Tenacity and calculating measures are paying off for seven, hard-working New York Latino filmmakers and actors whose careers are reaching higher ground by virtue of their work in a short films at the internationally acclaimed Cannes Film Festival. Acceptance into the Festival de Cannes will benefit from a prime viewing position within the Short Film Corner from May 13-24th. The talent traveling to France do so with the intent on networking with industry players, institutions, financiers and the most important international reps in the film business to develop their next project – possibly a feature film. Here’s a behind-the-scenes look at the journey that got them there.
Synopsis: A group of friends and family gather for a birthday meal seemingly engaged in cordial conversations while hiding imperfections and secrets under the tablecloth.
There are actors and there are actors. When you meet Pablo Andrade you see a zest for life in the sparkle of his eyes and smile. Born in Venezuela and residing in the U.S. for the past 3 and one half years, Pablo was cast in Tablecloth, a short film by Moroccan-born director, Youssef Lahlou for his thesis at the School of Visual Arts.
Pablo Andrade: The character, Tom seemed an interesting person. When I portray characters I try not to pass judgment taking into consideration this person’s past and questioning what may have shaped him. Culture did not play a role here in spite of having a Spanish accent. Undoubtedly, this negative behavior of domestic violence appears in any culture. The character was not defined as Latino or pertaining to any culture in particular, rather a person who has this particular problem. As an actor I don’t have any problem interpreting such a person, rather I find it enriching and an interesting challenge to avoid typecasting a person who suffers of violent behavior.
TL: Talk to me about the metaphor of the “tablecloth” in the film’s title.
PA: This was what spoke to me most. It is a very typical birthday gathering, but under the tablecloth everyone has a secret they carry. Events that have hidden secrets – secrets that we all keep to ourselves for fear of being jugged by society or loved ones. Peoples’ cover come off and you witness the diverse characters’ real scratches and vulnerability. My character in particular has a violent background.
TL: What brought you to the USA and tell me about the awards you won in the last six months?
PA: I came to this country to develop myself further as an actor and for a new experience. I acted in Venezuela in theater, film and commercials for television. I came to HB Studio, the Hagen Core Training for a year and then a subsequent year. I had studied Utta Hagen’s technique in Venezuela, read her book and I knew it was time to up the ante when it came to sharpening that technique. Once here, I worked on several short films and at El Repertorio Español Theater (NY Spanish-language local theater). Then in October 2014, I was awarded the HOLA (Hispanic Organization of Latin Actors) as Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble Cast for El Loco Por Fuerza (Insane By Force) by Lope de Vega and Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in Noche Tan Linda (Such a Beautiful Night) performed through Peregones & Puerto Rican Traveling Theater. Plus in March 2015, Noche Tan Linda also received an ACE Award (Latin Ace Awards for Spanish-language productions) for Best Performance by an Actor in a Dramatic Production.
TL: What would be your $0.10-worth of wisdom that you would share with others in your field?
PA: As an actor, I have learned that the word that has haunted me the most in my career and finds me in a good place today is, ‘obsession.’ If you can do it in a healthy fashion, your passion for your work flows and grows. It is important to think about this day and night and to constantly learn, improve and hone in on your craft. Don’t ever think you know it all, because you never will. In the same breath, if this is what you aspire to do more than anything else in life; don’t have a Plan B for your career.
Pablo Andrade Acceptance @ HOLA Awards 2014: