Spotlight: An interview with LAFA winner Rodolfo Moro ("Kapadokya")
Born in Argentina, you now reside in Dubai! Can you share a little bit about your background,
and how did you become a filmmaker?
I am Argentinian and I spent a great part of my life there, and I grew up making short films in stop motion on my own. I just had a VHS camera and wax handmade dolls and tried to give them life and make stories with them. Eventually, I use to use my dogs as characters, and make their costume, for epic movies of the Roman Empire. As I grew up, I knew my passion was making movies, I study film making in Buenos Aires. And years later, I had an idea to make a documentary about a same-sex couple and their children, when one of my best friends had the desire of having children but still was illegal. I found it a good and challenging topic to touch and how to show these lives to the world with love and respect to the world.
What was the first piece of filming equipment that you owned?
It was when I was fourteen years old. A JVC camera I remember, it recorded in super VHS cassettes. It was amazing because at that moment I had no computer and I had to edit the movie and choose the best shoot, at the same moment of filming.
As a cinematographer with 16 years of experience, you've worked a lot with brands to promote
their business effectively. In your opinion, what are the key ingredients for a promising video, and what should cinematographers remember as they walk into a set?
Every time you work for a brand or a company you need to know what they want. And what things from your experience you can provide to put their product in the first place. Like if you want that, or if this is something you were looking for a long time. Never think you’re less than anyone. My advice is everyone no matter of age or years of experience, can provide new and fresh ideas. Everyone comes from different backgrounds or experiences, and what you can provide is very important in the right place and moment.
Let's talk about your documentary, Families Like Yours ("Familias Por Igual"), which focuses on
the lives of LGBTQ Families. What sparked the idea to spotlight the experiences and struggles, pre-and post-marriage quality in Argentina?
I think I answered this in advance before. It was a boom in my country at that moment and my best friend was having this dream to make a family with her partner. We used to share beautiful conversations about the world accepting a same-sex couple and the idea came to my mind right away. I needed tos how the country and world there are changes happening. I need to show these families, their lives, how they deal with society, and how they raise their children. One of the great questions at that moment in Argentina was how gay people were going to raise children, and if it affected their sexuality. So, it was a good question to ask families that have experienced the struggles and judgment of others, allowing me to show there is no difference in raising a family they are just like every other family. Also, with the help of specialists in the topic to provide in the documentary a real professional view and ensure I am creating good material to share in schools and universities, and with people around the world. Sometimes films are made for the moment, other times they can transcend and watch it through the years.
How did you find the subjects, and how did you convince them to tell their stories to the
camera and basically share their struggles with the entire world?
It was a hard process. Trying to convince the families at the beginning was not easy because we were filmmakers coming from another country and trying to tell their stories to the world, be in their home. People are afraid of being judged and do not trust others in general. I didn’t come to America to do the first project of families. I already made “Familias Por Igual” in Argentina in 2011, and it was my first project with same-sex parents and their kids. This movie genuinely exposed the topic in a good way, and all is about love basically, without using the criticism or judging arguments during the debates, usually coming from different sectors, like religion. It was very important to show the families I already have experience with the topic and filming the documentary, and they were able to visualize what I wanted to achieve with them in the second version of a movie that I made before.
What was the audience's reaction, in Argentina and in general? In what ways did the film
contribute to the LGBTQ rights movement in Argentina?
Amazing. We had support from people looking for exposure to shed light on such a topic that no one generally discussed, also we had the collaboration of famous artists with years of experience in the entertainment industry. It was a huge surprise for me. Just an independent filmmaker who was making his first film project. When I met Sandra Mihanovich (a famous singer from Argentina) and she told me “The trailer of the movie inspired her”.
Your latest film, Kapadokya, just won Best Microfilm at LAFA! Although it's very short, it's very
inspiring and thought-provoking about one's life. Why did you decide to make this movie? Did you plan it in advance, before you flew to Turkey, or was it spontaneous?
