Merli V. Guerra

– Who is Merli V. Guerra?

Recently, a journalist wrote that “It would be an understatement to label Merli V. Guerra a Renaissance woman” (Anne Levin, “Town Topics”). I deeply appreciated this, as it’s true that there are many facets to my work as an artist and as a person. Professionally, I’m a choreographer, filmmaker, and interdisciplinary artist whose work encompasses the fields of dance, film, art, and design. I’m a professional dancer and choreographer with a background in ballet, modern, and classical Odissi Indian dance, and am Artistic Director of Luminarium Dance Company in Boston, MA. I’m also a filmmaker, a writer, an installation artist, and a graphic designer. My films often incorporate choreographic movement, frequently falling into the category of “screendance.”

Above all, I have a passion for historic sites. My artistic works and productions are regularly inspired by historic ruins, such as my most recent screendance film “Ao pó voltaremos,” which I created to honor a 16th century monastery ruin in Portugal before its upcoming conversion into a “charming rural hotel” for tourists. Where others see disintegration, I see beauty. Where others see something to tear down, I instead see a story that needs telling.

What inspired you to become a filmmaker?

Filmmaking has always been a part of my life, even when I didn’t anticipate it becoming an aspect of my profession. I spent my gangly years of childhood shooting films with my much younger brother, with only the editing effects available to us manually on my dad’s Sony camera. Looking back, I appreciate the limitations we faced, as it forced us to think creatively to achieve our desired effects.

It wasn’t until college that I married together my love of filmmaking with my primary field of dance. Enrolled in a beginning film class, I was exposed to experimental filmmakers for the first time, and became interested in the possibilities of projected video across my own skin, using my body as a human canvas. It was through this course that I created my first screendance film, “Synchronic,” which was then awarded “Best Dance on Camera,” “Best of Mount Holyoke,” and “Best of Fest” at the 2009 Five College Film Festival in Amherst, MA. The positive reaction I received from that work is undoubtedly what fueled me to continue experimenting with screendance in the professional world. But I can guarantee you I couldn’t envision back then that I would one day be creating new films as a professional artist-in-residence in Portugal!

Do you think the cinema can bring a change in the society?

Cinema absolutely has the power to bring about societal change, for better or for worse. Whether considering the cinematic propaganda techniques of World War II or the subtle product placements found in modern films, cinema is deeply influential for its viewers. At times, it reflects the society in which we live—our daily routines, our desires, our fears—at others, it introduces us to the society we aspire to achieve. Cinema has the potential to remind us what we’re capable of, to inspire us beyond the theater. I’m personally most appreciative of cinematic works that push me to think deeper, to reconsider social and cultural norms, and to reacquaint myself with aspects of my own being that I’ve come to take for granted.

What would you change in the world?

Ultimately, I want to see progress—genuine forward momentum as a society. I’m baffled by the backwards traction of my own country (USA) at present. Rights that I took for granted as a woman are now stripped away. Politicians pat each other on the back after passing gun reform laws that do little to lessen the country’s daily mass murders from automatic weapons. Our planet is both starved for rain and drowning, all at once. We seem to be devolving. If there was one thing I could change, it would be to take humanity’s car out of reverse and put it back into drive.

Where do you see the film industry going in the next 100 years?

Speaking for the field of screendance, specifically, I envision continued experimentation between live performance and technology rapidly growing over the next century. Many of us, myself included, are now working with 360-degree videography as well as virtual and augmented reality (VR/AR) tools to create immersive screendance experiences that shift the traditional “audience” member or “viewer” into the role of active participant. Additional sensory work—such as integrating haptics and scent cards—further immerses participants inside these cinematic/choreographic experiences. I’ll be curious to see how these experiments continue to evolve and shape our interactions with both film and the performing arts moving forward.

Wes Davis

-Who is Wes Davis?

Hello! My name is Wes Davis.

I am a Musician, Producer, Artist, Actor, Writer, Multimedia Developer… and now I’m a Filmmaker.

I am an Artistic Entrepreneur.

