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Guest posts & Interviews
From Zaragoza to Hollywood: Meet Conrad Mess
09 Aug 2012

When he is not out winning awards, working on commercials to end world hunger or getting involved with helping other filmmakers, who is Conrad Mess – the guy behind the multiple award winning short film The Fixer? We caught a few moments of his time, threw some quick questions at him, and here is what we got back!

Luis Mieses

Who is Conrad Mess?
My name is Luis Mieses but I prefer to use my “stage name” Conrad Mess when working on my films. I live and work in a Zaragoza, a beautiful town halfway between Madrid and Barcelona.

What does a day in the life of Luis Mieses look like?
My day job actually has nothing to do with filmmaking. I'm the owner of Olympus Sport Zaragoza, a sport supplement food store, part of a chain that has a presence all over Europe.

Hm, so you are saying your day job has nothing to do with filmmaking? Sorry, let us switch back over to Conrad Mess – tell us a little bit about your proudest moments as a filmmaker? Your awards for example?

Well, my second film The Fixer that was shot on an iPhone has won:

The iPhone Film Festival Los Angeles 2011
The iPhone Film Festival Singapore 2012
New Media Festival Los Angeles 2012
Z-Kudos Award Chicago 2012
Short Film Patrol Austria 2012
 
Mobil film Festival San Diego (2nd Place) 2012
Original iPhone Film Festival San Francisco (3rd) 2012
Short Non Stop (Finalist) 2011
iPhone Film Festival Los Angeles (2nd Place)
2012 (with my new movie "The Russian Roulette)
 
I am also currently a finalist in the Sony Ericson Mobil Film Festival.

How did your journey into filmmaking start?
I always wanted to be a filmmaker, but never had the time or the opportunity, until one day when I decided to give it a try with the support of my lovely wife. I shot “Avenger Love”, my first amateur short film, with a regular “handy cam” and a few friends. It seemed like people appreciated it, and so I decided to shoot The Fixer. For The Fixer I chose to use an iPhone, because I felt I couldn’t compete with people with knowledge, big cameras and resources. And, besides, there are a lot of festivals for cell phones! I'm a self-taught filmmaker. The little I know I have learned from the internet, and from making mistakes.

Tell us a bit about The Fixer and your process of creating?
I can't really tell you how the idea for The Fixer was conceived, but I used to have flashes in my head, ideas that came – and I don't know from where. That's the way that I create I guess. When I was younger I used to write and I published a few things in magazines, and it was always the same – an idea that just came. But I do know that I like to develop my ideas when I am in bed at night.

The cast of The Fixer were just friends. For Avenger Love it was very hard to get people; I even had to change the end of the film because I couldn't get enough people. But after its premiere, everyone wanted to appear in my next film – so I didn't have problems to get friends to act. But none of them were trained actors, and I didn't have a crew. I did all the production work myself. We only had a reflector and my friend Trovador was the one who took care of it.

The budget was about $400 and almost everything was covered by that. I invited my actors and Trovador to dinner a couple of times, and that came out of my pocket.

What is so special about shooting on an iPhone 4S?
The good thing about shooting on an iPhone, or almost any cell phone, is that everyone can make a film. The iPhone and other cell phones with a camera open up an opportunity to anyone who wants to create. With a lot of talented people out there that don’t have the resources or the opportunity, these phones offer a great way to show what you can – and it is cheap!

Could you talk a little about the editing process? Anything else that you feel made the film what it is?
I love the editing process!!! It's my favorite part!!! I've learned a lot with video tutorials and experimenting by myself. Good editing can make your film better than it really is. In my case there were people who didn't believe that The Fixer was shot on an iPhone – I take that as a compliment because it means that I did a good job on the edit. I can tell you 3 of my tips to make your iPhone movie look better – the aspect ratio, the color correction and the music… I could tell you more but I would have to kill you...! Seriously though, I'm still learning.

How long have you been a member of The Smalls? What is the best thing about The Smalls you think?
I think I discovered The Smalls about one year ago, and I was shocked, it's the best site to share your films, the staff is really cool and kind, and all the members are people who want to help each other.

What are your plans now as a filmmaker? What are your hopes and dreams for the future?
My immediate plan is to promote my new movie "The Russian Roulette", but this time I'm not alone, my producer Adi Spektor is gonna promote it in Hollywood and my hopes and dreams are the same as my plans. My producer wants me to shoot a full length movie in Hollywood, so my plans and dreams could become one if he gets the money for the feature. I know it is going to be a hard way ahead, but I'm an optimist.

Also, I am right now editing a commercial for ENDING HUNGER http://videomaker.endinghunger.org/ and am in pre-production for my next iPhone short film, exclusively for Indiephone.

Thanks Luis - we look forward to seeing both your ENDING HUNGER commercial, and of course The Russial Roulette here on The Smalls soon!