Luchagore Filmmaker Q&A
by Phillip Wilcox "Our Movie Demon"
What became the catalyst that made you all realize you wanted to do what you do now, and what was your first memory of knowing you wanted to pursue the dream you had?
LUKE - I’ve always been fascinated with movies since a young age, and I can remember having a vivid imagination as a kid and being interested in artistic activities. The first film that really captivated me was E.T., and as I got older my love for movies became a love for the movie-making process. After a stint of a career as a cook, I suddenly had an epiphany and decided to drop it all and pursue my passion for filmmaking. Since then I’ve never looked back and it’s been the best decision of my life!
GIGI - I always had an interest in the arts, and story telling. I began wanting to be a cartoonist and animator when I was really little. I had a strange obsession in watching classical Disney films and watch them over and over to find continuity mistakes, I wanted to make stories for Disney. Then painter, then a musical theatre actor, and suddenly as a young teenager I booked my very first TV commercial and BAM!! Seeing all the lights the crew and cameras I was blown away! I knew from that moment I wanted to make movies. Soon after that I started watching all kinds of films.
RAYNOR - For me it was a trip to Southeast Asia that really inspired me to get involved with filmmaking. I'm a storyteller at heart and to be able to showcase that on a screen, has been a lifelong dream. My first memory of knowing was when I was in high school, when I was taking the media arts program. I did a PSA student film, which ended up winning a few local awards. I knew right there that storytelling was something that I thoroughly enjoyed, seeing people's reactions towards something you create always left me excited ,and happy.
What was the first step each one of you took in taking action, or first things you created to pursue your dream?
LUKE - The first step in my path of filmmaking was going back to school and studying film. Not everyone needs to go to film school to become a filmmaker, but for me it was a way to connect with other people who are passionate about the craft, as well have access to equipment and teachers who served as mentors.
GIGI- I was lucky enough to know I what I wanted to do after high school. I knew immediately I wanted to go to film school. As Luke mentioned above - Not everybody needs to go to film school to be a filmmaker, but honestly I am thankful I did go to film school. It's a fantastic place to build your skills and learn to not be afraid of failure and to keep trying until you get really good at your craft.
RAYNOR - I remember thinking to myself that you can't continue to procrastinate, just go do it! So I ended up working hard for a year straight to save up enough money for tuition, and the rest is history. I ended up working with an amazing class of people, which eventually led me to stumbling upon Gigi, Luke, and Gordon.
Where did your love for movies (more so horror movies) come from?
LUKE - I think my passion for horror movies stems from being a kid in the 80’s/90’s during the VHS rental days, and going into the horror section of the movie store and perusing the covers of what looked good and scary. It felt like a rebellious thing to do, watch films that we were deemed too young to watch, staying up late freaking ourselves out after watching and not being able to fall asleep!
RAYNOR - I've always been fascinated with horror since I saw Alien as a young kid, my dad allowed me to watch it, totally ruining my life for at least 2 weeks. I was scared shitless and felt how incredible it was to be actually afraid of a film. So I decided to keep watching all the old classics that I could find and just watch some amazing horror films. I knew I always wanted to be apart of the horror genre in some form or way.
GIGI - As I mentioned above I had a strange obsession as a little kid looking for continuity mistakes in films... But in general movies fascinated me I loved how much emotion they were able to get out of people. I will always remember how I was NOT allowed to watch horror films at all!! But that's the reason my curiosity grew and grew for the genre. In Mexico I begged my mom to take me to see THE EXORCIST when it got remastered and re-released in theatres, and she took me to it warning me it was a bad idea. Yup...I was traumatized haha. But then I realized how freaking cool it is to make people feel something after watching a movie. In my early teens I decided to watch behind my parents back's "AMORES PERROS" the first film by Alejandro Gonzalez Iñarritu. No film had hit me as hard at that movie did and from that moment I knew I wanted to be a filmmaker.
When did you all first meet each other, and did you know right away you wanted to work together?
LUKE - I met Gigi in film school; we were in the same class for 4 years. During our second year of studies, we began working together, and we discovered our love for all things horror. From then on we’ve been collaborating ever since! We met Raynor in our last year of school, and he attended our rival school. He was brought on to help with a project through mutual friends, and we all connected right away with him and he became our Producer and fellow co- founder of Luchagore!
Let's talk El Gigante, one of my favorite short horror films - How did that film begin and Where did the story come from?
GIGI - The story of El Gigante is based on chapter one of Shane McKenzie’s novel “Muerte Con Carne”. We were introduced to him through a fellow friend-and famed horror novelist John Skipp, who thought our style of filmmaking would match Shane’s writing perfectly. After trading work between Shane and us, we were blown away by his writing, and decided to collaborate on turning Muerte Con Carne into a feature! El Gigante acts as a proof of concept for the feature, which we intend to make within the next year.
What were some of the most memorable/challenging experiences you faced during that shoot?