It was spontaneous. It was not planned. I just brought the drone with me. I always heard about these amazing places that other people told me about, caves and balloons, it sounded phenomenal. So, I was ready to go and take some footage of the place, but I’ve never expected it was going to end an inspirational short film, with more than one month of post-production, working on lighting and effects.
The cinematography, especially the ariel shots are phenomenal! Did you shoot everything on
your own? How did you go about it?
I did everything on my own, nobody was helping around with it. The drone has a tracking mode and is amazing because you can walk, and it will follow you. I had to play with the angles in the more challenging places. The more you know about photography, frames, and lights, you will know where and how to put the drone and do amazing shootings. When I finished, I realized I got wow, and amazing footage, because I took advantage of the place where I was. Of course, the riskier you are the better the results you are going to get. I had situations where I just sent the drone so far, not realizing it was low on battery, and I lost it in the middle of nowhere, just because I wanted to get a specific shot.
What was the editing process like? You probably had quite a lot of footage to go through! Did
you write the dialogue before shooting, during shooting, or during the editorial process?
The editing process was a long process. I decided to do color grade and add effects, to add more dramatic results and to make the message on the video more intense. The magic happened as I was capturing the footage. I had some key inspirational quotes I personally liked in my mind as I saw the footage, they just fit the footage. I did not have a script or plan; I just used the inspiration of the quotes I had in my mind to continue to capture footage that ended up creating and completing a vision in my mind. Putting it all together happened in the editorial process.
The musical choice is very fitting for the mood, and it's uplifting and powerful. Can you talk
about how you found the right music for this inspirational piece?
The music for my films is everything to attract attention. I find ways to obtain the rights to music because that’s the basis of completing the film project. Some artists will reach out and offer music, some I must contact and ask if I can use their music for a film project. Other times I have my own musicians to compose the original soundtrack for the projects.
The film really inspired the viewer to live every day to the fullest potential. How do you practice
this advice daily? What is your schedule normally like, and what do you do in order to achieve the goals you're passionate about?
I honestly try to live in the present without many plans. I learned that when you have expectations sometimes it can result and go in the opposite direction of what you planned. I had one of the most difficult situations in my life years ago. Since I was a kid always dreamed about living in a certain place and reaching certain goals. When I finally reached the place, I dreamed of all my life, I realized that it was not what I expected, and everything was more difficult and challenging. After some unfortunate events, my life had to turn in another direction. I had no choice of living my life trying to learn how I can be happy in the present moment and had to accept what was irreversible.
Where do you see yourself in ten years? What kind of projects will you be working on, and what
is your dream project?
I want to be recognized as a Director and Film Producer, remembered for the messages in my movies, to inspire and motivate, make people believe in their own power. To help them think outside of the “system”. Inspiring people to have a stronger mindset is one way to start a change in this world of injustices, bring light to the corrupt political and government processes of the world, and to any other systems that weaken people’s mindset. All we do as humans are live in a routine of productivity to feed a system that creates a cycle that we cannot evolve and explore our true potential. Some spend their lives without noticing; others discover we are living in this matrix. It depends on each individual of how they handle and survive in it.
What are you currently working on?
I am currently working on my first feature fictional film containing parts of my personal story and life experiences. Enhancing it ensures there is more intense, drama, action, and suspense. Creating a short film of just one minute and taking a lot of work to make people keep their focus, a feature film must be a sequence of good short films altogether. This keeps people interested and involved, building suspense to the premiere of the feature film.
Where can our readers follow more of your work?
Business Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/dk_realizadores/
Business Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/DkRealizadores1
Personal Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100069433081993
Personal Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/rodolfo_moro/
Is there anything you'd like to add, or anyone you wish to thank?
Thanks to Duncan for making the trip to Kapadokya, Turkey possible and being a great supporter in my career. And thanks to Douglas to put light on this project and exposed it to the film Festivals. Without him, the recognitions and awards would not have been possible.