South By Southwest 2019 Interview – SUNDAYS director Andrés Cardona

“Jonny and Tommy, two Brooklyn firefighters, have been friends since high school. Embarrassingly, Tommy never learned how to drive; so Jonny finally teaches him how on one of their regular Sundays together.  After a great afternoon, secrets are revealed, their families become involved, and the future becomes uncertain.” Director Andrés Cardona on short film SUNDAYS which screens at the 2019 edition of SxSW Film!


Welcome to the amazing SxSW and congratulations on your movie playing here! Are you planning to attend SxSW with your film?

Of course!  It’s an honor to be playing at SXSW and to have our first theatrical screening of this film in my home state.


What is it about Austin, either the festival or the town itself, that excites you the most?

My older brother went to the University of Texas at Austin, and I had the opportunity to visit him frequently while I was still in high school since it was only a three hour drive from Houston.  I used to say “some of the best nights of my life have been in Austin, TX.” I’m just happy to be adding more great memories to the list. The people in Austin are diverse, friendly, weird, and it feels like a real community; it feels like home.

How did you first hear about the short films at SxSW and wishing to send your film into the festival/conference?

I’ve known about SXSW since I was a kid, and the film festival came onto my radar while I was at film school years ago.  So many filmmakers that I admire had their start with a short at SXSW, and it’s incredible to be screening one of my own at the festival this year.

Tell me about the idea behind your project and getting it made!

This short is part of a collection of shorts you can see at sixshortfilms.com.  My good friends and collaborators: Hunt Beaty, Wesley Wingo, and I decided to push ourselves and make some narrative content last year.  We’d reverse-engineer six short films to fit within our means and finish them under deadline for as little money as possible. This short at SXSW, SUNDAYS, is the third film from our collective.


Who are some of your main creative inspirations for this short?

Some of the men of South Brooklyn (particularly Bay Ridge and Bensonhurst) are the main creative inspiration for the short.  Guys’ guys with overt masculine tendencies inspired a curiosity into layers and feelings beneath the surface that some of these characters might harbor and suppress.


How did you put the short together from a technical viewpoint? What sort of cameras/lenses did you use, and any creative challenges in making it?

The short was challenging in the same way all of our shorts have been.  Often we were working with a crew of only the three of us, sometimes two of us, for a few hours, only me.  We would have friends come in and out as best they could, but all of us wore many, many hats.

To be thinking about rigging a camera with suction cups while also directing an emotional scene is a unique challenge.  I relied heavily on my two main partners in crime: Hunt Beaty and Wesley Wingo. The picture car was my car, the equipment car was Hunt’s car.  The houses and apartments were ours or our friends, and we bartered for the lenses we used on the project.

The film was shot on my RED Weapon Helium (now a Monstro) with Master Prime Lenses.


After your short screens here, where is it going next? Anywhere you would love to show it?

We actually released this short online and it premiered on Short of the Week in July of 2018.  We’d love to show it in a few more festivals, but ultimately it’s already out there for the world to see.  And that’s all we’re ever really after: for folks to watch and hopefully enjoy our films.


What would you suggest to theatres or even film festivals as a way to show more short films theatrically or make them more accessible to audiences across the country?

As the amount of content out there grows, the need for curation and film criticism becomes more and more important.  I think film festivals do an incredible job of whittling down thousands of submissions into a few shorts blocks that feel like they have a flow to them.  

While seeing shorts theatrically is always thrilling, I think short form content is existing and being appreciated more in the home; the internet is a perfect place for shorts.  

While Vimeo and Youtube have been amazing resources, I’d love to see an easier way for apps and curators to find their way onto smart tv’s and devices.  The technology is there. We just need to get off our computers and onto our 4K HDR TV’s. I could see short form content thrive here if it were presented properly.

If you know of anyone around you wanting to become a filmmaker, or even put together shorts, what would you suggest to get their start?


You’ll hear a lot of filmmakers say, “go out and make your movie.  Shoot in on your iPhone.”

I certainly agree with that, but I would add: plan your movie; don’t just go out with a camera, but concentrate on story and structure, set a deadline for every step of the process and, this might the most important thing, make it as good as you can within your means and timeline and finally move on.  You could work otn it forever or just never finish. If you want to learn more, ask filmmakers you look up to. You’d be amazed how many folks are willing to help out; not many ask.

Lastly, it all takes time and hard work.  Those stories of overnight success don’t happen the way they might be presented in a wikipedia article.  This is truly an unglamorous profession with high highs and low lows; you need to love it.


And finally, what is your favourite short film of all time?

I don’t know about my favorite, but 7:35 IN THE MORNING very much affected me the first time I watched it in college.  I didn’t know a film could be that.

This is one of the many film titles playing at SxSW 2019. For more information on this and any other title playing in the festival, point your browser to http://www.sxsw.com/film!

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