I enjoy the big things and little things in life. With my work, the projects vary so much. I get to express myself in each project, which I love.

I feel fortunate in my life. I constantly remind myself that I’m very fortunate and that many people are not.

At age 12, I took my sister’s guitar and taught myself how to play.

When I was 15, I started trying to produce music, which was a lot of fun. I was always interested in learning new things.

I started my first company when I was 19, which failed horribly. It was a great learning experience. I believe it’s healthy to fail before we succeed. This is how we learn.

I started working in the film industry when I was 21. I tried some acting, then worked on some indie film sets running sound. Then I went into film and event marketing. I became the youngest board member on the Board of Directors for the Oklahoma Film Society.

After that, I worked producing music for artists and record labels. I decided to learn digital marketing and multimedia design.

Several years later, I decided that with my experience and skillset that it was time to put it all together and make a film.

I have to say, I’m enjoying the journey. I enjoy every bit of it. The good, the bad, the highs, the lows, the pleasures, and the pains.

I love struggle, learning, and new experience.

-What inspired you to become a filmmaker?

I always wanted to be a Filmmaker. I made films when I was young. I remember trying to use a VCR to edit tapes together using the “pause” and “record” buttons when I was a kid.

As I got older, I never stopped making little films. I didn’t know or worry about the technicals. Such as lighting, stops, exposure, depth of field… any of that stuff. But I was a kid. I would hand-write screenplays.

Sometimes, my friends and I would take trips and I would bring my little Sony Handycam. I would document our trip, then later make a little documentary.

However, if I had to pick one thing that inspired me the most to become a filmmaker, it would be this…

The challenge of being a filmmaker. To me, filmmaking is the ultimate artistic challenge. You know, they say most films never get finished. This is because it is such a challenge. It is a combination of every art. It’s photography, painting with light, music, sound design, photography, editing, visual effects, set design…

Filmmaking is the pinnacle art. It is the combination of all the arts into one project.

-Do you think Cinema can bring change to society?

I believe that Cinema has brought change to the world since its conception. For the last 100 years, Cinema has been a primary, global platform for communication, messaging, and even propaganda.

Cinema has not only changed society, but it has been purposefully used to change society. During times of war, governments around the world would weaponize cinema to psychologically get their people to believe in their war.

Conversely, many artists, filmmakers, and philanthropists use cinema to convey messages of peace, or to address issues in society such as hate or social injustice.

Knowing this, I have hope that in the future, humankind will act responsibly and use Cinema for good in the world. Whether it be for messaging, or just entertaining.

-What would you change in the world?

This is such a difficult question, mostly because the world needs so much change.

If I could change anything in the world, there would definitely be a pretty lengthy list. I won’t go into here.

The world needs more love and less hate. We all need to understand we are connected. Human greed is a serious problem. We shouldn’t live in a world where a handful of people get control of all the resources, and children die of starvation.

My film addresses some issues regarding mental health and gun violence. In a very indirect, between-the-lines kind of way. These are global issues that need more attention for sure.

Then, of course, there are social injustices, all sorts of discrimination, violence, war, poverty, global destruction… all very important issues.

I think I will leave it at that. Some of these issues can be a Trigger for some, including myself. I don’t want to be too controversial.

Since I’m an American filmmaker, I live here in the United States. However, in the area I live, it can be dangerous to talk about some of these issues openly. At least at this current point in history.

-Where do you see the film industry going in the next 100 years?

I hope the film industry is going somewhere good. Right now, I feel like it is. I’m just hoping that it’s not going in the direction of “Watch on your phone… by yourself…” or “Wear a VR headset…” I know there will be some of that. But nothing beats going to a Cinema, or Theater, with friends and loved ones to watch films on the big screen.

Honestly, I’ve noticed that a lot of the trending pop culture, music, and entertainment industry are going retro. Vinyl is back. Nostalgia is doing extremely well right now.

No matter where technology takes us, people will always love the look of natural light, the cinematic look, and watching films on a big screen with loved ones.

Vanessa Philippe

-Who is Vanessa Philippe?

