Imitation is the most dangerous form of flattery
Interview With Marilyn | Short Film | Drama | B&W | 15’42”
In November 2017, I woke up in the middle of the night. I was sweating and my heart was beating fast, but I didn’t have a fever…or at least not the kind of fever that requires a doctor. I sat by my desk and wrote an Idea that was put together in my sub-conscious: Since my previous project was taking so long to complete and so many doors were closing on my nose, I was completely frustrated. So I wrote a story about frustration, about struggling to finish a dream project and yet seeing it falling apart. I wanted audiences to feel that: frustration. I thought that, if Kubrick was able to make a film about not giving audiences what they expect, then I can tell a story that will end in an ellipsis. Of course, that would leave audiences scratching their heads. So a conversation with screenwriter Eduardo Albuquerque made me change my mind. He made some changes to the ending and tightened the rest so that now our film has that “Aha!” moment, which is the basis of all short films. I still believe I will release the two versions on DVD/Blu Ray sometime.
The next day I called actress Rosalinda Rodriguez and told her I had an Idea, and before I even told her, she said she was ready to do it.
And so INTERVIEW WITH MARILYN was born.
Of course it took some months so prepare. With the help of producer Aurelina Romero, we brought in Director of Photography Gabriel Goldberg, Art Director Rita Abreu, and Composer Maria del Sol. The rest of the team was completed with our usual collaborator Luba Parada. The cast was made up of actors Mireya Kilmon, in the role of Talk-Show Host Deborah Domartin, Migue García as “The Director”, Mark Kroczynski as Inspector Stewart and the special collaboration of actress, director and writer Neher-Jacqueline Briceño. The other version of the film also has the collaboration of Scott King.
By April 2018, we already had all the material in the can, and post production began. In August, the first teaser was shown during the Indie Wide Film Convention in Hollywood, Florida, and the soundtrack was ready early September for the last cut and the beginning of social media marketing.
And so, the Interview with Marilyn begins its search for audiences.
“…I thought Rosalinda Rodriguez was very good. She owned it. And, I really, really liked the cinematography and the art direction. You really created a dream like period piece almost. It was a bit surreal. The part of the cop saying "She's just another Latin with Hollywood dreams" really resonated and brought it all home for me. I basically walked away with that being my favorite theme/sentiment. It's a heavy subject matter, which merits deeper thought.”
-Freddy Rodriguez, Director of Malabar.
The human soul is at center stage, unveiling a strange and unsettling universe of feelings and actions.
agatino zurría | Founder
Clovis | Short Film | Psychological Drama | Color | 12'
In a little house in the middle of nowhere, an aging man walks outside with a can of beer, followed by a younger woman, on a rocker tank top, who carries an ax and soon kills him in the act. What follows is the whys and the so.
Clovis is a minimalistic short that focuses on the mystery of people we don't know but think we know. We spend our life guessing what the others do or think. Why someone should go to jail and why someone is completely innocent. We feel empathic with certain people and repulsed by others. Yet, we don't have the full story to sustain our opinions or feelings.
To me, looking at a girl in the cash register of a supermarket is a pandora's box, filled with stories that I don't know and will never know.
Also, our short is concerned about the heritage we leave our children. I remember Costa-Gavras film Music Box, in which a lawyer defends her father from unjust war crimes, until she realizes he did commit them. Her concern is the learnings of her son, exposed to such a monster. Clovis is a kid, trapped in this little house, absorbing the nonsense of his surroundings. The story can never end there, but many years later, when Clovis psyche comes to the surface.
This short stars Demitri Vardoulias as Clovis, Lizandra Parra, Mireya Kilmon, Mark Kroczynski and Angela Carbonaro, and it has been produced by Aurelina Romero, the Camera work is by Yessana Vivas, production assistant is Johana Vera, assistant director is Luba Parada, and the director, screenwriter, producer and editor is Agatino Zurría.
Our productions come from dreams, ideas, wishes, hearsay, and observation
AUREA | Short film | Steampunk Retro Sci-Fi | Color | 14'
In the early hours of a rainy and dark day, a group of people leave their houses and run to the train station before anyone can notice. They will escape to a sunnier world, to have a better tomorrow. They're not alone.
With as little information as possible, we try to convey a sense of chaos and hope, and what a new world looks like when reached for the group of steampunk immigrants. Yes, our short film, as every Sci-Fi, mirrors a part of our reality today, so that we can see it with different eyes, in a distance, and reflect.
