Michael & Cati Gonzalez
We are delighted to welcome a very talented duo to The Green Room- Cati and Michael Gonzalez- Welcome!
Thanks for having us – we love what Fusion is doing right now!
You are now both working in film but Cati your path initially began with photography before you took the steps to becoming a screenwriter and director, tell us how this came to be?
I was always into film as a child growing up. My dad would take me to the movies and we’d watch spaghetti westerns. According to my mom, I was a month old when my movie experience started, I was being breastfed as the movie played. So you can say that my interest in film was embedded in me at an early stage in my life.
After being a photographer for 20 years, I was used to directing people all the time, so that part came naturally, the writing was a new thing for me. After writing my first feature script ‘Ekaj,’ there was no going back from there.
Michael, as with many in the industry you possess many talents! What do you prefer producing, editing or writing?
Thank you Dan. I do enjoy doing all three but if I had to choose one talent that suits me well, it would be writing. I’ve always had a love for writing, whether it be for music, poetry or short stories, but I have never written screenplays before, until now, with my first spec script titled, ’Raised,’ which has been circulating several screenplay competitions and has been nominated at this years Oaxaca Film Fest and others.
Your first independent film Ekaj was a huge success on the festival circuit- did you both expect it to do so well?
No. As filmmakers, of course, you hope to get some response but the truth is, we were overwhelmed by the amount of love and support that the film received.
As a duo do you work together seamlessly, or do you find that there are sometimes lovers feuds that occur?
Yes. All the time. And we’re very cool about it because we’ve been together for over twenty years and can finish each other’s sentences. It actually works out well for projects because we’re both critics and everything takes two revisions.
Cati, it’s a simple question but we have to ask it- Photography or Filmmaking?
I love photography but it tends to reach mostly, people in galleries and in the art world. With film, you can reach everyone. I actually enjoy the writing part of telling stories. I’m visual, so my stories tend to be very visual.
Michael – do you think it is getting more and more difficult for independent filmmakers to get their work distributed or are they not looking at the right outlets?
I think it really depends on your own distribution strategy. I mean, technology has made it so easy for any filmmaker to upload their film on Amazon Prime, YouTube or Vimeo and start self distributing it yourself. The difference is how you actually promote and market your film to an audience who will actually buy it.
The film distribution market right now is entirely different than what it was ten years ago (as I’ve been told.) Traditionally, if you were able to get your film selected, or better yet, win an award at one of the top-tier festivals like Sundance, Cannes, TIFF, Berlin, Venice and others, then your chances of getting serious offers from international distributors and striking the perfect deal with actual “money” attached were very high. But what I hear from insiders, is that in today’s market, no one is really “buying” films like that anymore (unless it’s China,) and they’re very strict on the kind of content that they buy. It’s really all about online “streaming” these days, whether it be on subscription based platforms (SVOD) like Amazon Prime Video, Netflix and Hulu. And now Disney+, Apple TV+, NBC’s PEACOCK, CBS’s All Access, HBO Max and others who are competing for a piece of that streamy pie. Then you also have the ad-supported platforms (AVOD) like Roku, Tubi, Pluto, Xumo, Amazon Fire TV and others who each have active users ranging from 6 to 30+ million.
There is definitely opportunities out there for independent filmmakers. The only part that is difficult, is trying to get your film up on some of these platforms on your own. Many of them highly curate their selection of films and only deal with an aggregator (distributor), so having a good distributor that can place your film on these platforms is a must.
If you could make one film together right now where budget wasn’t an option where would the location be, who would be the leading male and female actors and what would the tagline be?
For location, it would be New York because we’re not done with it. Tom Hardy, Noomi Rapace and Marissa Tomei would be our cast.
Two MI6 agents (Tom Hardy, Noomi Rapace) working on a case in New York City are set up, and end up hiding in a Little Italy restaurant owned by an old retired mob family (Marissa Tomei). These unlikely characters soon realize that they share a common enemy.
What’s next for you both?
We’ve written several screenplays that have won some awards and we’re now in the early process of getting one into production.
Thanks so much for taking the time out to join us in The Green Room, we will be continuing to follow your journey from afar and know each and every project you are involved with will be a huge success.
Thank you again for having us be a part of Fusion.
Interviewer: Dan Hickford
Guests: Michael & Cati Gonzalez