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Lucas Leyva: Lens Meister

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Perspective is paramount to a filmmaker. You have to not only weave a story by parceling together disparate elements, but also take into account the audience's point of view. You must see the film from inside and out. Maybe that's why Lucas Leyva has distinguished himself.

Though he just turned 24, Leyva already has the ability to see things differently. And luckily for Miami's fledgling film scene, he is committed to his hometown, despite the lure of fatter paychecks in New York and Los Angeles. "I'm going to pay my dues no matter what. I can go to L.A., pull cables on other peoples' sets, and bring coffee to people for five years, or I can bust my ass in Miami to build something from the ground up," the unassuming, spectacled Leyva says. "I'll do it on my terms."

He's the founder of the Borscht Film Festival — the coolest movie event in town — which features the work of local filmmakers under the age of 30. He's a cross between introspective and assertive, pleasant and brazen. Plus he has a selfless streak almost to a fault — like when he shuns self-promotion in favor of crediting those around him. "I want to be able to create a project on my own terms and also to help others create them. In other words, I want to be doing what I'm doing now," he says, but on a larger and more profitable scale, of course.

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Lucas Leyva

Leyva's insistence on staying in Miami might be smart. The city's Zeitgeist is bubbling with cultural creativity and reminds the filmmaker of other seminal periods in major cultural centers. "We are creating culture here for the first time. Miami is not just a place to wait it out while conditions get better in your home country or to vacation in the winter."

Those forces are molding the film culture in the city, and Leyva — a film history buff who can wax poetic on obscurities such as the Romanian New Wave film movement earlier this decade — is primed to take advantage. "Each film we make is an answer to the question: What makes Miami Miami?" he says. "We don't even know what this place is yet. But every film is an answer and another question."

See what we mean? Perspective.

Emily Newton | Thomas Wenski>>

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