5Q's w/Enrique Rico Diaz "Harmony" Director

#1: Can you describe your movie and why somebody should see it in less than 140 characters?

The story of a young female musician with a mental disorder who wants to be “normal”.  -- A “must see” for drama enthusiasts.

#2: What do you want the Borrego Film Festival audience to know about your film that isn’t obvious from its title?

In film school we were taught to write what you know.  This story has its inspiration from circumstances in my life.  I am a U. S. Marine veteran and when I returned from my first combat tour I had adjustment problems and sought “normal” relationships with my friends and family – just like the main character of the film.  I needed to find balance in my life in order to connect with others.  Like the character, I was able to find balance through creative arts and my faith.  I just hope this film inspires others to find some type of positive outlet that leads to balance or “Harmony” in their lives.

#3: What is your movie making background?  Tell us about yourself.

I am a graduate of the New York Film Academy screenwriting program and have earned certificates in directing and producing from University of California Los Angeles.  While attending UCLA, I’ve had the privilege of working on more than 40 films, including a few features.  Although most of the work on these movies has been in producing in some type of capacity, I do enjoy directing and hope to direct both movies and television.

#4: What was the biggest lesson learned in getting your film made?

Don’t be afraid to change the plan while on set.  There were two incidents where this came into play.   The first was during the argument scene.  When I wrote the scene, it played seamlessly in my mind, however on set it was clunky and not working the way I envisioned.  Initially I rehearsed the actors, and it became apparent it wasn’t the performance – it was the writing.  I listened to the input of the actors for dialogue and listened to the Director of Photography to simplify the blocking.  This collaboration led to a much better scene.

The second instance was in the heaven scene, I envisioned a much simpler shot design in order to save time – we had limited day light before sunset.  We finished early and the steadicam operator asked if he could try a different type of shot.  I am so glad he did – the result was the most beautiful footage of the movie.  I guess the main lesson I learned is to be flexible on set.

#5: What does the future hold for your film and you?

The success of “Harmony” has exceeded our expectations. The film has been selected into more than 15 festivals and has won “Best Short” at two festivals and nominated for “Best Short” at two others, in addition to other awards of recognition and merit.  Additionally the film has won “Best Actress” and has been nominated for “Best Director”, “Best Cinematography”, and “Best Editing” at some of these festivals.

As a result of this success, I am currently in negotiation to direct my first feature.  I met the producer of this feature at a film festival.  Additionally, I have been asked to direct three more shorts, two of which are in post-production, with one to go into production in Canada in late January or early February 2016.

Matthew Nothelfer1 Comment