Mark Saldana’s Interview with director Anlo Sepulveda and actors Roberta Colindrez, Anis Mojgani, and Jacqueline Leal from the film OTIS UNDER SKY Monday afternoon I was blessed with the opportunity to interview the director and lead actors from a film that is visually gorgeous, has characters who should win the hearts of any audience, and was achieved without a definitive script. This was no easy feat, but at the same time felt liberating and exciting for the cast and crew of OTIS UNDER SKY. Mark Saldana: How did this film idea come about? Is it based on any personal experiences? Anlo Sepulveda: Otis is loosely based on a guy I knew named Garrison. He was a bull rider who really got into Eastern philosophies and eventually moved to Morocco, grew a beard, and learned Arabic. In the movie, Otis is not a bull rider, but his interest in Eastern religions and philosophies were inspired by Garrison. MS: You’ve directed shorts and documentaries prior to this film. How did this film differ from your previous work? AS: The whole production spanned over a larger period of time. It was much more time consuming than shorts. My work in documentaries did prepare me for the task, though. I took this approach to OTIS in that I shot it much like a documentary is. MS: Would this fall under the category of guerilla style filmmaking. AS: Exactly MS: How challenging was it to produce a film unscripted? AS: Very challenging, but my wife Mandi who produced the film kept everything organized and on track. MS: How challenging was it for you the actors? Anis Mojgani: Challenging, but beneficial and fun. Roberta Sepulveda: Very liberating without the structure of the script. Awesome, but stressful MS: I have not seen the film yet. What should I expect going into this film if you could describe in a few words? AS: It is a gentle tale of love and loss, a struggle for connection in a often disconnected world. AM: It attempts to be sincere without being cynical. RC: There is a theme of growth, a duality of connection and disconnection, growth and learning Jacqueline Leal: Visually beautiful. MS: Anis, tell me about your career as a poet and spoken word artist. AM: I have been writing poetry for 12-15 years now and doing spoken word for 5 or 6 years. I have done shows at schools and colleges. It comes from a quieter and organic place very much involved in the imagination. MS: Roberta, I read in the press kit that you are currently a cast member for the Neo-Futurist. Tell me about this. RC: It is a unique Avant Garde aesthetic in NYC. 18 artists write, direct, perform about 30 plays within 60 minutes. MS: What projects do you all have next? AM: I’m getting married, planning a wedding. After this I will be working on a children’s book and finishing a script. RC: I just hired an agent and plan to seek more work with the agent’s help now. Until then I will continue with Neo-Futurism and I have started writing a screenplay. AS: I started working with Paul Collins on a documentary on the San Marcos River. Also will continue to seek distribution for OTIS UNDER SKY JL: Will act in a surfer film and a film thriller in Uganda.
Mark Saldana The Movie Doc