LUKE- I think I speak for the entire entire Luchagore team that El Gigante was definitely our biggest shoot to date, and it was a challenge to choreograph a wrestling scene with so many practical effects and stunts. We also had quite a large crew who were fantastic and helped us out with their knowledge and talents every step of the way! We still remember when we strung the main actor Edwin Perez (Armando) from the roof while David Forts (Gigante) lifted him off of the ground, and was amazed that we were actually shooting this! It really was a collaboration of artists and technicians, and we all felt like a big family by the end of the shoot.
GIGI - Not to mention, Raynor and his Art department team managed to build the entire wrestling ring in only 4 days!!! That's insane!! Hahaha but we did it and finished it. We only had access to that studio for 7 days total - 4 for building, 2 for shooting, and 1 to completely clean all that blood and tear down the ring.
There is this common theme that runs through the films you guys make, and that is that they contain a Mexican cast and also Mexican culturally based stories. And being Half Mexican myself, I love it! I find it refreshing and fun! But where did that idea stem from? Was it always there in your mind that it was something you wanted to do, or did it just come naturally to you as you came up with the stories?
LUKE- Our films definitely have a Mexican flavor to them, and that stems from Gigi’s background, which she introduced to us, and I’ve fallen in love with the people and the culture. Mexico is full of rich stories and the culture is so fascinating, that there is never a shortage of stories to construct, no matter what the genre is. And the entire Luchagore team loves how we are creating different style films touching foreign cultures to our very own in Canada.
Gigi - Can you talk a little about Women In Horror Month and what it means to you, The Soska Sisters and your working relationship with them (as you did partake in shooting a segment, "Feliz Cumpleanos" for their Massive Blood Drive anthology)? Will you be shooting another segment for them this year?
GIGI - I've been following WIHM for a few years now and I gotta say... It's amazing to see how many women there are in the world who aren't necessarily all filmmakers but where all of us share the same passion and love for the genre. This yearly recognition is a fantastic way to showcase women who are working in the genre since there isn't enough cognition in film in general for women. However, as a female director my motivation and goal is to continue pushing our team's work out to the world as much as possible no matter what obstacles I have to face. Sure one can agree the film industry is more male dominated...But I look at that as an advantage to work harder, because at the end of the day I don't want to be recognized as a great female filmmaker but instead as a GREAT filmmaker regardless of my gender.
Now I gotta say I am so honoured and blessed to have a such a close and beautiful friendship with Jen and Sylvia Soska!! Those girls are incredible and I love them so much. I am so thankful for all their guidance and continuous encouragement to persue my dreams. They are a huge inspiration. Taking part of their MASSIVE BLOOD DRIVE two years in a row has been so much fun and I've met so many amazing people through social media thanks to that great cause!!
Speaking of Mexican based horror - Mexico Barbaro (simply a fantastic horror anthology! And as I have said it before, I will say again: I loved the whole movie and all the other segments are great. But I can see why your segment, "Dia de los Muertos", was the last segment. My motto is that the best is always saved for last). How did that opportunity come about, and what were your experiences like making that segment?
GIGI - We originally made Dia de los Muertos as a standalone short film on our last year of Film School; it was an idea that I had pitched to Luke one day during class and we decided to write a story about it and make our first movie for the festival circuit. Then we came in contact with Lex Ortega, who saw another short we did called “M is for Matador”, and he approached us about the concept of Mexico Barbaro while it was still in development. before you know it, I was able to attend a meeting with all the MEXICO BARBARO filmmakers while I was in Mexico City, and they were all blown away by the film and accepted it as an addition to the anthology! The experience making the film was fantastic, which included a cast and crew of over 50 people, and it really set us up for our next big short, which was El Gigante. Joining MEXICO BARBARO helped us finish editing Dia De Los Muertos and ended up being a much stronger piece than we ever thought it would be!!
I know for me seeing the news that you were going to make an "El Gigante" feature length film was extremely exciting! I'm sure you guys were just as ecstatic! How did that opportunity finally come to light, and when do you start shooting?
RAYNOR- It's been such an amazing experience with how successful El Gigante has been doing so far. The short has played all over the world and has gotten huge amounts of recognition. The world definitely needs a new iconic horror villain! When we first decided to make El Gigante, we knew we wanted to develop it into a feature length, but we had to start small first. Developing the first chapter of the novel as a proof of concept, and also a stand alone short film, we could then spend our time adapting the rest of the novel for screen adaptation. Raven Banner Entertainment saw the potential in our project and now have come on board to take care of distribution and also development. Currently we are still acquiring the right amount of funding to make the feature the way we envision it, so we don't plan on seeing anything till next year.
Can you tell us a little bit about what you guys all have in store for us in the future?
RAYNOR - Currently we're working on a completely different project that hopefully will be starting in the next few months. It's so juicy and exciting that we can't even say anything yet! But we promise that when the word is allowed out, you'll know right away. For now, we're just finishing up our short segment for another great Mexican Sci-Fi horror anthology(Aztech), called Dulce Muerte. Hopefully coming soon towards the end of this year, or early 2017. It was such a fun little short for us to do before we move onto our next project, which again, we hope to announce to everyone ASAP.