Interviewed by Barry John Terblanche
Cult Critic – Andres, you have won many awards! To name but three… Best director in a student short, a horror thriller “Shutter.” The other two awards for your first NYU film “From Charlie, with Love.” And best director in a student short, and best comedy short in a student film! Do share those moments with us?
Andres: First of all, it was very exciting to go back and celebrate independent cinema together in person, especially after the last couple years dealing with the pandemic. I received three awards, two of them for From Charlie, with Love, my homage to Charlie Chaplin that I shot at NYU as a black-and-white and silent film assignment. As you can imagine, it was very special to receive the awards from the Los Angeles Independent Film Festival Awards at the legendary Raleigh Studios, where Charlie Chaplin shot some of his movies.
Receiving awards is rewarding and motivating. They inspire me to continue working on new stories and sharing them with more audiences. This is the case for two upcoming projects: World Needs You; and Is This It? I can’t wait to share with you and your readers more information and keep making films in the years to come!
Cult Critic – Jayde, I’m sure you too have many accomplishments. Do share?
Jayde: Thank you! I recently graduated from NYU Tisch School of the Arts in May, with a BFA in Dance. I ended my college career with a performance at Radio City Music Hall! That experience was incredible. I performed an excerpt from New Second Line, choreographed by Camille A. Brown. I got to perform that piece in front of Adam Sandler and Martin Scorsese, which was surreal. Since moving to New York, I have choreographed and created a lot of my own work, and had the privilege to collaborate with many other artists. Last year I had the opportunity to perform work by Yin Yue, Camille A. Brown, and Alex Anderson which was amazing. I’ve also choreographed and danced in various music videos, performances, art installations and short films.
About two years ago I began acting training in addition to my dancing. I trained in acting at NYU Tisch and now continue training with independent artists based in NYC. All of my experiences have led me to where I am today, co-directing World Needs You with Andres! My training has given me the tools to coproduce and help write this short film with Andres. I am enjoying every minute of the process! On top of World Needs You, I am doing project-based work around New York City. Coming up I have performances and a music video I will be dancing in which I am very excited for!
Cult Critic – Jayde, a producer, choreographer, dancer/actress, and screenwriter! Wow. How did you get into all this… how did this begin for you?
Jayde: I began dancing at the age of three in my hometown, Buffalo, NY. I grew up loving the arts and as I got older and more serious about dance I immediately knew I wanted to be in this field. I choreographed for the first time ever at age ten, and then my love for choreography began to grow along with my love for dance. When I was 17 years old I auditioned for NYU and fell in love with the school. It felt like the perfect fit for me. When I then attended NYU Tisch, I realized how much I love to act after taking an acting class for dancers. After taking that class, I continued acting training at NYU and on my own. All of my experiences in college are really what led me to producing, screenwriting, dancing and choreographing the short film World Needs You. Because of the Covid-19 pandemic, I looked towards dance on the screen and how I could incorporate that into my life. I then found an amazing outlet for myself with dance on film and that is how I got connected to Andres, and am here today co-producing this film!
Cult Critic – Andres, award winning filmmaker in the genre of horror, and comedy. Now, directing and producing a musical. What inspired you to do a musical?
Andres: Well, at this stage of my career, I don’t want to be encapsulated in a few genres. I like to try and work in as many genres as possible. I have always been a huge fan of musicals and horror movies. Ever since graduating from NYU, I have had the ambition of creating an original musical. When first invited to collaborate with the super-talented Jayde, I was beyond ecstatic to work on this project. The project will combine multiple genres, such as classical elements from musicals, horror movies, and psychological thrillers, with, of course, dance. Upon hearing Jayde’s idea of including a scene where she will be dancing while chained in a New York City alley, I was more than stoked about collaborating and bringing our “nightmare” to life!
