Enhancing The Visual Landscape of Urban Communities with Art
Interview with Writer/Director/Producer Dan Perez
Congratulations! Why did you make your film?
I currently live in South Florida but I grew up in the Bronx and I was there visiting my mother a few summers ago when I came across an artist online who was also based in the Bronx. His website stated that he was going to be working on a mural project the upcoming weekend with a few other veteran street artists. I contacted him via email and asked if I could film the project and he said yes. I'm a big street art fan and I had always wanted to film a documentary in my home town of the Bronx, so this was a perfect combination.
Imagine I’m a member of the audience. Why should I watch this film?
For anyone interested in graffiti and the history of street art in the Bronx, this film is a perfect match. It also illustrates one person's motivation to help improve his community. Moreover, the film features an interview with Bronx graffiti legend John "Crash" Matos, who curated the iconic exhibition "Graffiti Art Success for America" at Fashion MODA in 1980.
How do personal and universal themes work in your film?
I grew up in the Bronx with graffiti all around me; the trains, alleys and handball courts were art galleries for me. Living now in South Florida, I've seen the power of street art in Miami's popular Wynwood Arts District and how it can revitalize a community. The veteran graffiti artists in my film speak on the progression of graffiti to street art, which I personally found quite interesting.
How have the script and film evolved over the course of their development?
Being a one-man film team (I'm the director, cinematographer and editor) has its advantages, especially when shooting. Being the editor, I can create the edits in my own head as I'm shooting. I knew the type of story I wanted to tell and shot the type of footage that was most relevant. Also, in my interviews with the artists, I knew what types of answers would help best tell my story so it was about coming up with the proper questions. Ultimately, my film was made up of a three-day weekend shoot where I shot the artists at work as well as the interviews and a return trip to the Bronx a few months later for a final interview with the film's main character, J. "SinXero" Beltran.
What type of feedback have you received so far?
All positive for the most part, especially from the older people (40+) who remember the NYC graffiti days and younger viewers who love street art.
Has the feedback surprised or challenged your point of view?
I have found it interesting that there are hardcore "graffiti heads" who have yet to embrace or appreciate the onset of the legal street art movement.
What are you looking to achieve by having your film more visible on www.wearemovingstories.com?
Like I said before, I'm a one-man film crew. My films are mostly passion projects done on my own time and "dime". I don't go into a project like this with any expectations of distribution or that sort of thing. It's more about making something that shines a light on a particular action (in this case, the TAG Public Arts Project) that will hopefully inspire others to also help make the world a bit of a better place. That said, the more visibility the film receives, the more likely its massage of social activism through art can be appreciated; and www.wearemovingstories.com seems like an ideal place for this film to be seen.
Who do you need to come on board (producers, sales agents, buyers, distributors, film festival directors, journalists) to amplify this film’s message?
The film is done. Anyone interested in helping generate awareness for the TAG Public Arts Project in the Bronx is more than welcome.
What type of impact and/or reception would you like this film to have?
That others in my home borough of the Bronx become inspired to do something to help make it a better place for those who live there.
What’s a key question that will help spark a debate or begin a conversation about this film?
Graffiti or street art? Is there a difference?
Would you like to add anything else?
That's a wrap.
What other projects are the key creatives developing or working on now?
Currently editing a full-length documentary I've been shooting over the past four years on an amazing week-long camp in Miami for ventilator-assisted children. Stay tuned...
Interview: October 2017
We Are Moving Stories embraces new voices in drama, documentary, animation, TV, web series and music video. If you have just made a film - we'd love to hear from you. Or if you know a filmmaker - can you recommend us? More info: Carmela
GRAFSTRACT: The Bronx Street Art Renaissance
"Enhancing The Visual Landscape of Urban Communities with Art"
Director: Dan Perez
Producer: Dan Perez
Writer: Dan Perez
About the writer, director and producer:
Dan Perez is a self-taught award-winning documentary filmmaker and video production entrepreneur born and raised in New York City who now resides with his family in South Florida.
Key cast: J. "SinXero" Beltran, James "Sexer" Rodriguez, John "Crash" Matos, Luis "Zimad" Lamboy, Billy Mode, Chris Stain
Looking for (producers, sales agents, buyers, distributors, film festival directors, journalists): Journalists, distributors
Social media handles:
Made in association with: Me, Myself and I
Where will the film screen in the next month?
New Urbanism Film Festival