5Q's w/Paul Castroand Aly Miller "Aeris" Filmmakers

FRIDAY | BLOCK C | 11:00
Aeris (30 min) dir: Paul Castro Jr.


#1: Can you describe your movie and why somebody should see it in less than 280 characters?

A young couple struggling to hold things together, finds love again in a pet store kitten they name Aeris. Things take a turn when Aeris is diagnosed with FIP - Feline infectious peritonitis, an incurable disease. This film is for anyone who has ever owned or loved an animal. 

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


I'd love your audience to know that this film is about the relationship between humans and animals. And the effect they can have on us. Aeris was the name of our kitten (this film is inspired from a true story) and we thought it was only right to honor her by naming the film after her. It's a very powerful and emotional film that will pull on your heart strings if you have a soft spot for animals. 

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

Paul Castro Jr: Director/Writer
I was born in Brooklyn NY but raised the majority of my life on the Jersey Shore. I started off acting, working on shows such as Blue Bloods, Limitless, The Blacklist and feature films like The Skeleton Twins (w/ Bill Hader and Kristen Wiig), People Places Things, Growing Up Smith and I was the 2014 Rising Star Award recipient from the Garden State film festival. I was a graduate from NYU Tisch School of the Arts for Drama, but always knew I'd wind up behind the camera. Having so many stories of my own I wanted to tell, I ultimately found my way into producing. I've made various short films under that role, but this short is my first wearing the directors hat. After Aeris, my partner Aly Miller and I wrote, produced and directed a sitcom TV pilot about gamers currently in post production with Big Jack Productions.

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Aly Miller: Writer/Producer
Aly Miller was born and raised in New Jersey and moved to the big city to pursue an acting career. She studied Meisner at the Maggie Flanigan Studio and has appeared in films such as "I'm Sticking With You" that premiered at the Rhode Island International Film Festival and "Harvard on Hudson" that was nominated for an ASC award for Best Cinematography. She began her writing journey by winning "Best Ensemble Piece" at the TNT 24 Hour One Act Festival with her play "Gasline" and writing a feature called "Barbie Boy" alongside Paul that has been accepted to multiple festivals for it's screenplay, including being awarded Runner Up at the George Lindsay UNA Film Festival. She also directed a short film called "Hush-Hush" currently in post production and is now producing and pitching an original TV pilot about video gamers with Paul and Big Jack Productions.

#4: What was the biggest lesson learned in getting your film made? That making truthful films is a long and stressful process... but the end will always justify the means. Bringing an idea you have to life and finding others to also believe in it can be hard, but if you search hard enough you will find the right collaborators. This film really tested our ability to make something with no money, time, or working hands -- and the best lesson of all: If you're going to direct your first film with a main character being an animal you are a special kind of crazy.

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

We hope to travel the world and share Aeris's story. We have some more screenings around the world coming up (can't say just yet but stay tuned) and hopefully many more. We are working with various animal foundations such as The Winn Feline Foundation / The Bria Fund and ZenByCat -- and we hope that this film can help raise awareness about this horrible disease FIP and ultimately funding towards the cure they are currently developing. We also hope that in some capacity, whether through an acquired distribution, we can show this film to a much larger audience. 

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Matthew NothelferComment