I’m French, I live in Paris. I am a songwriter and performer, dancer and choreographer. Since my third album, I have been making my own music videos. “Suddenly the birds” is my new and fifth album, released on January 21, 2022, and “So many tears” is one of the music videos I made.

What inspired you to become a filmmaker?

First I was a dancer and choreographer, very interested in directing. I started to stage myself in music videos to reclaim my own music that sometimes escaped me during recording in the studio, with the director of my songs, or musicians.

Anyway I like writing stories in music as in pictures. I want it to escape from reality, or to perform reality into poerty.

“So many tears” is a surreal music video that speaks of feelings of mourning contrasted with the joys of childhood. My sister’s died in 2019, and to bear and accept the harsh reality, I wrote an album, “Suddenly the birds”, dedicated to her. This song is one of them, and the music video is a second reading of the emotions that go through me.

In surrealism I find the unconscious and dreams that I use in my lyrics and music.

I need to surprise myself and making music videos is an experience that allows me that.

-Do you think the cinema can bring a change in the society?

Yes of course, espacially concerning the condition of women in our society. Often when we watch a film we seek or we find answers to our own questions, not necessarily consciously. And what comes  up can then influence our lives and the society we are all building together. I am particularly moved by films talking about the difference between women and men and the oppression of women in the history of our society. Talking about it, putting your finger on flaws allows you to become aware and change things, I’m sure.

-What would you change in the world?

If I could change something I would put the trees back in place, I would remove tar and plastic that invades us and suffocates us step by step. I would restore nature its rights to save the human being.

-Where do you see the film industry going in the next 100 years?

This is a difficult question. The cinema will always exist, but will the theaters last? As with music, the industry changes with the evolution of society. The pandemic has changed people’s habits, platforms have taken the place of theaters. Even today most people stay at home and watch a movie on their screen or computer. The screen is integrated to our daily life, individualism also with social networks. Relations with society have changed and going to the theater to share a film together is increasingly rare, unfortunately. There may be fewer films, but cinema, as music, will always be a vital necessity.

Mac Escalante

-Who is Mac Escalante?

My name is Mac Escalante and I am a recent graduate from the University of Georgia. I was a Film Studies and Comparative Literature major and I have always been appreciative of the arts! To describe myself may be a little challenging as I am still developing my character and identity to the world. If I had to describe who I am, I would love to describe myself as an ambitious artist. It is my dream to be a director, actor, and screenwriter and to share my work with the entire world.

-What inspired you to become a filmmaker?

My inspirations came from many sources. It is absolutely challenging to explore how I was inspired to be a filmmaker since my inspiration has been drawn by many artists from cinema, music, paintings, etc. Ever since I was a child, I loved movies very much. I watched many movies growing up with my family and went to the theaters many times. After seeing many countless films, I then realized that I too could be up there with the movie stars and creative directors behind the pictures I saw in cinema. Movies really helped me imagine big ideas, moved me through difficult periods of my life, and encouraged my perspectives on how I view life. I wanted to be a part of that artistic movement which made me very glad to have been inspired by cinema itself in becoming my own director, actor, and writer. The directors that have really inspired me to be the filmmaker I am today are Wes Anderson, Stanley Kubrick, Martin Scorsese, Sam Raimi, Steven Spielberg, George Lucas, Christopher Nolan, and the list goes on haha. 

-Do you think the cinema can bring a change in the society?

Having cinema change society has always been one of the most difficult questions I had to ask myself. It is a very open ended question because every artist has a personal struggle about whether or not their art is contributing to the flaws of society. In my personal experience, I at first thought that my artistic dream of wanting to be in cinema was useless. During the difficult times of the COVID19 pandemic, I felt very guilty about how I was not pursuing a medical career. I felt as if movies were not making a difference because doctors and nurses with medical knowledge were immediately needed at the front lines to combat the virus. Once lockdown came, many theaters struggled and even shut down which made me first believe that my cinematic dream was unachievable. After reminiscing about the difficulties of COVID and other tragic events, I looked back to different parts of history in which cinema reflected those difficult and confusing times. I realized that filmmakers were also immediately needed to not only comfort and entertain audiences but also encourage audiences to change their perspective on the world. This then made me reflect deeply about how movies changed society in the past and how they brought change among people’s perspectives of the world. A few films that really changed society that I could share are Dr. Strangelove (1964), Do The Right Thing (1989), Spider-Man (2002), and the list goes on. I then realized that all of those films combined really challenged society’s perspective on certain issues of the time. 

