A Harsh Lesson For New Filmmakers — Alex Munoz

Film Courage: What’s been the easiest year you’ve had as a filmmaker? What has been your toughest year?

Alex Munoz, Filmmaker and Founder of FYI Films: I think my easiest year was 2000 when I booked my first film RIOT (the Showtime film). I was brought in under tragic circumstances. The guy who wrote it was Joseph Vasquez. He passed away and they were looking for a new director and it turns out that most of the producers went to USC and there was buzz about my thesis film called POR VIDA. I did my first movie right when I got out of film school and I got a commercial agent and I was doing commercials and my other film got into Sundance (it was such a year). And yes, there is some happenstance and luck…I don’t like to call it luck because someone died but the writer/director passed away. They needed someone to direct his segment and I had to come in and change it because the way he wrote it (he was from New York, a brilliant writer/director from New York (New York Rican) and I had to make it more LA. I was thinking wow, how did this happen? I’m directing a film for Showtime and I just got out of film school. Is this really happening? I was going to Berlin and going to all of these film festivals. But the point of ignition was me getting that Showtime movie.

And then…the worst year was probably the year…I don’t even like looking at the film because the producers were not honest. They cut out eight core scenes and they said we’re going to shoot these scenes in LA and I said Yes let’s shoot…(Watch the video interview on Youtube here).




Image courtesy of FYI Films

FYI Films Mission: 

FYI Films empowers youth affected by the juvenile justice system to improve their lives and become self-reliant. Through media literacy and the creative story-telling process, youth find their voice and gain valuable skills that are transferable to all areas of their life. 

About FYI Films:

Founded in 2004, FYI FILMS has produced over thirty-five film workshops with youth in LA County, Guam and Hawaii. In these workshops, youth write, direct and perform their own short narrative films based on their past. By making films informed by their own immediate history, the process of filmmaking helps them to gain perspective on their lives. FYI FILMS regularly screens these films to policy makers, giving them insight into the lives of young people from economically disadvantaged communities, and thus helps inform them as they craft policy regarding juvenile offenders. FYI FILMS is a high impact program, and through a three year study, has proven to put a serious dent into recidivism rates in LA County. 

FYI FILMS continues to change the lives of incarcerated youth. To date, the organization has helped to make over fifty-five films by offering high impact film workshops to a population that is both underserved and marginalized. FYI FILMS believes that every young person deserves a second chance to turn their lives around. Telling stories helps incarcerated youth gain invaluable perspective on their lives. By giving them the tools to make short, dramatic films based on their own personal and immediate history, it renders their past unrepeatable. 

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