Aurea is a collaboration between a group of artists who are associated with the worldwide Steampunk movement. It stars Glenda Galeano, Mark Kroczynski, Annie Jones, Sandra Portal Andreu and a long list of actors from South Florida. It was Produced by Aurelina Romero, the camera work was by Lester Llanes, with assistant director Luba Parada and it was written, directed, produced and edited by Agatino Zurría. Locations were used at the Gold Coast Railroad Museum, in Miami, as well as Miami Beach and Wynwood. Miami stood in as the corrupted decadent world as well as the new and sunny hope for these characters.
Each actor brought their own wardrobe creation, and most of them also brought in their industrial gadgets, to protect them against an unknown force that might be waiting for them while hoping for a better tomorrow.
Interesting trivia: we needed to face Sunny Miami for a Rainy world, and we were talking with experts to do it in post. No need for that. It miraculously rained on cue.
The first cut of the film was presented during the All-day steampunk event RAIL at the Gold Coast Railroad Museum, created by artists Nadia Desjardins and Sheri A Friedman. It was shown to a full house of steampunk enthusiasts and it was an official selection at the Sci Fi Miami Film Festival, where we were awarded with Outstanding Achievement in Direction of a short.
Faun Moon | Romantic Fantasy | B&W - Color
Interview Me | Drama | Color
La Mesa Está Servida | Comedy | Color
El Viaje Sin Retorno de Marialma Centeno | Drama | Color | 13’42”
Marilyn In Miami | Feature | Psychological drama | B&W | In Production
With the promise of becoming a Star in Hollywood, Marilyn Moreno accepts the invitation of her online friend Jimmy, and flies to Miami where she gets stuck in a bad relationship and miserable immigrant life, before she takes matters in a more dramatic way, towards her dreams.
Marilyn Moreno was born to become a superstar in mythical Hollywood, California. Too bad she lives south of the border and spends most of her life looking up to that promising future. Until she meets online Miami native Jimmy, who immediately promises to help her fulfill her dreams, and find true love at the same time. So, naturally, she flies to Miami, where the mundane trappings of life, being rejected in every casting call and working as a living statue in Miami Beach, give her a crash course on broken dreams. She soon realizes her career is going nowhere, and Jimmy seems perfectly happy about it. But Marilyn didn't go through all this trouble to die on the shore. She is determined to get what she wants. One way, or another.
The process of bringing Marilyn to Miami, without the safety net of a studio.
After a full year saving money for my own move to Los Angeles, to pursue my film career, I decided that the digital era does not require such jump. So I stayed in Florida and wrote the structure of a short film which would precede my first feature project. The original name was Marilyn Moreno and it would deal with a latin woman who tries to become Marilyn Monroe even if she is physically her complete oposite. The idea was to force the audience to change their views, first laughing at Moreno's ridiculous ordeal, but then siding with her because of her unbreakable determination. The first draft was completed and I started my work as a Hamelin Piper: hypnotizing actors and film crew into joining me in this project.
As I envisioned it first, the actress for Marilyn Moreno should have features that are completely oposite to those of Marilyn, so the transformation with make up, wig and dress would look like misplaced. I interviewed several actresses and, as it happens, some plans fell through because of scheduling impossibilities.
I then had a vision: Rosalinda Rodriguez! Mexican-American actress, whom I had already thought of for my future project. So I asked her and sent her the script. It took her more than three weeks to respond, because she was out of town. She was delighted and asked me what character was I thinking for her. I couldn't believe she didn't know I wanted her to play our Marilyn. She, on the other hand, couldn't believe I was offering such an incredibly rich character. So, we had our Marilyn on board. Soon after we started bringing a DP, Sound mixer, an Art Director and a Make up artist. The crew team was very small and the production had to be kept at a minimum, or I wouldn't be able to make it with the little money I had.
In September 2015 we were already shooting our scenes in diverse locations: Lincoln Road, Homestead, Coral Gables, Sunny Isles. We rented a blue and white 57' Bel Air from an independent company in Fort Lauderdale and I drove the car to the locations, twice.