One of my favorites of the titles I mentioned is Dr. Strangelove by Stanley Kubrick since that film was absolutely necessary for the ’60s as it made audiences question their safety during the Cold War and Arms Race between the United States and Soviet Union. The film came out in 1964 which was 2 short years after the Cuban Missile Crisis and 1 year after the assassination of JFK and people at the time were extremely overwhelmed by the political chaos haha. Dr Strangelove was then responsible for not only satirizing the American and Soviet governments but also changed the way people viewed the two superpowers of the 20th century. Kubrick believed that the arguments among Western and Soviet leaders were very pointless and that cinema can illustrate the ridiculousness of their arguments. Dr. Strangelove then became a huge hit among audiences and was very responsible for changing 1960s society’s viewpoints on the Cold War and was even one of the first 25 films to be preserved for the National Film Registry in 1989.

If a film like Dr. Strangelove has shifted society back in the 1960s, I am really hoping that my film “Aubrey’s Understandings” can shift people’s viewpoints on mental health among young college students in the 21st century. It is a little tricky to see how more people can respond to my student film as I have only shared it with a limited number of audience members. However, I am absolutely looking forward to people’s reception of my film.  

-What would you change in the world?

Changing the world is definitely a job that should not be done alone as it requires many people to help and contribute their inputs. But if I had to change the world, I would want to change people’s viewpoints on power and cooperation. I deeply wish that leaders from all over the world could be more tolerant and understanding of each other because of how working together can progress the entire world. We are unfortunately living in a very polarizing and divided world and it definitely makes me sad to see how many people focus more on superiority than cooperation. But if I had to change the world, I would wish for more people to be more tolerant so society can progress more and more in each generation. 

-Where do you see the film industry going in the next 100 years?

To see where film will go within the next 100 years is another tricky question to answer. The artform of cinema is surprisingly very young compared to other art forms that have existed for centuries. Music, paintings, and literature have existed throughout many different generations and film is only about 130 years old. However within its 130 years, it is very surprising to see how quickly advanced it has gotten in 2022 especially with today’s environment of digital filmmaking and motion capture technology. Despite the advancements of those aspects of film, my wish for the next 100 years of the film industry is to preserve as many more old films as we can. Many filmmakers need to preserve as many old celluloid films as they can since those are the blueprints to how the entire movie was made. They can also be preserved for the next generation of filmmakers and audiences that we will soon see within the next century as it is very important to maintain the appreciation for cinema. 

Yvonne Lucrezia Condrau

-Who is Yvonne Lucrezia Condrau?

My name is Yvonne Lucrezia Condrau, born, raised, and lived in Switzerland until 1993 and then found my way to New York City. I work in 5 languages fluently: English, Swiss German, German, French and Italian.

I’m a Drama/Romance Screenwriter that currently has an eight-time Award-winning Best Unproduced Feature Screenplay “A Scottish Gem.” At the request of Michele M. Rodger, I’ve written the Feature Screenplay and hold the copyright on “A Scottish Gem” which is based on her published novel (Carole’s Story…A Scottish Gem). This compelling, true story with a strong female lead of indomitable spirit and working her magic has all the hallmarks of a drama and great romance that will leave audiences spellbound and touched. It’s a story that people can relate to on some tangible and emotional level even though Carole isn’t the daughter of someone famous but simply “the girl next door.”

I draw inspiration from my vibrant imagination and execute my creative vision with a keen eye for detail.

Once I relocated to New York City, I worked as a Language Instructor, cross-cultural Advisor as well as a Translator for a Nickelodeon/Viacom TV Documentary. I also gained great insight into the industry as a featured Extra in numerous well-known movies/TV Shows such as “The Manchurian Candidate,” “The Interpreter,” “Stay,” “Law & Order CI,” etc.

