Baby Steps: Guillermo A. Vazquez
My name is Guillermo A. Vazquez. I am the Executive Director and Co-Founder of the Puerto Rico Film Society (PRFS). I graduated with a BFA from Tufts University and currently am Cinema MFA candidate at San Francisco State University. I am living in San Juan, Puerto Rico and also work as a film teacher in The School of Fine Arts of Puerto Rico.
Where I’m at
Just starting out. I love teaching and expect to keep doing it for the rest of my life in different areas of the arts. I’m also obsessed with film in all its aspects. In Puerto Rico there isn’t that much of a film scene. So in order for me to work in P.R. I had to invent a career. If I wanted to direct Puerto Rican films I need an audience. That’s were the idea for the PRFS started. It was a way for local filmmakers to have a cultivated audience for their films. I’m also on the verge of directing my thesis film and feel incredibly insecure about it- mostly because I want it to be an honest film about local youth. To a certain point I feel my filmmaking career depends on being satisfied with my thesis; yet at the same time I want every aspect of this film to be laid back and relaxed.
Where I want to be in the future
I want to keep teaching and directing local films. I want to represent my country in film festivals and expose our local reality to the world while evolving into a great cineast.
Has this ambition changed since your college days? If so, how and why?
This ambition has been the same since college. Unfortunately it is very hard to dedicate myself full time to being a filmmaker for I have to make a living. That is where the PRFS comes in. Both careers complement each other wonderfully. Through the PRFS I have seen a lot of amazing films as well as meet great filmmakers, distributors and executives. Networking is a big part of what I do and a big part of a filmmaking career as well.
My first Baby Step
I will say my first step was showcasing the Global Lens 2010 in Puerto Rico. I started working on this project while I was in SF. I had the honored of meeting with the Global Film Initiative and pitching the PRFS idea to them. We also met with the San Francisco Film Society. They where very insightful and believed in the project. They opened doors for us that we never dreamed of.
How did that first step lead to the next… and the next?
After having the endorsement of the GFI it was a matter of having the local film community support us. We put so much guts into to PRFS that the local support happened organically. You could tell we were doing things from the heart yet in a sophisticated matter. In two years we have reach more than 8,000 audience members and work with the most prestigious film entities in the world including the Sundance Institute.
What lessons did you learn from your Baby Steps’?
Never underestimate the power of a small act. Now that I think about it the first action we took was sending an email to a classmate that did an internship with the Global Film Initiative.
How do you keep your foot in the door?
Believe in yourself and implement tactics and strategies to get where you want to be. Be persistent and do not hesitate to network.