Robert J. Escandon, a Miami director, actor, and therapist, breaks the confines of tradition -- especially when it comes to filmmaking. He and his tight crew, which includes wife Ashley, areMasterflow Productions
. His movies involve characters with tormented psyches who are experiencing some sort of torture -- be it physical or mental - and his visual style is experimental.
Through cinema, he hopes to capture our diverse cityscape, saying "Miami is Miami, and you don't how this city truly is unless you live in it. It's not a cookie cut out city like New York or California. You don't have to really visit those cities to know what they're about. Miami is special and unique in its own way. It's really hard to catch Miami's diversity on film." Between movies, hypnotherapy sessions, and brainstorming, Escandon answered our questions about overrated directors and his guilty celluloid pleasure.
New Time: How did you become involved in filmmaking?
This is a monster movie, but the monsters aren't out and running around, they live inside the characters. I was personally faced with this nasty character that was lurking inside of me (Ark) and growing every day. In fact, the clothes I wore for the character were never washed during the entire production. They looked and smelled horrible. What can I say, I really got into it. The whole production was this intense therapy session.
Katsuhiro Otomo director of Akira, Darren Aronofsky with his Requiem for a Dream, and I really like Sam Raimi too. For the most part, I think Raimi has fun with the stuff he is a part of. Evil Dead, Spiderman, and even some of his producer roles with Legend of the Seeker and Hercules, are all fun in their own way.
We came up with this kinda Grand Theft Auto meets Crank story about what a man would do when pushed to do something he would normally never do. Our main character, Brown, is a guy who goes around day-to-day surviving, keeping to himself, and for the most part always hungry. We threw him into a situation where his girl is kidnapped by this group of individuals and now he has to save her. Does he really want to save her? Probably not, but he has nothing better to do.
In one scene there's this huge party where Brown is taken and tortured. Instead of setting up a fake party for the production, we set up shop in one of these mini-mansions, invited over 150 people, all dressed in white, security in the front door, open bar, food, pool and so on. When it was time to shoot, everybody was really into it. They forgot we were filming a movie. There was no acting, only reacting.
The Mile makes an attempt to capture the different aspects of Miami through the lens. I would say it plays with the idea of what people think Miami is and what you would truly find throughout its streets. When you see Miami on a screen it's usually always the same. The concentration is still on revisiting the old Miami Vice series, which is super boring. I don't think people have really gotten over that, well... at least some filmmakers haven't.
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