I hold a Bachelor’s degree in Business, Management & Office Supervision from Lucerne, Switzerland, and New York University, NYC, and studied Advanced Screenplay Writing at New York University, NYC.

Can’t wait to see my eight-time Award-winning Best Unproduced Feature Screenplay “A Scottish Gem” being sold/produced and on the silver screen very soon!

Looking for representation.

Unique traits: – My glass is ALWAYS half full – Addicted to outdoor activities and dancing. Never afraid to speak up for the “underdog.” Volunteered at local Human Trafficking Org in various aftermath healing programs through artwork.

If I hadn’t become a Screenwriter, I definitely would have turned my other passion to professional Gourmet cooking.

-What inspired you to become a Screenwriter?

I’ve been a storyteller ever since I was a little girl and already captured my childhood audience with my compelling stories, wrote for a newspaper but never pursued a career. But then, a few years ago, my wonderful Papa’s passing inspired me to finally dare to follow my dream.

Do you think the cinema can bring a change in the society?

Yes, for sure! But it’s a “two-way street.” It all depends on whether it’s a positive or negative influence because especially our younger generation is much more vulnerable and targeted to be influenced by social media and movies.

What would you change in the world?

Live, let live, end every war, find peace within and in the world, and find a cure for every single disease.

Where do you see the film industry going in the next 100 years?

Bringing the wonderful, amazing classics back! Movies that captured the audience, that had true meaning and their cinematography was true art!

Alci Rengifo

-Who is Alci Rengifo?

On a general level I am a film critic in Los Angeles who is Rotten
Tomatoes-approved. So much of my existence is spent in the darkness of
screening rooms. I also do screenwriting and have written multiple
shorts, pilots and a few features, some have come to life. Others are
yet to be made, as tends to happen in this city where everyone has a
screenplay. Aside from consuming cinema for work and pleasure, I am a
great devourer of books of any kind. The written word keeps me going
in good and darkening times. I am also the co-host of a podcast on
film history and criticism named Breaking the 180.

-What inspired you to become a filmmaker?

I was raised in a working class home with two immigrant parents with
unfulfilled artistic backgrounds. Because we could not afford the
privileges of constant travel, going to the movies was our prime form
of escape. Books and cinema have always provided a window to the world
and to the lives, dreams, nightmares and experiences of other human
beings, from any corner of the world, to me. From a very young age I
always felt the compulsion to tell stories and a drive to visualize
narratives. There is a movie in my memory for nearly every key phase
of my childhood and adolescence. When I was a teenager and discovered
directors like Luis Bunuel and Oliver Stone, I realized how
storytelling and cinema could be both enlightening but also dangerous.
The marriage of ideas and images can be as effective as poetry, even
in a good popcorn entertainment. From a pre-teen stage in my life I
wanted to learn how to do that because movies combine everything I
love including images, music, literature and history. I still consider
myself in a state of learning and have been lucky to find great guides
and mentors like Salvador Carrasco, director of the great Mexican film
The Other Conquest, who has provided the kind of education no film
school can match. He also runs a groundbreaking film program at Santa
Monica College which helped us with so much.

-Do you think the cinema can bring a change in the society?

It may sound naïve, but I do hold on to the spirit of my favorite
directors like Bunuel, Costa-Gavras or Rainer Werner Fassbinder in the
belief that movies can indeed provoke changes in society. The
Surrealists believed cinema could be revolutionary and in our time, I
see the potential is there because we now live in a world completely
dominated by images. We consume moving images every day on our
devices. People probably watch more YouTube than read books now. There
was a time when filmmakers like Pier Paolo Pasolini were both artists
and radical intellectuals. Now we have so much technologically
available to share ideas. Beyond politics, I believe the most
significant change or impact good movies can have is placing the
viewer in someone else’s shoes. A movie can help bring change when it
helps you see the world through the eyes of the other, especially in
these times when social and political conflict is growing. Azizam was
inspired by how most narratives about the ‘60s and ‘70s are dominated
by American or European stories in film and TV. We never get a chance
to see how the rest of the world was experiencing an era still
impacting us today. Iran is still in the news, yet few westerners know
the entire history. Or consider how many Americans know Italian
history from the ‘60s. I doubt many do.

