Horror Factoid: In The Orphanage (2007) Laura's necklace, a St. Anthony medallion, makes a clever reference to her plight. In Catholic religion, St. Anthony is a doctor and patron saint of lost items.
  
  

 

 

 

 

Monday
May172010

« Speaking with "Flowers for Norma" writer/director Juan Reinoso  »


Flowers for Norma is a short film based off a Stephan King short story “The Man Who Loved Flowers” and we are very excited to be showing it at the Oklahoma Horror Film Festival this year!


What was it about Stephen King’s short story that inspired Flowers for Norma?

Juan Reinoso-- Living in NYC I have always been fascinated by people.  Everyday people.  What might there lives be like?  What subtle stories might their secrets reveal?  There is something very fascinating about wondering what goes on behind the doors of seemingly ordinary people.  And the truth is we never TRULY know everything about people that we are close to, as well.  So I’ve always wondered about what sort of little shocking things may be going on in the minds of both strangers and the people who are close to us.  Then I remembered the short story The Man Who Loved Flowers.  I remember always thinking how it truly captured the romance of New York City (it still is a very romantic place in my opinion).  And then it completely takes you by surprise with its shocking ending.  It was always a story which stuck with me, even years after I originally read it.  And, then, having first moved to NYC and saw firsthand how Giulianni started to clean up the city, I started to think about when the city’s decay first began.  I realized it sort of started around the same time that the short story takes place.  So I thought it would be a very interesting mish-mash of all these fascinating things.  The mind of someone we don’t know who appears to be a very romantic embodiment of the heyday of New York City, but who is tragically affected by a loss in his life.  Wrap it all together and you have a mirror of the tragedy that became the beginning of the degradation of New York City during the late 60s and into the late-80s and early 90s. 

 

Are you a Stephen King fan?

JR- I read a lot of Stephen King in high school, but I stopped reading him for no particular reason as I got into college.  I started reading his work again once I started this project.  So, yes, I would say I am a fan.

 

You often write and direct, what do you like about doing both?

JR- Directing is a tricky business, especially if you are directing something you did not write.  I imagine it may sort of be like trying to raise a teenager you never knew after he/she had already spent so much time raised by his/her actual parents.  But when you direct something you wrote there is already a fluidity to the process: you raised that ‘child’ from the beginning and are now setting them out into the world yourself.  Directing something I wrote means I had a clear vision from the get go.  However, you’re also fighting yourself and what may or may not translate to the screen.   It’s an interesting challenge.  But the challenger of directing something I did not write is also a fascinating one.  You can bring an original vision to the piece that the writer did not originally conceive.  With the King piece I created all the backstory to the hero that did not exist before.  So that was fun.  And later this year I will be directing a feature I did not write (Brick Henry is My Country).  So for that it’s about coming up with visually creative elements to support the material already there.  So, actually, now that I think about it, I guess it’s fun no matter what!

 

When did you make your first film?

JR- I started out as an actor in the theater and didn’t start doing film stuff until college.  I co-wrote a feature based on a play I directed and we shot that back in 2001.  But I had NO film experience other than the fact that I probably knew more about the history of film than I did the history of theater.  But I had no physical experience with film.  So while that film did look very beautiful there were many things not up to par with it.  Trial and error.  It’s an ever evolving process.  We’ve done a lot since then.  10 years changes a lot.

 

What did you start Wayfinder Films?

JR- Wayfinder started in 2004. 

 

You also produced Flowers for Norma, any plans for a feature?

JR- I’m actually enjoying producing almost as much as directing.  I’ve produced a couple of indie features and lots of shorts.  Right now we are producing a pilot for a tv show called The Never-has-Beens which will shoot down in Louisiana in July.  And then I am directing Brick Henry is My Country, a comedy feature, and Motel de Gracia which is a crime thriller I wrote and will direct in Vegas.  And we have about 15 different projects in development.  And I’m directing another short in June.

 

How long did it take you to shoot Flowers for Norma?

JR- We shot for 3 days in November of 2009.

 

What challenges did you experience with shooting a short film set in the 1960’s?

JR- 3 days was a pretty tight shoot for the size of the project.  Having established years of connections and a decent rep for myself in NYC we were able to get the best of the best crew-wise for the shoot.  The period element wasn’t as difficult as I had expected.  We shot in historic areas of Brooklyn where the facades are still original.  So it was about dressing down any modern elements that stuck out.  My Production Designer (Adrina Rose Garibian) was just unbelievable.  And then it came down to lock ups and making sure modern cars drove by, etc…  And our wardrobe department?  Unreal.  Our crew was huge and all the period elements really added a scope to it I never could have imagined.  My crew was so amazing that we had many onlookers watching us shoot who asked if we were shooting an episode for the show Mad Men.  That was a huge compliment if you ask me.

 

You also used cars from the 1940’s through the 1960’s, were the cars difficult for you find?

JR- Period cars are tricky.  They can become very very pricey.  But what we did is my producers and I went to a car club in Staten Island and sat in on their monthly meeting.  (Incidentally, these car clubs are groups I have great respect for.  They do all kinds of charity work I never knew about.  Great people.)  We sat in and then I stood up and basically pitched the project and what we needed.  We got something like 15 period cars for free.  Those guys were just amazing.

 

Flowers for Norma had some really great effects, was this difficult to achieve?

JR- You always have to stay on your toes.  No matter how organized you think a shoot may be, there will always be some major hiccups that come up.  You have to roll with the punches.  We had a very well-known effects house in NYC who were going to our special effects.  But about a day before the shoot they had to take a big job and had to leave ours.  So that left me having to come up with old school effects to do in camera and to try and do as little as possible in post.  The car accident scene was originally supposed to have a cracked windshield that we would have done in post.  But instead we got lucky and got a car that had an amazing piece on the hood that we used to cause the same physical effect to the victim that we originally intended.  And then my make-up effects girl (Soula Kalamaras) did some great subtle stuff to the hood of the car.  Then the final effect with the morphing women…that was a tough one.  Originally I wanted there to be this crazy 50s television static that morphed the women into each other.  But we couldn’t do that now.  So the morning of that shoot day I remembered the old trick from Jacob’s Ladder and the shuddering head.  We placed the two women in the same exact position and then filmed them at 3 frames per second while they shook their heads in all directions as fast as they could.  Then you play that back at regular speed and you have this crazy spastic head shaking effect.  Then we found a great young independent after effects guy who was able to morph the two shots into one.  And he added some super creepy looks to their faces as they morphed.  If you play it frame by frame you seem some really scary shots.

(Effects do not reflect finished product.)

Did you go to film school?

JR- I studied theater performance at Fordham University at Lincoln Center. 

 

What was the best film advice you have ever received?

JR- Nothing is impossible.  Even without money.

 

What is you next project?

JR- Next up is the short, The Verdict, in June.  We are in the process of locking down two names to play the characters.  Then hopefully Brick Henry is My Country in the late Summer and Motel de Gracia in the Fall.  But we are still looking for a little financing for both.



Writer/Director Juan Reinoso
Interview By: Melanie Kester

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