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Feature: In Conversation With... Rebeca Durán

Rebeca Durán is a New Mexico-based director, camera operator and cinematographer from El Paso, Texas. Miss En Scene caught up with Rebeca for this Q&A as part of #FemaleFilmmakerFriday.

Clare - Miss En Scene: First of all, can you tell us about what you do as a filmmaker and what this involves?

Rebeca: I am a Camera Operator in Local 600 but have been moving towards directing and cinematography. When hired on a production as a cam op, I am the person operating the camera, framing shots and so forth. One may have a script and shot-list to refer to but you are always in constant communication with the Director of Photography and the Director. Since I am also an UAS pilot, at times I am double-tasked with aerial work, i.e, flying a drone. In regards to my work as a director and cinematographer, two of my primary objectives is to motivate the talent in giving a great performance and to create the "look" of the film through lighting and camera/lens choices. The end goal is to tell a story that is visually captivating while still adhering to my integrity as an artist, as a filmmaker.

C: What or who inspired you to get behind the camera and into film?

R: Fritz Lang's Metropolis is what initially inspired me to get into film. You could ask anyone who knows me on a personal level---best friends, family, ex-boyfriends---I love Metropolis. It is a German science fiction film from 1927 and at the time, it was the most expensive movie ever made. Without a doubt, you see Fritz Lang's genius approach in every scene and I remember being 5-years-old and thinking to myself, "I want to do that. I want to make awesome movies." Few years later, the works of Scorcese, Agnieszka Holland, Wes Anderson and Bergman really propelled me to focus on screenwriting and directing. But you know, music as well has always played in a role in what I do. A good song could really get my mind going. The other day, it was the Marianne Faithfull cover of Cat Stevens' "Sad Lisa" and immediately I began to visualize the plot for a possible project.

C: What's the best project that you've worked on to date?

R: To date, the arthouse film/music video I did for Lindy Vision, Adult Children Part II. The band did not want a typical performance music video but wanted to showcase their entire album through a conceptual, narrative film. I have directed and shot shorts before but never have I done a music video, let alone a project this ambitious. The project got me out of my comfort zone as a filmmaker but throughout pre-production, the enthusiasm and sisterly reassurance from the group eased my anxieties. I will admit---it was a tough shoot, as we had no budget! But the opportunity and experience I would never trade for. Collaborations with other women will always be worthwhile for me because at the end of the day in any industry, we need to have each other's backs.

C: What's the film scene like in New Mexico, where you're based?

R: The film scene in New Mexico is great. Most of the crew I have worked with have been very amicable and supportive. It seems like everyone knows everyone and often than not, you are working with the same colleagues on a string of projects.

C: As a female filmmaker, what has your experience been like in the industry so far?

R: As a female filmmaker, my experience in the film industry has been positive for the most part. There is this gradual yet paramount force across the world lifting women's rights to a higher state of equality, and this very force has been felt and seen in the film industry. More women than ever are occupying all departments of any given production, and so one begins to develop an altruistic bond with her fellow female colleagues. I still experience sexism and as someone who is from Mexico, I do encounter prejudice from time to time. However, I never let negativity and hatred deter me from what I have set to do, and I always encourage others in similar situations to do the same---your time and your worth is valuable!

C: Are there any misconceptions about filmmaking that you would like to erase or set straight?

R: The one common misconception I often hear is how "easy" filmmaking is. I don't know why or how someone could be that assumptive about any field. On bigger productions, we typically have a 12-14 hour work day and most crew positions are physically and mentally demanding. Night schedules are the worst, but they come with the territory.