-What would you change in the world?

Since I do not wield sufficient power to change the world, I can
safely be honest and say that I would wish for us as humans to dismiss
the artificial borders and boundaries we are always constructing.
Because I have a father from Colombia and a mother from El Salvador,
who left her country as it approached civil war, and I was born in the
United States, I have never felt comfortable waving around particular
nationalist, ethnic pride. It is true that we have a variety of
cultures, languages and other details specific to where we come from,
but in the end all humans feel desire, rage, love, joy and sorrow. The
beginning of real equality is by looking at someone from a different
background or society and seeing more how you are similar as opposed
to different. I speak from the experience of always feeling like an
outsider. I am far from perfect and so is everyone else, which is also
part of what makes us all beautifully human.

-Where do you see the film industry going in the next 100 years?

It is very hard to tell because the world seems to be changing at such
a quick pace. The pandemic has changed the theater system in the
United States irrevocably and streaming has now created a wider
panorama of options. New shows premiere by the dozens every week and
the cinemas now seem to cater exclusively to spectacle. On the
business side from what I see as an entertainment journalist, the
theaters will become precisely spectacle houses where people will pay
the ever growing ticket prices to see grand experiences worth their
money. There will still be small theaters showing international and
independent films, but the majority of those kinds of films will find
their audiences in streaming options like the Criterion Channel. A
century from now we will most likely see a complete fusion of the
virtual reality experience and film-viewing. You won’t just watch
Titanic. You will probably be able to feel as if you are standing
there on the ship looking at Leonardo Di Caprio and Kate Winslet.
Cinema will be a fully immersive experience in 100 years. That is, of
course, if we have not pushed civilization into terrible cataclysms.
But I remain positive at heart.

Isaac Lawrence

-Who is Isaac Lawrence?

I am an award-winning British writer/director specialising in low-budget short films.

In 2020, during my graduate year in Film Production at the University of Portsmouth, I wrote and directed ‘The Village’, a horror film collaboration with the amazing Prop Box Youth Theatre, which went on to win Best Horror Short in London, Ottawa and Campania, Italy and Best Male Director in Berlin. ‘The Village’ has since gone on to become a trilogy.

My day job is editing and assisting in the production of TV shows for Ustreme, a small streaming site started by comedian Jim Davidson, specialising in comedy programmes and military Veteran chat shows. I also run Prop Box’s weekly filmmaking academy with regular cameraman and sound recordist on my films, Charlie Lubbock.

Other ventures of mine outside the horror genre include comedy, drama and experimental films, all of which can be viewed for free on my YouTube channel: Isaac Lawrence Films or website:

-What inspired you to become a filmmaker?

As cliché as it may be, I’ve wanted to make my own movies since I was a child. I was really into model trains and would use a home camcorder to make my own Thomas & Friends-style films, so it’s something I’ve been destined to do as far back as I can remember really. Then, in the early teenage years, myself and Hayden Davey, who now works with me on many projects in the sound and music departments, made our own comedy web series we both starred in way before we knew what we were doing, but that’s how I learned to edit. My dad was a great sport at that time – we’d always rope him into giving some over-the-top performance the minute he’d get in from work when all he’d want to do is nap.

As I grew from a boy into a man, I began to watch a larger variety of films spanning numerous genres. I always knew I was going to make films, but it was the art of constructing a powerful narrative, atmosphere and often message in so many different ways that made me realise what it was I was going to put on the screen. There were serious hard-hitting films that really made me think about things we take for granted – the last line in Ruggero Deodato’s ‘Cannibal Holocaust’ has and always will stick with me. On the other end of the spectrum, there’s Edgar Wright’s ‘Shaun of the Dead’, which I remember made me belly laugh for hours, but also brought up some great points about horror tropes – why do we never use the term zombie? Those two films are very different, but they both get messages across and both tell a good story with very emotional moments – it’s this craft that inspired me to put my own imagination and thoughts on screen.

