Today we’d like to introduce you to Dany Flores.
Thanks for sharing your story with us Dany. So, let’s start at the beginning and we can move on from there.
I was 14 years old when I decided I wanted to be as filmmaker. I was born in a small city called Cuenca, in Ecuador. A country where we have an almost non-existing film industry and no film schools. I knew I couldn’t stay if I wanted to accomplish my dream, so at 17, I came to the US to apply to film schools.
At 19, I moved to Atlanta, GA to start my studies at SCAD. Since my freshman year, I got involved in small productions as a producer. Making mistakes and bad movies, I learn how to make better ones. By the time I was a sophomore, I was more confident in my abilities and I knew my weaknesses. I was good at talking, networking and organizing. I wasn’t very good at lighting, sound or production design so I started making friends with people that were.
By the end of my sophomore year, I was producing thesis films for Graduate students at SCAD. My very first grad thesis was K-Hole by Darren Usher. I managed 70 people and a 5-day production as the sole producer, which was something rare in the undergraduate department. My professors noticed and started recommending me to my peers as a producer and assistant director.
As a junior, I had worked on 40+ short films, music videos and commercials. I had been nominated for a student Emmy for the music video When My Love is Empty by Capital Arms. This is when I decided to take the next step in my career and started applying for internships.
My first internship was with 20th Century Fox on the feature film Stuber. I was an office production assistant, and this led me to my 2nd and 3rd internship that year. Netflix/Warner TV and Paramount/BET in that order.
These internships took me out of school for about seven months and when I came back, I was ready for more. As a senior I got myself involved in the very first SCAD-Atlanta produced pilot in which I was 1st assistant director managing a crew of 40-70 people in a 6-day production. I was also working full time on my senior film, Vanilla Milkshake.
Vanilla Milkshake was a different project for me. It was my first time directing a project of this scale. I wasn’t necessarily comfortable in this position since I didn’t do it often. My producer, Thang Ho, encourage me to direct instead of produce since it was my story to tell. It was a script on the works for about 2 years. We shoot at the beginning of the month, and I am proud to say that it went great. My crew was formed by amazing, talented filmmakers. With Vanilla Milkshake being a project that took almost 60 people and $5000, my next steps are working on pushing this film into film festivals and getting it out there for people to see.
I am excited for the next few months. I can’t wait to work with my filmmaker peers to help them tell their stories. I am lucky to be surrounded by such talented people. It inspires and makes me a better artist every day.
We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc. – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
One thing that everyone knows is that the film industry is very demanding and competitive. As a Latina, I often find myself being the only one in a room full of white men. This makes it even more difficult for people like me to tell our stories. “it’s not relatable” “no one is going to watch that” “no one cares about that” and that is always hard to hear.
I found myself in a situation where I can feel bad and complain about the lack of opportunities, or I can try to create an opportunity for myself.
I surround myself with people that care about the story you have to tell. Foreigners, women, LGBTQ+ filmmakers that have a different perspective. People with extraordinary stories, because nowadays those are relatable to all the people out there looking for representation.
I want people to look up at the screen and see themselves in the characters, and if they can’t, learn that stories are human and that is relatable to all.
Please tell us more about your work, what you are currently focused on and most proud of. What sets you apart from others?
As a filmmaker, I am a producer and assistant director. I also write and direct. I’m trying to be more comfortable in a directing role so my future projects will be focused on that aspect. I am lucky enough to be surrounded by versatile filmmakers who are more than comfortable jumping into other crew positions to let me explore the ones I am not too familiar with yet.
Right now, I am excited and looking forward to push my film Vanilla Milkshake. The editing process has started and I will be submitting it to film festivals in the next few weeks. I am hoping this will allow me to meet new filmmakers and passionate artists to collaborate with in the future. I will be working with Thang Ho on his thesis film in the next few months. I am writing a few short films and working as a freelancer as a 1st and 2nd assistant director.
If I had to pick a set of skills that set me apart from others it would be my ability to multitask, manage time and learn quickly. During my time at SCAD I found myself not able to continue my studies because of my financial situation. I had to pick up new skills quickly in order to pay for school. I became a cyclist, which taught me time management and perseveration. I learned to play cymbals and joined the drumline. I became a line cook, a dog sitter, a runner, I even manage and organized a wedding for extra cash.
All of these extra gigs on the side don’t necessarily relate to film, but they all taught me something that I could apply to my life as a filmmaker. My skill might not be a traditional one, but I think my passion for film is what keeps me going to make sure I do anything to accomplish my goal.
So, what’s next? Any big plans?
I am three months away from graduation from SCAD. This means that a lot will be changing. I am used to being in school, having a weekend for sets, and meeting with my peers and professors twice a week to talk about films.
I am looking forward to working full-time again, mostly about getting a weekly paycheck. But in order to get there, I have to apply for a job. I have a few leads and I am playing with the possibility of maybe moving to a different city. My heart is in Atlanta and eventually, I’ll come back here, but I want to travel and experience new places. Good thing about film is that you can do it anywhere.
- Phone: 770-842-8627
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Photos by: Erick Salati, Thang Ho, Rocco Shapiro, Jeremy Rock