself. I think this is great tool for filmmakers and awesome feature of the festival. It is a great feeling to know how one affects others.

Watch the Audience Feedback Video:

6. When did you realize that you wanted to make films?
I traveled to Cuba for my first thesis research in 2005 and I documented everything with a camcorder. For the actual thesis, I edited it as documentary. It took me almost 2 years to complete but it changed it all for me. I discovered that the camera is a powerful tool for storytelling.

7. What film have you seen the most in your life?
Hard to pinpoint but I do think that I have seen The Godfather, Titanic, Moulin Rouge and Forrest Gump ample of times.

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 the festival offers great opportunities to filmmakers, not only to showcase their projects but also to get to discuss them a bit. Glad to have the audience feedback, it makes me feel that the project has more life after being seen.

9. You submitted to the festival via FilmFreeway. How has your experiences been working on the festival platform site?
The experience with both Filmfreeway’s and the festival’s was simple and fast, uncomplicated.

10. What is your favorite meal?
Top Sorloin, mashed potatoes, and Broccoli.

11. What is next for you? A new film?
I have a couple of scripts I believe in that I would like to fundraise for in the future. In terms of dance films, I will intend to adapt a follow up story to a classical ballet. Hopefully in 2023.

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By matthewtoffolo

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

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