Director Carlos Freire was honored with the Excellence Award in Short Documentary for “Terraza 7” during the 7th Edition of the International Filmmaker Festival of New York. Written and directed by Carlos Freire, “Terraza 7” is produced by Carlos Freire and Mariella Perez. The documentary highlights how “gentrification is affecting the small business of Jackson Heights, Queens”.
In the following interview with Hollywood World Magazine, director and writer Carlos Freire talks about the making and the importance of “Terraza 7”.
Hollywood Insider Interview with Director, Writer and Producer Carlos Freire
Hollywood World: First of all, congratulations to the “Terraza 7” team for receiving the IFFNY Excellence Award “Honorable Mention” for “Excellence in Short Documentary” in New York. How did you feel at the time when you found out?
Carlos Freire: It was great to know that the documentary was selected for an Excellence Award for Excellence in Short Documentary. These awards make me feel that the audience that was exposed to it appreciated the work done. Also, my team has invested their time and effort to produce quality work and I owe that to them. This award is for them.
Hollywood World: What was the most significant decision in shooting your current film?
Carlos Freire: The most important decision was to choose an ending to it. At that point we didn’t know what was going to happen to Terraza 7. We decided to leave it with an open ending but luckily the story had a good outcome and we ended up adding it months after the documentary was finished.
Hollywood World: What part of the script/story best stood out for you and why?
Carlos Freire: The part that stood out to me was the fact that Jackson Heights is losing its cultural diversity. Jackson Heights is the most diverse area in NYC and it is a landmark of the city because of the cultural authenticity that we can find there.
Hollywood World: Without giving it away, tell us a little bit more about the characters and the lead actors.
Carlos Freire: The main character is Terraza7. The rest of the people that was featured in the documentary were really important to the film because their contribution to it was really important and it made possible to understand what is happening in the area according to the different ethnicities found in the place.
Hollywood World: How do you bring this story to life while staying true to your vision as director?
Carlos Freire: I decided to open eyes to the problem of gentrification. As a director I wanted to put my activist voice against the displacement of the small businesses in Jackson Heights.
Hollywood World: What excites you about this project?
Carlos Freire: It makes me feel excited because it has been in many festivals winning many awards, and I never thought that it was going to be like that. All I wanted to do was to communicate and to show the reality of our small businesses.
Hollywood World: What other works are you most proud of?
Carlos Freire: I have other documentaries based on social issues as well as Terraza 7. One of them is called “Qween Amor” which is the fight of a transvestite activist in favor of gay marriage in the United States. “My dream on the other side” is the story of an immigrant Mexican family that travels to the United States looking for their American dream that lives back in their hometown in Mexico, it portrays what I call “the new model of an American family” composed by immigrants affected by different situations depending on their migratory status.
Hollywood World: What films have been the most inspiring or influential to you and why?
Carlos Freire: What really inspires me is the opportunity to make a change. I don’t want my film to look like someone else’s film, I want it to create an impact on my audience and that is what I’m aiming for every time I produce a documentary.
Hollywood World: What do you do to enhance the collaborative process when working with actors, screenwriters, producers and others creative members?
Carlos Freire: My team and I are very tight, almost like family. We share our ideas and opinions to come out with a great story. We all collaborate and we respect each other’s input about the topic.
Hollywood World: How do you see your role as a filmmaker?
Carlos Freire: My role as a filmmaker is to be a communicator to my audience. I work hard on giving them a chance to see the social issues that I expose in my documentaries.
Hollywood World: Which film festivals that you have been part of would you recommend to other filmmakers looking to screen his/her films?
Carlos Freire: I have been part of many festivals such as: Barcelona planet film festival, New York short film festival, Latino Market film festival, Blvd film festival, Queens world film festival, International filmmakers film festival, and others. We have received award for Audience choice, Best Latino Short Documentary, Excellence in Documentary Production, nominated for Best Cinematography.
Hollywood World: Do filmmakers have any responsibility to culture? What message do you want to convey with your films?
Carlos Freire: I have a responsibility to culture because the content I create is based on how the diversity of the people in the United States interact when they face a certain problem or obstacles. These dynamics gives my films an activist voice that opens eyes to everyone that sits in front of the screen to watch them.
Hollywood World: What do you want to be remembered for in life?
Carlos Freire: I’d like to become someone that worked for a positive change to our society. I hope that my films created a social impact in a short or long term.
Hollywood World: What valuable lessons have you learned that helped you become the person you are today?
Carlos Freire: I have learned to understand the struggle that we as human beings have to endure to be able to conquer our dreams. It has changed the way I see things now. Some of us complain about simple things in life, and we don’t stop and see the reality of people who have bigger problems than ours.
Hollywood World: What are your top five principles of success?
Carlos Freire: Consistence, sacrifice, positive attitude, never give up, the will to make a change.
Hollywood World: What’s next?
Carlos Freire: The dynamics of homeless in New York City.
*Cover Photo Credit: Wigner Duarte, Alex Hermoso, and Carlos Freire (Photo by Innovation Media New York)