I am also hugely grateful to my parents and late grandparents for contiually giving me the inspiration to pursue my dream as a filmmaker and to never quit in times of uncertainty. Also to Prop Box’s Caroline, Sarah and their phenomenal young actors and actresses who if they hadn’t trusted me with some of the crazy ideas I bring to them, we never would have been able to pull off the award-winning films we created together – they inspire me everyday.

-Do you think the cinema can bring a change in society?

Absolutely, one hundred percent cinema can bring changes in society. With technology at our fingertips our attention spans are diminishing and cinema’s a unique and entertaining form of delivering and hearing out issues and ideas of how we can improve upon society, let one know they aren’t alone or just allow one to get the healthy dosage of escapism we all need.

It’s also really interesting to see the reactions of an audience – we can understand what makes certain people excited, scared, tense, sad and compare that to real world situations. The invention of cinema really is extremely powerful.

-What would you change in the world?

As a night owl, I wouldn’t mind coffee shops staying open later. I get caught up writing late into the night and they’d probably make the budget of a short film out of me in just one evening.

On a more serious note, I think the rise of social media has made it a little too easy for people to take sides on various issues without much room for debate. We’re long past the days of only a few channels on television where everyone saw everything, everyone saw the political debate on the six o’clock news and everyone came to their own conclusion based on that information. I don’t think it’s unfair to say that people are rather militant with their views these days and, as a young filmmaker, it can be difficult to suggest an alternative viewpoint without a lot of backlash, but I don’t blame the people themselves. Nowadays, people might see another’s one-sided ideal online, agree with it and pay little to no mind about alternative ideas and solutions or whether or not there are downsides. There’s a great documentary on Netflix called ‘The Social Dilemma’ that demonstrates the issues really well. So I think if I could change one thing about the world, it’d be that people would be less idealistic and more open to debate. Perhaps I’d close down social media sites for a day a week or something – it’s a difficult solution.

One of my upcoming projects will be delving deep into topics like these such as cancel culture and free speech in a rather unconventional way, so it will be interesting to see how those who watch it react when it’s eventually out.

-Where do you see the film industry going in the next 100 years?

There was a little panic during the pandemic when it looked like people were never going to return to the cinema. Thankfully, we’ve seen recently that cinema is still in demand with major hits like ‘Top Gun: Maverick’, which has grossed over a billion dollars at the box office so far or the latest ‘Scream’ film, which had a much lower budget but made a profit of over one hundred million dollars. So, luckily I don’t think the big screen is going away anytime soon, but it certainly has given way to more home entertainment releases, which may be really good for indie filmmakers since streaming services are much more likely to pay attention to projects that are fantastic and unique, but their low budget may show a bit too much to go onto a cinema screen.

I think we’re going to start seeing more independent films and shows on on demand services, especially since almost everyone can make a movie with a six inch mobile phone they carry around everywhere in their pocket. Perhaps that will make it more difficult to stand out from the crowd, but on the plus side it wouldn’t surprise me if it created more jobs and therefore more opportunities for up-and-coming filmmakers in this very competitive industry.

It wouldn’t shock me to see virtual reality films becoming more common too, which would be great considering how easy it is to be distracted by a phone or other such item; removing the option to get distracted and actually in the film’s world will bring back the immersion it’s too easy to break out of nowadays.

Whatever the case, cinema isn’t going anywhere and people will always be starving for more.

Takaaki Watanabe

-Who is Takaaki Watanabe?

Sometimes he is a Japanese film maker, sometimes a university employee, sometimes a common husband celebrating anniversaries, and sometimes a kind father of two young children. In short, he is one man everywhere.

-What inspired you to become a filmmaker?

When I was a student, I saw Federico Fellini’s “La Strada”. It was a wonderful cinematic experience. It was my first exposure to the magic of cinema. It was the moment I first became aware of filmmakers.

-Do you think the cinema can bring a change in the society?