Additionally, from a technical standpoint, since she is a professional dancer and choreographer, there will be an emphasis on the dance. However, I think a combination of dance moves, camera movement, and cuts will convey the story of “The Performer’s” (the character’s name) internal struggle and transmit the themes. I am pretty excited and confident about the directorial challenges that I will have to face in the making of this picture. That said, I believe that the universal cinematic language will ease the process because it disregards the genre itself. So I am just focusing on using the horror and musical cinema’s language to tell the story. It’s not every day you get to direct a horror musical! I am so excited, and I hope we can tell you more about the project in the near future!
Cult Critic – Co-producers to “World needs you”. How did the two of you first meet? And have you worked together in the past?
Andres: The way we met was purely accidental, but I guess it worked out for the best. Last fall, I was looking for dancers for another project currently in Post Production, called Scars and Voices: A VR Experience. The brilliant choreographer, Sarah Allen, dragged Jayde to the project. The shooting was amazing. We worked in a very positive and fun environment together with her friends, a group of highly talented dance-graduates from NYU.
Jayde: Exactly what Andres said! Through friends of a friend, I was asked to dance in a Virtual Reality Film which sounded super cool to me. It was with fellow Tisch artists which made it even more exciting to dance in! Andres was the director of that film and I really enjoyed working with him, so we stayed in touch and here we are today!
Cult Critic – Jayde, you are the screenwriter to “World needs you”. How did the story come to you. As dancer and choreographer… Some inspiration there maybe?
Jayde: As I was closing a big chapter of my life and entering the world post-grad, I was feeling all sorts of things. It was exciting, stressful, emotional, awesome, and scary all at the same time. Also, still during a pandemic which had a huge impact on my life, and everyone else’s. I had an idea to somehow express all that I was feeling through my art. I remember talking on the phone to my boyfriend about wanting to create a short film to capture the feelings I was going through at that time, and through the course of my life as an artist. After a long conversation on the phone, my boyfriend, Jack, helped me decide that a short film was the best way to express the story I want to tell. A huge inspiration for my ideas is the singer Joji. He is someone I look up to creatively and his music videos gave me ideas for the vibe of the short film I want to make. More specifically I love the colors and visuals in his music videos, which gave me inspo for the colors and visuals in World Needs You. Once sharing my idea with Andres, he added so much more to my vision and helped me develop the story even further. Together we bounced ideas off each other and continue to do so throughout this process. So, Andres’ visions have also definitely been a major inspiration to me for this project.
Cult Critic – Andres, having seen some pre-production footage, directing and producing appear to be quite challenging… nothing I’m sure you can’t professionally handle. Your take on this?
Andres: Certainly, it is a challenge but it’s something I feel confident doing since I have done it in the past. Additionally, for this project, I am partnering with Jayde, and that is making this collaboration so smooth as we share responsibilities through the different stages of production. This makes the process simpler and easier. Nonetheless, making an independent movie is a challenge. I am very confident that we will be able to create an amazing film!
Cult Critic – Jayde, having seen some pre-production dance footage, the choreographing appears to be quite challenging. For all the scenes in the alley… nothing I’m sure you can’t professionally handle. Your take on this?
Jayde: Dancing in an alley will definitely be something new to me, however it is much more exciting that way! I love dancing in new spaces I never have before. It is such a challenge as a mover but the limitations of the place force me to turn to new things I’ve never done before. I once was a dancer in a promo video for the musical SKIN by Yuriko Shibata and Andrew Strano. We filmed on the beach on a 50 degree cloudy day. At the end of the video I had to go into the freezing water. As crazy to do as that may sound, I loved it! I got to challenge myself in a way I never had before, and that is how I feel about filming for World Needs You. It will open up doors for me as a creative artist that I am very excited to explore.
Cult Critic – Tell us about the tone and theme of “World needs you”?
World Needs You Team: In this project we will be exploring a variety of themes, such as “the weight of the world on the artist as they pursue their passion for creating”; and “why artists struggle through the creative process as they try to find themselves”. These thematic elements hit home as we sometimes find ourselves contemplating these very issues. Creative artists often become discouraged, and this presents a perfect opportunity to explore our personal challenges. We will also explore how New York City can be a challenging venue for artists, and how we maneuver through the web of obstacles it presents.
