Q: Why did you become a filmmaker?
PL: Well, I’ve always loved movies, but growing up in a small town in New Mexico, filmmaking never seemed like a realistic goal, so I went with the much more mundane pursuit of becoming an astronaut (seriously). This led to an Air Force ROTC scholarship with the plan of being accepted into the Air Force academy, but then that evolved into a Comparative Religious Studies degree from the University of New Mexico, which led to college ministry, which led to trips to Mexico, Egypt, Serbia and Spain, which led to filmmaking. ‘Completely normal career path… 🙂 Honestly, this was never the plan, but as I got into it, I realized that there was nothing else that I wanted to do. I love film, and I count myself fortunate that I’ve been able to make a living in it.
Q: What are we going to see at EFPalooza? Has it screened elsewhere and what are your plans for it?
PL: Dishwasher is a light-hearted, slice-of-life, silent film highlighting a couple who is working together to prepare for an important meeting at their house and end up colliding in one of their trivial differences- how they load the dishwasher. My wife, Alana, and I collaborated on it with a small, fantastic cast and crew. It has shown at several festivals around the country (EFPalooza will be its Colorado premiere) and will soon be shown at several festivals in various Latin American countries.
Q: What else are you working on?
PL: At this very moment, I’m finishing four separate documentaries examining the crime of human trafficking within various societal sectors- transportation, energy, law enforcement, and trucking – and how people within those areas can help free victims. I’m also co-producing and directing a documentary that revolves around a metal-scrapping, entrepreneurial, bi-polar, driven homeless man in Lakewood named Joe Kniss- Scrapping by in America. My wife and I are hoping to produce a narrative film this summer, one that we’ve been contemplating for awhile.
Q: Tell us one weird thing about you and/or your movies?
PL: I don’t know if this is weird, but I always hope that people have fun on set; that they enjoy the work. It doesn’t matter if it’s a narrative film or corporate interview or a documentary, I think people who are in healthy, encouraging environments find it easier to collaborate with one another, which ends up producing richer, more substantive films. The fruit of this is a more sustainable, fulfilling career for all of those involved.
Q: Is there anything you’d like to say about EFPalooza or The Emerging Filmmakers Project?
PL: When I was still in college ministry but contemplating a jump into filmmaking full-time, I met several encouraging filmmakers in Colorado. One of those was Patrick Sheridan. I started taking his acting class, and it was there that I learned three things. One, I’m a horrible actor. Just horrible… Two, acting is being, and that informed me as a director as to how best to help actors achieve what’s required of their characters and the story. Three, that I wanted to be just like Patrick- fearless, but constantly on the lookout for those he can help achieve their dreams. For him, filmmaking wasn’t solely a personal pursuit. He always did it with others, often with them taking the limelight. The art and the collaboration meant more to him then the glory, which is why he’s left such a lasting legacy. I miss him terribly.
With Patrick’s encouragement, I had my first, non-ministry, film exhibition at the EFP, which was followed by (at least) a half-dozen other productions over the years. This was a freeing, liberating experience; one that gave me the courage to pursue film fully. In my ways, I owe my career to Patrick and to the EFP, and will be forever grateful for it.
Dishwasher will screen Saturday, March 21st at 6:00 p.m. at The Bug Theatre as part of the Saturday Evening Shorts block during the 2020 EFPalooza Film Festival.