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L'Alternativa, 25 Festival de Cine Independiente de Barcelona
Michael Arcos
United States
SHORTS 3 (90')

Wed 14, 15:30 H & SAT 17, 20:15 H @ AUDITORI CCCB


On a rainy afternoon, a mysterious painting draws a young woman from Germany into the world of tire shops on the outskirts of New Orleans. What begins as a curiosity leads to an investigation — and to the production of her first documentary film.


Hey Michael, thanks for talking to TNC, how is everything going?

Things are going well, I’m currently in New York for Halloween with my long distance fiance. We are fresh off the plane from the Uppsala International Short Film Festival. I think I am getting a cold but mentally feeling great. (cough)

Your short film This My Favorite Mural will be screened at L'Alternativa Fest this November, what does it mean for you to be at the festival?

I’m honoured, as I have heard amazing things about this festival. This My Favorite Mural is my love letter to the Central American immigrants living in South Louisiana. I am interested in having it screen in a Hispanophone country for the first time; there are subtle “winks” to those who speak the language.

Do you have any nerves ahead of your screening at L'Alternativa Fest?

I am always curious to see how this movie is perceived by different audiences. It’s either hated or leaves viewers with a side smirk.

This My Favorite Mural_4_MIFF.jpg

Tell me a little bit about This My Favorite Mural, how did this film come about?

I’ve always had a genuine admiration for immigrants living in the American South, especially the undocumented ones. My father is an immigrant from Ecuador but the majority of the kids I grew up with in Miami, Florida were from all over the place. I’ve been asked to marry for “papers” three times.

This movie was inspired by my fascination towards the mural and knowing it would inevitably have underlying commentary on immigration. I also wanted to challenge myself to take on my first documentary as I usually work within narrative/fiction.  

What was the inspiration behind your screenplay?

The screenplay came after the production where I entirely extracted myself and created a fictional narrator-documentarian. I tried out a few different characters and ended up choosing the perspective of an amateur German filmmaker who is making her first documentary. She quickly gets entangled in a web of tire shop mysteries while searching for poetry in a mundane subject. This gave me the opportunity to completely undo everything I have learned about filmmaking and make all the mistakes.


When you're working on a film like this how do you manage all your roles, is it hard to keep them all separate?

Going into pre-production I was aware that I needed to take on multiple roles alongside my producer. The chaos added to the production’s overall design. This movie cost $50 to make.

Do you have a favourite scene in This My Favourite Mural?

With an audience, I always appreciate watching the psychedelic tire shop mural dream sequence. This is a moment in the movie where the viewer either fully gets on board or drops out. I’m usually in the audience with jittery knees and clammy palms.

What were the biggest challenges you faced making This My Favourite Mural?

We wanted to be cautious about not exploiting the subjects and to give them a dominating voice in this farce of a documentary. They have given their blessings for the movie but really don’t care for it.

"After completing a project, I challenge myself with something I haven’t done."


Have you always wanted to be a filmmaker?

When I was younger I wanted to be Kim Deal from the Pixies.

How much has your style and approach to your films changed since your debut short?

All my work tends to vary. After completing a project, I challenge myself with something I haven’t done. I have gotten better at conscientiously challenging my viewers but slowly building a muscle to make a feature film.

Do you have any advice or tips for any fellow filmmaker?

There are absolutely no rules. Make, fail, succeed, fall on your face, cry, cum, spend it all! No regrets!

And finally, what do you hope people will take away from This My Favourite Mural?

An escape.

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