I was honored of the cast I was able to bring to the project: Neher Jacqueline Briceño, Principal acting coach at Adriana Barraza's Black Box theater was playing Marilyn's mother, Ika Santamaría, an all-terrain filmmaker I admire, had a small part as a theater director, Mitch Lemos, with whom I had already work on a previous project also participated. And with them, Sandra Lucia Portal Andreu, Amy Schultz, Karen Chimato, Melanie Crim, Annie Jones, and more, joined right after.
As the DP, Rosalinda and I delved deeper into the psyche of our character and the core of our story, we developed new scenes, which in turns ended up bringing more characters to the story, so, by November, we already knew our project had grown into a feature, which required a continuous revision of our script to keep it tight and never lose its objective.
In December of that year, the production came to a halt. Several production interruptions were adding more time than planned to the project, which required more commitment from the cast and crew. Some were able to make time for it, others simply had to abort. Because of the new scope of our production, I decided to suspend production in order for me to reorganize. Little did I know this process would take me more than 3 years.
With the project in hibernation I have been able to bring actor Scott J. King for the role of Jimmy, Marilyn's love interest (and antagonist). He is also one of our Executive Producers, helping us make the project happen. We also brought in our new producer: Aurelina Romero, Co-owner of the first French independent TV Station in Miami, and an experienced Venezuelan producer, Assistant Director, Script and Continuity: Luba Parada, DP Lester Llanes and possibly Photographer Yessana Viva who would take turns as DP and Camera Operator, Assistant Production: Roberto Figueroa managing locations and props, Sound Recordist Arturo Muñoz Guijón, Art Director Rita Abreu, and Jeanny Arreaza and Angela Carbonaro renewed their participation as Make Up Artist and Wardrobe designer.
But the process is slow and it requires commitment and hard work. As soon as all the pieces are put together and we are all in the same page, Marilyn In Miami will be able to raise from its ashes. It's not the first or last project that needs time for its completion, specially since we don't have the support of a studio or any investors.
True to the story of this film, we are stuck in Miami, still with our dream of taking our project to a safe port, which we will do.
CAST & CREW
Until the End of Time | Ariel Nan
In 2016, singer Ariel Nan approached us with a request to create a music video for him along with a rock band he was leading at the moment. Apparently, he had had some conversations with record companies and it was important for them to have at least a video clip to show. So we presented Ariel the script and less than a month later, we were shooting in diverse locations in Calle 8 and Homestead. The band includes, apart from lead singer Ariel Nan, Tico Ram (Guitar), Wilson Perez (Drums) and Guillermo Vega (Bass). We brought actress Jeanny Arreaza for the "story" section of the video, and Sergio Castro (Actor/Biker) to close the video, which was shot in a weekend.
The video has gotten more than 10,000 views on YouTube and praise from Rolling Stones Magazine in a comment.
Te Vi | Cris Campocasso
Funeral for Past Loves | María del Sol
In 2018, Chilean Composer and Pianist María del Sol composed the music for our short film INTERVIEW WITH MARILYN, and we discussed the creation of a music video for one of her personal compositions: Funeral for Past Loves, which she integrates in a series of compositions for her upcoming CD.
We shot the scenes for this video in Key West, Coral Gables and Miami Beach, at the Marseille hotel, with the help of Art Director Rita Abreu, Co-Produced by Aurelina Romero & Agatino Zurría. The video is still not available.
In June 2017, Aurelina Romero produced a music video we shot for young talent Cris Campocasso, who was initiating a campaign to build his brand in South Florida and globally, which included this Music Video. We shot in Bonjour America TV Studios and diverse locations in Calle 8, Key Biscayne and Lincoln Road, Miami Beach with a group of young actors and a full team behind the cameras. The theme of the video is a romance between two teens, who remind us of the good old times, when love was innocent and playful. This story fit perfectly with the song, which talks about love at first sight, with a bachata style.
The theme is sold through the Apple Store.
AFRIQUE | Gilberto Ferrer
In June 2019, we shot the video for Gilberto Ferrer’s very ethnic composition AFRIQUE, which melts tropical sounds with drums that come directly from Africa. The video features Rafael “El Pollo” Brito, internationally renown Venezuelan musician along with José “Pokemon” Ferrer at the drums and Rafael Querales at the Bass.
Produced by Aurelina Romero through Ideal Music Box at the Bonjour America TV Studios in Calle 8, Miami, Florida, the video is obsessed with the rhythm created by Gilberto and his guest musicians.
It will be released soon.