48HFP Alumni Achievements: 48HFP Short Film Wins Prize To Become A TV PilotMonday, January 18, 2016
Alejandro Montoya has a real life case of 'keeping up with the Joneses'. It would be very hard for anyone to keep up with his award winning 48HFP film The Joneses as it grows from short film to TV series to feature film. Montoya and his team 82/92 Productions originally created their film as a part of the 2014 Albuquerque 48HFP, where it won Best Ensemble Acting and an Audience Choice Award. Based on tons of positive feedback, they decided to turn their short into a feature length film. While still in pre-production, another opportunity presented itself to Montoya and his team--the 2015 Shoot Santa Fe Pilot Project. Filmmakers submitted 60-90 second teasers for a shot at winning a $25,000 package of goods, cash, and services to turn the teaser into a TV pilot. The film rose to the top yet again, winning the contest and giving Montoya the chance to share the world of The Joneses with an even greater audience. Montoya and DP/co-producer Ariel Rakes gave us some more details about the meteoric rise of The Joneses.
48HFP: Can you tell me a little about the original short film version of The Joneses?
Montoya: The Joneses is a dark comedy about a couple who are the center of attention in the neighborhood they live in, until the new neighbors come in and steal the spotlight from them. Now they will do anything to get it back.
48HFP: After the 48HFP, did you take the film to festivals, and did it win any additional awards or recognition?
Montoya: Actually we first sent it to some friends to get feedback, and they shared it with people who they knew were part of film festivals. A couple of film festivals contacted us wanting to screen The Joneses. We were pretty lucky people responded well to the project.
48HFP: Since the 48HFP, you've had the opportunity to turn the film into a feature as well as a web series. Can you tell us how that all came to be?
Montoya: Well, we kept getting amazing feedback at film festivals, so I turned it into the full length script, which we still have. Then when we heard about the Shoot Santa Fe Pilot Project, we thought out of all of the projects we had, this one would make an awesome TV show. We entered the contest and were ecstatic when it won!
48HFP: How will the TV series and feature film differ from the original short?
Montoya: Lots, hahaha! It's a seven minute short film... we gotta squeeze the juice out. It will be a lot crazier!
48HFP: What kind of challenges did you face turning a seven minute short into something more substantial?
Ariel Rakes (DP/co-producer): With The Joneses, we were lucky to have an amazing team that allowed for the entire production to run fairly smoothly. Once the project was finished, the biggest challenge with turning it into something more was making a teaser trailer that could be shown to potential investors that maintained the high energy and also allowed for future story development to be conveyed.
48HFP: What's the current status of The Joneses?
Montoya: We are in pre-production to shoot the pilot. I wrote it into a feature, but then we got the chance to write the TV pilot, which I'm expanding to six full epsidoes. We may be possibly shooting the feature by summer or fall of this year.
48HFP: What role has the 48HFP played in furthering your career as a filmmaker?
Montoya: It's given us a chance to meet other independent filmmakers, and see their talent and how they work under time deadlines.
48HFP: What other projects are you working on now?
Montoya: We have a short film called Low/Fi that screened at Raindance, recently won 'Best New Mexico Short' at the Santa Fe Film Festival, and will be screened at Durango this March. We are currently raising money to turn this into a feature length film. We also recently produced another short film called Monday. I also wrote the screenplay for the full length version of The Joneses, and the TV pilot shoots this spring.
48HFP: Can you offer any advice to other 48HFP filmmakers?
Rakes: The 48HFP is a great tool for filmmakers to meet people and network. In addition, it gives teams the opportunity to work together in high pressure scenarios that help further their filmmaking skills. My advice would be to take advantage of the opportunities that the 48HFP provides, and then continue pushing yourself and your team with bigger projects that make you all grow as artists. I'm really grateful for all of the people I've met and the experiences that I've had through this event over the years.
48HFP: How can people learn more about The Joneses and your other projects?
Montoya: They can check out The Joneses here: https://vimeo.com/102251066, and check out our Facebook pages for our other projects
Monday trailer: https://vimeo.com/138134390; Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/mondayshortfilmnm/
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