Synopsis: Doctor Ramon Moran supplements his income by driving a taxi in order to financially support his mentally ill mother. While driving the taxi, Ramon becomes involved in a crime that tests his pride and work ethic.
Where did the idea for the story come from?
My father was a doctor in Lima, Peru. And he also drove a taxi in order to put my brother and me through school. He would tell me all these crazy things that would happen while driving the cab, nothing as extreme as what happens in this movie but the idea of a doctor driving a taxi comes from my father. The thriller part of it, the crime part of it, is something I added to spice it up.
You’re studying film at UCLA but travelled to Peru to make the film. Why?
I always wanted to make a film at home. But I didn’t know any production houses in Lima or how to go about making a film in Peru. UCLA gave me the opportunity to do that. They gave me some money and they mentored me through the script writing process. They helped me make the film I wanted to make.
You are now shooting your graduate thesis in Peru?
Yes. The biggest reason is the success we are having with this short film. A Doctor’s Job was an experiment to get to know Lima as a production city, with a view of Lima as a place to make films. We made great contacts here in the film industry, people in production, and people fresh out of college. My graduate thesis is a political thriller, a section of a feature film I am developing.
Do you plan to ever shoot a feature film there?
Yes, I think everything I do right now is focused on making my first feature film in Peru. It just feels right to make films at home. The stories I want to tell are always very attached to where I come from.
How is the film scene in Peru? What can you tell us about it?
They basically have everything you need to make a film. The industry is growing little by little, mainly with the help of financial investors from outside Peru. Not a lot of films are made here in Peru, though. We are talking maybe ten to fifteen a year. From those ten to fifteen, probably only one or two are successful.
How’s the casting? Where do you find the right actors?
One of the happiest discoveries I had working in Lima was that I had access to well-established actors. This is expensive in LA. Miguel Ita, the main actor in the movie, is very well known in Peru.. He’s done a lot of movies and theater. I knew I wanted to work with him. He had the face and the look I wanted. He is a talented actor. I just sent an email to him through Facebook. We started talking. I sent him the script and that’s how we got him. It wasn’t that difficult.
What sort of camera was it shot on?
The Arri SR 2 shot on super 16mm film.
How grateful are you to the pigeons on the final shot?
I want to say I spent $2000 on that shot…but I didn’t. It was like a gift from God. I always say that if we didn’t have those pigeons flying up at the end of the film, we would have a different feel to the end of the movie.
What advice do you have for someone making their first short?
Always tell the story you want to tell the way you want to tell it.