BEYOND, a R.Evolucion Latina, 23min,. USA
Directed by Claudia Mulet
"Beyond" is a Documentary inspired by the Beyond Workshop Series, an adult training program created for young latinx performers in New York City. The documentary follows five young performers looking to develop their skills in order to "make it" to the Broadway Stage and understand the importance of their presence in the theater world for a more inclusive future.
Get to know the filmmaker:
What motivated you to make this film?
After being working with R.Evolution Latina for a couple of years and making some of their video promos, one day talking with their director Luis Salgado, I asked him about the possibility of making a documentary of their work. I have been very inspired about their mission and the work they are doing in providing high quality training underrepresented communities. I could see how much these workshops changed the people involved in so many ways, how much they grew their connections, their perspectives, even the way they communicate love . The idea of a documentary started like a sort of joke but it turned out to be one of the most beautiful processes in my filmmaker career. Showing to the latino community in New York and to all the other underrepresented communities that there is a place where they can feel represented and supported in their career journeys, was everything. The talent these people carry and how much we need those talents out there motivated me to share these stories.
2. From the idea to the finished product, how long did it take for you to make this film?
We shot it at the beginning of the year. We talked about the possibility of shooting the Beyond Workshop Series back in January. The workshop is a two weeks length program where the members get the chance to get all the training and a final presentation. Then it took me approximately three months to put together the story we wanted to tell and finish the interviews that will round even more the ideas of the film. But I guess it is never really over right? There's always something else you want to add or change.
3. How would you describe your film in two words!?
4. What was the biggest obstacle you faced in completing this film?
At the time I was in tech as part of a show on Broadway called New York New York that limited me from going to every rehearsal of the BWS program. My amazing photographer and videographer Krystal Pagán was in charge of getting most of the B-roll while I got some of the interviews done every time I was able to go to the rehearsal process. We really had to work as a team on that matter. But the real challenge was in the editing process. I'm usually very involved in my shoots with helps me get a better idea of what is the story I want to tell, but with this documentary it was very tricky because there was too much information and too many good stories to tell, It was a matter of focus and team work to be able to put together a story that represented the soul of this movie and the work this organization does to get this programs done.
5. What were your initial reactions when watching the audience talking about your film in the feedback video?
I was very emotional. With this being my first documentary and my first time submitting to a film festival I'm not used to people giving feedback to my work outside of my team or my family and friends. It was very comforting to hear their perspectives on the film but what really got me emotional was the fact that they understood the purpose of the film, which I think is my biggest accomplishment so far.
6. When did you realize that you wanted to make films?
I have been in the TV and Theater world for many years. Back in Cuba I used to work in small TV productions and independent advertising. I have been using my camera to shoot all of my creative processes with the idea to make films back when I was a teenager, but it wasn't until 2018 that I decided to learn how to edit and really start pursuing a career in the film world. That really made my dreams real, the ability to make films myself.
7. What film have you seen the most in your life?
Wow, that's a very difficult question. Because I have many movies from different genres that I really like and have become part of my study routines. But I have two movies that I watch sometimes just to study them in detail, one is The Intouchables by Olivier Nackache and Eric Toledano and the other one is Bram Stoker's Dracula by Francis Ford Coppola. I love them because even when their aesthetics are very different from each other they both are music driven and have a theatrical style and cinematography, something that inspires me to create in my own work.
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'm not sure if I'm the right person to answer this question being so new in the film festival industry but I would love it to have more accessibility to the new filmmakers that want to open their work to an audience. When I say accessibility I mean more clarity on the best way to present the work, or even the best strategy to get the work out there.
9. You submitted to the festival via FilmFreeway. How has your experiences been working on the festival platform site?
It's really good, the FilmFreeway site has all the information you need to know about the festivals and it makes it very easy to navigate in it.
10. What is your favorite meal?
I don't think I have one favorite meal. I'm a food nerd and lover. I've been vegetarian for a couple of years but that has never stopped me from making and having the most delicious meals but I do have to say that sushi is what steals my heart, and my stomach. Something about the combination of rice, soy sauce, ginger and wasabi that can make any other ingredients really pop in my mouth.
11. What is next for you? A new film?
Although I'm still working in some theatrical productions I'm currently working on a couple of projects that makes me very excited because it combines my visual work and my film expertise. I'm working on a production called "The Pan-American Nutcracker" where I'm creating all the visuals for the show, a combination of some footage I'm taking with painting and movement. Very exciting stuff.