I think that today’s films have become content and their influence has diminished. However, I believe that films can be a “place” for people.

Films can empower you by being there for you. Then we may be able to create a healthy world.

-What would you change in the world?

I want a world without war. Japan is the only nation to have been hit by nuclear bombs.

Japanese people must always show their strong will to oppose war.

-Where do you see the film industry going in the next 100 years?

I am particularly concerned about Japanese films. The current situation in the Japanese film industry is very bad. Poor working environment, power harassment, sexual harassment…

Film actors are an endangered species, major films are not being made, there is a continuing labor shortage because people cannot make money from films, and the number of mini-theaters with artistic programming is decreasing.

Unfortunately, the film industry in Japan is no longer in the shape it once was. It is no longer possible to produce directors like Ozu, Kurosawa, Mizoguchi, and Naruse.

Numerous films are still being made, but most of them are low-budget. To begin with, the government lacks understanding of the arts. There is little environment for young people to grow up. If this situation continues, 100 years from now, Japanese cinema may perish. We must prevent that from happening.

Lucia Edwards

-Who is Lucia Edwards ?

That’s a very interesting question. I guess people are all the  sum of many things, our perception of ourselves and how others see us. You could say we’re all shaped by our environment and  childhood, and perhaps also by  our destiny and purpose to name a few. I’d like to think I’m thoughtful , honest, with the strong sense of humour and super curious.

-What inspired you to become a filmmaker ?

I’ve always enjoyed telling stories. My mum is a writer and I grew up in a very artistic, although academic environment. I was obsessed with observing and telling the truth about human conditions and our own psyche, what makes people who they are . Film and theatre had a huge influence,  saw it as a rather cathartic experience . But I was mainly a dreamer.  All the characters from the literature were very visual to me. So I guess  being focused on the story telling and bringing something from my head to the screen answers your question.

I’ve collaborated on many artistic projetcs , from co-writing to producing and acting.

To name one was” The Power of love “ , directed by Ilmar Taska and eventually put on by The courtyard theatre. It was very exciting  coming up with the concept and plot and then being lucky  premiere it  in the theatre. I felt super blessed Ilmar came on board as a director and a co-producer.

To become a filmaker never came natural to me, until I co-wrote “The red painted shoes”.  Since everything was so live in my imagination, from the interior to the atmosphere , to the lines being delivered, I’ve decided to direct it.

-Do you think a cinema can bring a change in the society?

Cinema has the power to inspire people and people have the power to change themselves, they’re society so yes.

-What would you change in the world ?

I would like the film industry to make timeless films and stop trying to be trendy.

To tell beautiful and moving stories.

-Where do you see the industry going in the next 100 years ?

I think 3D and VR will make more immersive experiences and they will add to cinema, but hopefully add to it, not replace it.

Josh McCausland

-Who is Josh McCausland?

Josh McCausland is a multiple award-winning filmmaker and composer based in San Diego, California. He started his journey into art at a very young age through painting and drawing. But, after he picked up a camera he knew he wanted to pursue filmmaking as a career.

-What inspired you to become a filmmaker?

I grew up around photography. My mother was always taking photos and I loved the idea of capturing real life into a frame. I became really interested in film as a medium pretty young when watching movies. I never wanted them to end. So, I started drawing and learning composition. I started making small videos in high school and then the rest was history. 

-Do you think the cinema can bring a change in the society?

Definitely. I think getting people together in a room to listen to something that ties them together can open the conversation up to talk. There’s a lot that separates us these days, and I believe cinema is something we can all agree is something that is necessary.

-What would you change in the world?

I think it’s easier to say what I wouldn’t change in the world, since the world we live in is an absolute dumpster fire. (Sorry that’s not at all helpful, but it’s unfortunately true.) If I had to choose one thing, it would be empathy. I wish more people had empathy in all seats of power. If we had basic respect and decency towards people of all walks of life, things might be a bit better. 

-Where do you see the film industry going in the next 100 years?

I feel like it will only become more sought after as a medium. People will continue to share their personal stories as a way to open the conversation for people to connect.