Tonaly, the film will be dramatic, grabbing from the horror thriller genre. Some of our influences are the work of music song writer Joji. As we started our research process, we came up with an article where Joji said that he feels a connection to the natural world and water. “I feel like when I make music, I’m trying to recreate that (The Natural World).” Therefore the film we are making is inspired by Joji’s visual style, the camera movement must be fluid like water. This will allow the film to demonstrate the contrast between chaotic and more calm movement. The camera should mimic the feeling of being alive. It must be an “element” like water. We will also be using a lot of low angles to showcase how New York City’s character can make an artist’s life very difficult. In order to bring horror elements to the picture we will also be utilizing horror-like effects in our film, such as having a rain of blood dropped on Jayde. We will be embracing elements that some viewers might recognize from famous movies such as Carrie and Suspiria, to bring red hues into our lighting for these moments. Additionally, we believe that practically shooting on location will help us show New York as a challenging venue for artists.Similarly to how the city is depicted by Martin Scorcesse in his masterpiece Taxi Driver, or in the fictional world of Gotham/New York City 1980’s as depicted in Joker, and how in that movie it truly affected Arthur Fleck (Joker).
Cult Critic – What are you hoping the audience takes from the movie?
World Needs You Team: First, we hope the film’s musical horror drama entertains and thrills the audience. Second, we hope the audience can relate to the character’s inner struggle as they also relate to their own experience, and perhaps for them to gain empathy into the complicated world artists face. Connecting with the thematic elements as they witness and question how artists turn to their art and when does it become too much? What happens when we feel stuck in the creative world we live in? Do we stay in it or run away and give up? Because ultimately what we are trying to convey is how artists persevere in the face of adversity, and let their passion for their craft prevail, something very personal to the both of us.
Cult Critic – Will we be seeing more collaboration/films from the two of you. Anything in the pipeline?
Andres: Well, so far the collaboration has been very fulfilling, I hope that this is not a one-time film but the first of many to come as we continue to merge our respective worlds (Dance and Film) into more ambitious ideas. I am definitely grateful that Jayde picked up an interest in acting and filmmaking because without that, this project would not be in the making. I hope that her interest only increases so maybe as we wrap this one, we can come up with new projects. That said, whenever this happens, Cult Critic Magazine will be the first to know!
Jayde: I definitely hope so! Andres is amazing to work with. He is always prepared and his ideas open my mind up to so much more than I could have imagined. This process has been so enjoyable and working closely with an accomplished director like Andres has taught me so much. Right now we are focusing on World Needs You, but I know that will lead to more and help us grow together as artists and collaborators.
Cult Critic – When do you envision “World needs you” will be released?
World Needs You Team: As we have mentioned, making independent films is very difficult and we have already experienced a small delay due to financing. However, we hope that we can have the picture in the can by the end of the year, filming sometime in the fall and have it ready for its film festival run in Spring and Summer 2023, with the hopes of wide release in fall of 2023.
Cult Critic – Lastly, your much valid fundraising campaign to get what’s sure to be a very powerful and moving film “World needs you” – into full production. Where can we donate/contribute?
World Needs You Team: Yes! The Cult Critic Magazine readers can support us by donating in our Indiegogo Campaign https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/world-needs-you-short-film#/
In exchange the readers will receive some amazing perks such as special thanks in the credits, social media shout outs, music playlist, signed poster and scripts, personalized thank you videos and most exclusively an exclusive dance zoom lesson with Jayde!
If donating is not an option, some other ways to help are the following:
- Share this article on all social media platforms and make sure to tag us a a @worldneedsyoufilm Share our fundraising link and social media posts with friends and family!
- Engage with us at @worldneedsyoufilm on Instagram for project updates, BTS photos, and some special sneak peaks!
- Consider other non-monetary support such as donating location or gear access. If interested in any kind of donation please reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org Get the word out and make some noise about our film!
- Enjoy and share the film once released… we can’t wait for it to be showcased to the world!
PS- Thank you for these insightful questions. Thank you for watching World Needs You and talking with about me about this film. I’m really honored.