Alexander Gaeta Winner Directors Choice Award 2011
Alexander Gaeta attended the University of Colorado at Boulder, combining passions for photography with natural abilities for storytelling as a documentary filmmaker. He transferred to the Chapman University Dodge College of Film and Media Arts to further his knowledge in film production, graduating in a Bachelor of Fine Arts Degree in Film Production with a particular emphasis on directing, he wrote and directed 3 short films. As a recipient of the 2010 Destination Africa Scholarship he went to record the life of abandoned orphans living in the streets of Botswana. In Gaeta's senior year he was selected to be mentored by prestigious producer Jonathan Sanger (100 Feet, Vanilla Sky, The Elephant Man). This esteemed scholarship provided Gaeta to gain invaluable insights when developing his thesis film, Shoot the Moon. This film has also been chosen as an official selection at New Orleans Film Festival, Cucalorus Film Festival, Encounters Bristol Film Festival and Austin Film Festival. He was also chosen to be part of First Cut 2011. Since his graduation in May 2011, Gaeta lives in Los Angeles and is developing his first feature film about the fragility of the human connection.
Shoot the Moon is a relevant true to life film which highlights today's difficult economical situation and depicts how this can affect decisions and relationships. Based on a character known as Marcy Meyers who is struggling with piling bills, a failed marriage and an imminent foreclosure on her home, she is hoping for nothing short of a miracle. Which is found in a national Game Show 'Shoot the Moon' that provides hope and promise of that once-in a lifetime chance to win it all. However this comes at a price as her relationship with her daughter is tested to the limits...
-Would you like to tell us a little bit about the short movie?
We made it as an undergraduate thesis in collaboration with Chapman University, Dodge College of Film and Media Arts. It took about a year to write, we developed it during the course of that year. There has been an overwhelming response so far. We had finished the shooting part back in March and finished the film in May. We just premiered here at the Angelus Student Film Festival. We are hoping to start the Festival Circuit with this so we are really excited to see how it all goes....
-Where did you get the idea to write the short from?
Originally I wanted to do something with game shows as this fascinated me.. Shoot the Moon is the name of the game show within the movie. What fascinates me about this is the repercussions it has for the American Dream. The idea of getting something from nothing, we kind of focused the story that changed over and over again on a single Mother who kind of becomes obsessed with this game show in kind of an effort to save her home from foreclosure. There are a lot of relevant themes like this. It is kind of a family drama but it something that you really have to see to articulate it well.
-You highlighted then the present day economy in your movie?
Yeah, I was always interested in making films that were relevant. It matters somehow and that means something. There are issues and themes that people can relate to when they see it in the year 2011 and it would be different if they saw it in 2005 or 2015 or another year for example. I always find that something relevant to right now to be one of the things I like a lot about films like 'Up in the Air' which were really relevant beautiful and kind of inspired me as to what films can be made about the now and what they can do.
-With the subject material that you have put forward in this film what were you hoping for from the audiences that they would get from this?
Honestly, it was never an issue film and I don't think I would be very good at making issue films. I think at the forefront of the film it is basically a relationship about a mother and a daughter. That was the repercussions that this recession is having on the family unit of the responsibilities and motherhood. In a way having this role reversal where the mother has had to give a lot of responsibilities and has become incapable of doing her job and her daughter has to step into the plate. So in many ways it is kind of like a universal thing in American families - it is something that is really important and something that I kind of I experienced in my own life, so I was interested in telling that angle.
-What format did you shoot the movie in?
A red MX
-What is next for you?
Travelling a lot with the film going to various Festivals here and internationally. At the same time I am in writing development for a feature so we have started writing and are getting serious with a new story. We are really excited to see where that takes us to a stage that we want to present it to people.
Thank you for your time