Vortex Sci-Fi, Fantasy & Horror Film Festival: A Conversation with “Gone” Filmmaker Christopher Piñero
Faded away is yet another film from the Moonshine Pictures crew that is touring the festival this year. Last month, The girl’s tale performed at the HollyShorts Film Festival (you can read our interview with directors Savannah Sivert and Taylor Hinds here). This time, The girl’s taleChristopher Piñero’s editor-in-chief is at the helm. Indeed, Piñero is the writer, director, editor and producer of Faded away, which stars her real-life partner Jazlyn Yoder as Renee, a young woman facing the inevitability of her ailing mother’s death. The psychological thriller premiered at the 22nd annual Flickers ‘Vortex Sci-Fi, Fantasy & Horror Film Festival in association with the Flickers’ Rhode Island International Film Festival.
The fluidity with which Piñero combines family drama with psychological thriller / horror is nothing short of exemplary craftsmanship. His storyline traverses, with the greatest devastation, the heart of unresolved grief and the (literally) haunting effects it has on a person. This is aptly the essence of the actors for Yoder, who turns here in a more strangled and darker performance, but no less astonishing than in The girl’s tale. As much as you want to disagree or even dislike her for turning your back on her dying mother first, Yoder is unmistakably magnetic and you can’t help but be drawn to Renee’s world because of her. she.
What is most remarkable Faded away, however, is its cinematography. On the one hand, Piñero allows the camera to linger over the shadows, creating hair-raising silences that take hold of your whole being and make you wonder whether or not there is something (or someone). in the room with you. And, on the other hand, Piñero isn’t afraid to let everything fall apart like Renee does. The beach scene towards the end of the movie, in fact, offers one of the most visually striking sequences you’ll see in a short this year.
In our email interview below, Piñero talks about his deeply personal connection to Faded awaythe subject of, how films have forged his creative DNA and the collaborative relationship he has with Yoder. There is a warmth and openness to Piñero’s responses that instantly shows how much his heart has invested in this film. He is definitely one to watch.
Would you like to take us back to where cinema started for you? How did you first find out that making movies was something you wanted to do?
As far as I can remember, films have been embedded in my fabric; my mom once took me out of school so we could see the first screening of “Twister” for her birthday! My family are big movie buffs, so when I was a kid and saw actors on screen, I assumed they were the ones making the movies. When I graduated from high school, I decided to take acting training at NYFA in New York City. While I learned so much valuable knowledge there that I still have with me as a director, I realized that playing the part was not for me. And then when I had the opportunity to direct a scene for a friend of mine, it was over. I have had the bug since.
What I liked and found most interesting Faded away was the way you sort of crossed the domestic / family drama with the psychological thriller, which I think is very poignant considering how grief and loss manifests in countless and bizarre ways – and often dark. Where did the idea for Faded away comes from? How did you approach the dark psychology of Renee’s experience?
It was important for me from the start, to make these A and B stories that you initially thought were separate, come together at the end in a surprising, but inevitable way. Let me go back a bit: I wasn’t planning on doing a short last year, but in the summer of 2020 my grandmother passed away and that changed everything for me. I experienced anticipated bereavement for the first time. It’s not something you hear a lot about, but basically you start the grieving process before the person has passed away. My grandmother had been fighting this fight for a long time. As summer approached, I began to see the grandmother I had always known, start to slip away. Every time I saw her, a piece of her was already gone. I cried a piece of her every time I left. I remember two days before her death I went to see her and she was completely unrecognizable to me. I immediately walked out of the room, as Renee does in the movie, but after I gathered in the living room, I returned to be with her. But I thought, what if I don’t go back to that room with her, what if I keep going out the front door? What would this grieving process look like, how would it haunt me?
You wear a lot of creative hats on this one, which is actually not a new experience for you. How do you generally manage to balance the tasks of writing, directing, producing and editing on each of your projects? Having already done it on several projects Faded away, did that make this production relatively easier to manage?
This production has been one of the most difficult films I have made due to the subject matter. We actually filmed where my grandmother died. With corporate moves, a set on the beach and only three days to shoot, our producers and crew did a hell of a job. Throughout the pre-production of Faded away, I was editing the other short film we made last year, The girl’s tale, which our production company also produced. It was relatively easy to get the crew together as a lot of them were people I had worked with in the past or were rollovers from our other movie. Regarding the editing process of Faded away – it was a whole different trip for me. My dad passed away from Covid while I was finishing the first cut. Working on a bereavement based project while receiving a new portion of it was extremely difficult, but I believe I was forced to face and fully experience this pain and maybe it was a blessing. somehow.
Faded away brings you together with many creations that you have worked with before. Jazlyn Yoder, in particular, is once again the star of your movie, which makes sense because she’s amazing. What is your working / collaborative relationship? Is there anything new that you learned about each other or the other while doing Faded away?
With Jazlyn, I don’t make / finish any movie without her approval. Besides being my creative partner, she is also my partner in life, and she lived those dark days with me when my grandmother was sick. She knew this pain better than anyone. It’s great to work with her, we talk a lot during the script phase and rehearsals, so when it comes time to shoot, I don’t have much to say other than a few occasional motivations. Guess what I learned from her on this one is how truly fearless she really is. The beach scene was extremely difficult due to the cold, and she had to keep returning to that freezing water while retaining the emotional content of the scene. Better her than me haha.
Faded away will play at the upcoming Flickers’ Vortex Film Festival, which is dedicated to all things horror, science fiction and fantasy. What does it mean for you to have him play here?
I premiered their main festival, Flickers Rhode Island, in August and it was an honor to be there, as well as being selected for Vortex. There are so many other amazing genre films showing here that you can probably assume is what I gravitate towards as a member of the audience as well. I can’t wait to watch as many as possible.
What’s the next step for you? And where can our readers follow you and your work?
Our production company, Moonshine Pictures, is still in development on our list of projects, and I’m working on my next feature film, Rosemont Forest. It’s a coming-of-age horror thriller set on Halloween in the mid-90s. We’re shopping this around and fingers crossed we’ll be shooting this next year. And to follow my work, I am on instagram @clpinero and my Youtube channel @ ChristopherPiñero presents my previous short films and projects. Thanks for the chat, I appreciate it!