Mr. Lopez Celebrates First Feature Film
Mr. Lopez, the 9th and 11th grade film teacher at FSSA doesn’t only teach classes about film, he creates them, too.
Mr. Lopez and his brother, John Marco Lopez recently collaborated to produce their first feature film, The Inquisition of Camilo Sanz, which tells the story of Camilo Sanz, a young man facing deportation who seeks money to pay for his fraudulent marriage. The story explores important themes of paths to citizenship, and begs to answer the question, what is home? Mr. Lopez says that the project overall was very challenging and ambitious for him and his brother as independent filmmakers. He states that they were inspired to make a statement with this film and show the industry that he and his brother are a strong creative force.
The brothers hosted a screening of the film over the summer and it was a rousing success.
“Our very first screening of The Inquisition of Camilo Sanz was an incredible success. We screened the film for the very first time on July 31st, 2014 at the Museum of the Moving Image’s beautiful Sumner M. Redstone Theater, to a sold out crowd of about 300 people. John and I were very nervous about people’s response to the film, but we were confident that we had given it everything we had,” he says.
The buzz of Mr. Lopez’s film didn’t end with the screening. The brothers hope to be invited to some of the major film festivals in the country.
“Currently, we are waiting to hear back from some of the biggest festivals in the United States, including The Sundance Film Festival and the Tribeca Film Festival. Hearing back from these caliber festivals will truly determine the fate of our film. Cross your fingers!”
In terms of the future, Mr. Lopez says that he’s doing some personal documentary projects, namely one about a woman who wrote a very controversial book about the Spanish Inquisition. Mr. Lopez says that he really enjoys non-fiction filmmaking and exploring the stories of the unsung hero. However he adds that he does plan to make more narrative films in the future.
“You’ve gotta do it all. I’ve done it all. Why stop there?” Mr. Lopez says enthusiastically.
Mr. Lopez decided to pursue film when he was in graduate school for public health studies.
“For many years prior to my great epiphany, I had been pursuing the sciences both at the undergraduate and graduate level, all the while dabbling with screenwriting and the idea of making films as a potential hobby. Ultimately, the burning love and passion for pursuing filmmaking as a potential career led me to make the dramatic decision to switch graduate program from the sciences to Media Studies,” Mr. Lopez says.
Although Mr. Lopez has just finished his first feature length film and is beginning a new project, he is also, after all, a film teacher.
“I’m realizing that my focus is teaching. My love for film education is at the forefront right now, so I’m trying to push myself as an educator. I’m trying to push my students to enhance their production value and to tell those stories in a way they never imagined telling them. My goal is to become the best film teacher I can be,” he says.
When asked what advice he would give to aspiring filmmakers and artists, Mr. Lopez responded: “My advice would be, I don’t want to sound cliche, but it’s inevitable. For young filmmakers, you’ve gotta embrace the reality that you have to go through a very long journey. This isn’t a sprint, it’s a marathon. It can be very enjoyable if you come to terms with that.”
– by Amani Smith ’15