Pride Month is one of our favourite times of the year as we get to spend an entire month talking to LGBTQ creatives from all around the world. We're really honoured to talk to Anthony Aguiar again about his latest short film Pinwheel Park, a story about two women on a first date.
Hello Anthony, Happy Pride Month, it's great to talk with you again, how is you June going?
Going well so far, there is warm summer weather here and it's just lovely and you see all the rainbow flags out. Also, great to talk to you again.
After everything that has happened how does it feel to be able to release your new short film Pinwheel Park?
It feels so great, I wrote this short film back in 2020, when I originally spoke to The New Current but the pandemic happened and we finally got to make it now.
Has the experience of living through the pandemic influenced how you approached making this film?
You know not really, I was already making films with basically no crew but myself and the actors, so It wasn't that different than before. I was really just waiting until it was safe, testing wise and it was always planned to be filmed outside anyways, which is much safer.
How did Pinwheel Park come about, what inspired you to want to tell such a unique lesbian story?
The initial idea was about our relation to location and how we merge important moments to places. Also, It grew from watching other LGBTQ shorts that have this brimming happiness and surreal like fantasy of optimism where nothing bad happens. Don't get me wrong though, I like watching those films and we need those films too but they inspired an idea in me of wouldn't it be interesting to have a short film that begins like a cheesy first date with all the emotional music but then have a second half where it changes completely.
In terms of this discussion of having more happy LGBTQ films, I think there really isn't anything more positive than showing LGBTQ as real human beings with real human problems. Wouldn't you agree?
When writing Pinwheel Park where you able to find inspiration from you own dating history?
Haha! I mean everything I write or do comes from a personal place but I just don't like saying what parts are true or false. So answer is yes and no haha.
The twist is unexpected and is made more believable thanks to the amazing chemistry between your actors, did you image this twist would turn our so well?
Thank you for saying that. We certainly hoped it would work. The actual gradual visual transition effect you see was worked on in the editing.
Had you had in mind who you wanted to cast in the roles of "Sofia" and "Olivia"?
Yes! It was always Mandy Brown as Sofia, who starred in my first feature How to Grow a Tiger Lily. For Olivia we looked around but I finally decided on my good friend Ileana Contreras who had always expressed interest in acting in my stuff.
Both Mandy Brown, "Sofia", and Ileana Contreras, "Olivia", are brilliant and wonderfully convey such an easy and natural presence that really lifts the film whilst making it engaging. When working on a short how much rehearsal and flexibility are you able to have with your actors?
Great question, we basically did three zoom rehearsals. The first one was reading the script I wrote, the 2nd fully improvised and the 3rd was a hybrid. So we all came to the agreement the first half works better being improvised and the 2nd half is more of my original script. Collaborating with actors is so rewarding. I consider them fellow filmmakers not puppets reading my lines. We talk in these rehearsals about motivation and reasons why characters might be behaving as they may. I like these deep dives and I want to try and do better with going even deeper into characters even if those things never make it to the screen, it's important the actors and I discuss it.
Pinwheel Park is aided greatly by this vintage feel you have created, how did you go about creating this look and what where the biggest challenges you faced during the shoot?
In terms of the first half, I wanted to make it look like it was shot on MiniDV tape. Which I was using to make stuff in 2009. Also it is a subtly different look than VHS because it is not as degraded. Then of course, I wanted the 2nd half to look like modern 4K. Originally I was trying to shoot the first half on actual MiniDV tape but the tests proved to be unreliable and risky given the limitations and lack of control on these older cameras.
Lastly, the biggest challenge was the beautiful location we filmed which happened to also be really windy, so sound was the challenge.
"Ask yourself, are you making films to just have a career in Hollywood? Or are you making films because you love making films?"
What have been some of the most important lessons you have taken away from making this film?
Don't sleep on the people around you that are actively expressing interest in being in your films. That advice you hear that you shouldn't cast your friends is BS. The only caveat is, are they going to take your project seriously? If they are, then take them seriously. Ileana sure did and she was so good! Another thing, I took away, that beautiful feeling of making a film and having it out and also getting to see Mandy perform again! Wow.
Do you have any tips or advice to offer anyone thinking about making their own short film?
Ask yourself, are you making films to just have a career in Hollywood? Or are you making films because you love making films? If it's the latter, then go do it! These are two different paths and approaches.
Are you working on anything now you can tell me about, do you have other themes and film genres you are looking to explore?
Yes! I'm working other projects right now and I want to keep telling LGBTQ stories.
Finally, what would you like your audiences to take away from Pinwheel Park?
I hope they like it and share it and support media sites like The New Current!
You need sites like yours that seek out indie artists and bring awareness to what's going on in the real indie films scenes.