Shriekfest Independent Horror Film Festival



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This month Festival Director Denise Gossett spoke with Sergio Pinheiro, 2008 Official Selection The Procedure!

DG: What is your name and company URL?

SP: My name is Sergio Pinheiro. My company name/website is The Donnybrook at thedonnybrook.com

SP

DG: What is your specialty...filmmaking or screenwriting?

SP: If I had to pick a primary specialty I would say that I'’m a filmmaker who also writes. In terms of filmmaking I’'ve worn many hats over the years from directing to editing and designing VFX & motion graphics. My freelance work keeps me on my toes learning new techniques and tools all the time and that helps when it comes to my own projects.

DG: What are you currently working on?

SP: On the writing side I’'m completing a gothic-horror feature script titled The Chamber which is an adaptation of a short story. I’'m also working with another writer on a feature script from which we hope to break out a short film to help sell the feature.

My freelance work has kept me busy this year as well. I worked on a project for Aston Martin where I had to design eight, one-minute motion graphics/VFX sequences using AM’s video library. I’'ve also designed several title sequences for features, shorts and video projects. I love doing titles because they’'re like short films in their own right. Then you add on top of that the ability to set the tone for the film and it’s a lot of fun.

DG: Wow, you've been busy! Who do you consider your mentor and why?

SP: Director Paul Solet (Grace, Bullet head) is a good friend who has brought me in to help him with everything from script feedback to building pitch reels for his projects. I was also a set photographer & behind-the-scenes shooter on his film “Dark Summer” which was a great experience. My job was to be a fly on the wall during production and document. I tried to observe and soak up everything.

Most recently I’'ve been doing work for director Mark Pellington who genre fans will remember from The Mothman Prophecies he's also directed a ton of music videos over the years. Aside from being one of the nicest guys, he carries with him a wealth of experience and creativity to every project. I'm learning every day I get to work with him.

DG: That is awesome! Paul is Shriekfest alum! Why do you think the horror/sci-fi genres have such a large following?

SP: In terms of horror you have the license to go to extremes, be it physically, emotionally or often times both. To me, the most important aspect is how characters react to those extremes. When I was in college some of my friends were psychology majors. I remember them talking about these experiments like the Stanford prison experiment or the Milgram experiment on blind obedience. They pushed people to mental extremes to see how they would react. These experiments taught the researchers quite a bit about human behavior but they were later deemed too unethical to continue because of the adverse effects on the test subjects. I think horror fills that void. There’s a natural morbid curiosity to see a what-if scenario unfold to it’s most gruesome or disturbing extreme and watch how characters react to those situations. It shows us aspects of our humanity, good and bad, that we would otherwise not see under normal circumstances.

DG: Well said! What do you love most about this business?

SP: I love that creativity IS the business. Being able to work on bringing a story to life from whatever angle of the industry is vastly more interesting to me than any other job out there. You still have to deal with the business side of the business but the core of the work is still telling a story. I never want to take that for granted.

DG: That is so very true! What do you dislike most about this business?

SP: I don’t like when the business side begins to dictate the creativity. I do understand the reasoning because at the end of the day it's about getting eyes on what you've made, but with horror especially I think some of the best films out there run completely counter to what some would think is a good business decision, and those films are often the runaway sleeper hits.

DG: What career accomplishment are you most proud of?

SP: Making my first short film was a huge step in many ways. I made films in film school but there you have this whole infrastructure designed to help you make them. When I moved out to LA I sidetracked into animation for a while. It wasn'’t until a few years later that I circled back to live-action. There was no existing support system so I had to build it from scratch. I went though a ton of ideas spanning all genres. I realized later that I was also searching for what kind of filmmaker I wanted to be. I kept coming back to the horror genre and ideas that often required more than one viewing to completely understand, ones that (hopefully) sparked debate and discussion after the lights came up. I decided that’s where I wanted to operate. The film was called “The Procedure.” I was so excited to see it selected by many genre festivals including Shriekfest. That film set me on the path I'’m on now so I owe a lot to it.

DG: You did a great job on that film! Any advice you'd like to give newbies?

SP: Keep making stuff. I’'ve never felt like I was moving my career forward as much as I do when I’'m putting work out there for people to see. Have your quality control, but keep ‘em coming. Incidentally, this is also advice I should give to myself too.

DG: LOL Great advice! Anything else you'd like to say?

SP: Thanks for giving me the opportunity to talk a bit about films!

DG: Anytime Sergio! Thank you It was great chatting!

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