Today it's with great pleasure that I am offering you an exclusive interview with Julio Ponce Palmieri, Producer | Writer | Director | Editor | Actor | Cinematographer | Composer... Julio knows his craft and has a real passion for cinema. He directed 2 amazing shorts that you can enjoy underneath, followed by the exclusive interview.
Don't hesitate to follow him on twitter, etc... the links are in the interview... enjoy!
1/ Julio Ponce Palmieri, Could you please introduce yourself?
First of all, allow me to thank you for this wonderful opportunity. Iʼm a filmmaker living in Canada, originally from Guatemala. My film journey began in 2004 and it has been a memorable and wonderful experience.
2/ A few years ago you came up wit the excellent web series “2012”, in between you created another web series and over half a dozen short films and now 2 shorts radically different: MEMENTO MORI and MEMENTO IRAE. Could you please tell us more about them respectively?
Yes, “2012” was very successful web series. We managed to get over 1 million views and also were given a Webby Honoree for the Drama category in the 16th edition.
My intention was to follow up with two short films that would capture the essence of the human condition, to capture a specific moment where lives change and decisions influence the actions of the characters. “Memento Mori” is a crime drama that deals with the philosophy of change. It captures the moment where a criminal has an epiphany and realizes that everything he has done in his life has meant nothing. “Memento Irae” is a fast paced action crime drama which also captures a moment, without spoiling it, that pushes the story forward into a web of betrayal, revenge and hate.
3/ MEMENTO MORI is my favourite I have to admit, maybe due to my age and my own tastes. Why a dialogue? You will have to admit that It is quiet rare nowadays.
The reason “Memento Mori” needed to be dialogue driven is because ever since the beginning of time, humans have always wrestled between the good and evil. The story then shapes into the characterʼs dialogue in a way that the audience can discover the internal changes that need to occur for the inevitable revelation in the end of the film. It was a great experience to travel to Los Angeles and work with Bo Roberts and Michelle Czernin on this project. Carlos Ramsey was behind the camera and he also did a fantastic job capturing the moments needed to deliver the message.
4/ To stay with MEMENTO MORI, where did you get the inspiration?
The story is strongly inspired by Aesopʼs tales and from a few of them, the characters were crafted in a way that would fit into the story and also deliver the powerful and timeless message of those tales.
5/ Now MEMENTO IRAE, totally different, the editing, mise en scene... a fast paced short compared to MEMENTO MORI. May I ask why?
“Memento Irae” was purposely done that way to contrast “Memento Mori”. “Memento Irae”is told in a way that the actions drive the story and the music becomes a vital part of the mood of the film. Also, the story spans a lot longer, which brought about splitting the film into small parts. A quicker way of telling a long story, with the hope of bringing about a feature film version one day.
6/ MEMENTO IRAE has a great feel, almost grindhouse I would say. I was particularly impressed by the power of the dialogues, allowing to suggest parts of the story and leaving it to the imagination of the viewer. Once again, what was the inspiration behind the short?
The overall inspiration was to capture that moment where the character changes forever.And that moment, ever so important, is what drives forward every single action into a carefully executed plan. But, the strongest message to deliver is that no matter what happens to you in life, anger will not only destroy those you target, but will also destroy the carrier of that emotion. This film was a super fun experience, working with new faces such as Andrea Valencia and Ross Sweeney. And also some familiar faces like Danesh Hanbury and Triston Fanfair, who have been in many of my productions.
7/ If you had to describe both short films in 1 word only which one would it be and why?
“Memento Mori”-----Philosophical. Because the message it carries is delivered through an ancient way of dialogue, by using tales as examples for real life.
“Memento Irae”----Intense. Because the images, pacing, timing, music is meant to give that emotion, which in turn emulates the intensity of anger, which in the end is hard to control.
8/ Julio, are you working on a new project at the moment?
The creative wheels are always spinning. Iʼm planning on doing a final installment of thist ype of film titled “Memento Vivere”. Thereʼs also another web series that is ready to go into production, which here in Canada.
9/ During the creative process, which is the one you like the most? writing? Casting? Directing? Editing...
Ideally, Iʼd love to write and direct my own work. It would be great to have a team of producers who can put everything together, so I can then focus completely on my vision. There are way more talented individuals out there who specialize in post-production, so I cannot imagine how much value their input and abilities would add to the production.
10/ What is the best way to follow your work?
People can follow me on Twitter if they want to hear the day-to-day of my filmmaking life. https://twitter.com/jponcepalmieri
My IMDb is always a great source for photos, new projects, details about past productions, etc. http://www.imdb.com/name/nm1900981/
And Vimeo is the best and easiest way to access my films. They are available for viewing anytime. https://vimeo.com/jponcepalmieri
11/ Where do you see yourself in 10 years from now?
Currently, thereʼs a fantastic script I co-wrote with Max Ryan (from Death Race, Sex and the City 2), which is an adaptation of Victor Hugoʼs “The Hunchback of Notre Dame”. A few months ago, it was announced that Chuck Russell (The Mask, Scorpion King) was on board to direct it. So, if all goes well with “The Hunchback” then my films will become bigger, always hoping for a smooth transition into the big leagues in Hollywood, and a permanent stay.
12/ What advice would you give to a future artist that wants to start shooting his first short film or web series?
To first, research how to go about it, in order to avoid many mistakes that will naturally happen due to lack of experience. Once comfortable with the information, then preparation is key and simplicity is paramount in order to ensure that the filmmaker is not overwhelmed. Most of my first productions were done on one location with two, three or four actors. Then, one can grow from that with future productions. The tools are available out there to the filmmaker, but what is not available is the discipline, the hard work and the determination that one needs in order to complete a project. That only can be found within oneself.
I wish to thank Julio for his time, great interview. Damien Ahuir.