Miami New Times' Mastermind Awards honors the city's most inspiring creatives. This year, we received more than 100 submissions, which our staff narrowed to an elite group of 30. We'll be profiling those honorable mentions, and eventually the finalists, in the weeks to come. This year's three Mastermind Award winners will be announced February 28 at Artopia, our annual soiree celebrating Miami culture. For tickets and more information, visit the website.
The type of kid who would build campfires in the backyard and craft spears out of bamboo and old knife blades, Joey Halegua's first experience with B-movies was when his sister brought home Sleepaway Camp II. The gore and sex impressed him and he was instantly smitten with filmmaking. The "class clown" in high school, he went on to pursue a BFA in Film Production in California, with an emphasis on Creative Producing and a minor in Sociology/Anthroplogy. College only heightened his love of film and he also became interested in producing.
He decided to move back to Miami and devoted himself to filmmaking. He produced Where It Stops (2008) which won the "Florida in Focus" award at the 2008 Miami Film Festival (spotlighting young local talent). Another film Canned Ecology (2010) played in the Coral Gables Short Film Festival. Others received recognition in other festivals around the country. Noticing that similar films were being shown at local indie theaters such as O Cinema and the Coral Gables Art Cinema, he decided to initiate his own series at LAB Miami.
"I figured that LAB would be a good 'incubator' space for me to start screening films in Miami," he said.
The Gutter Film Series plays free Miami B-movie and cult films. "Our goal is to inspire and bring together the creative community through offbeat film screenings. From its onset, Gutter Films has been a free event, it is inherently non-profit. At Gutter Films I show two movies a month united by a common theme," shares Halegua.
Cultist: In first grade, what did you want to be when you grew up?
My parents tell me that in the first grade I wanted to be a policeman, although I'm pretty sure I wanted to be a shark biologist. I had this old book from the '70s all about sharks. I wish I still had it somewhere.
Three favorite films?
My three favorites seen recently are Brain Damage, directed by Frank Henenlotter, Rituals AKA The Creeper, starring Hal Holbroook, and Society by Brian Yuzna.
Three worst films?
The three worst films (but still enjoyable) seen recently are Aerobicide, a film about a killer gym, Home Sweet Home, definitely my favorite bad movie, and The Indian Killer starring Chuck Connors... not even on IMDB, found a VHS in Waterville, Maine, library sale for a quarter!
If you had a billion dollar budget, what would the title of your film be?
A monster budget like that, I'd have to make a monster film and set it in Miami. It would probably be called something like Gatorzilla vs. Mutant Pythons starring Harvey Keitel, Fred Ward and Susan Sarandon... we'd also put like $250 million of that budget towards trying to reanimate Warren Oates from the dead so that he could play the Army general who goes rogue and leads his troops to certain death in the Florida Everglades.
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What's your least favorite thing about Miami?
My least favorite thing about Miami is 100 percent the plague of spandex clad cyclists clogging up our streets. I can rant forever about why these people suck. Do you really want me to do that? What ever happened to bike-riding for leisure? Or mere transportation? If you're going to be a bike athlete and need to train why do it on our narrow suburban streets? Go to the countryside and train. There's a velodrome in Pembroke Pines. Go there! They are dangerous, rude, and look like idiots.