“DON’T LET ME DROWN” co-writer-director, Cruz Angeles
[PREMIERE SCREENING: Sunday, Jan. 18, 12:15 pm — Eccles Theatre, Park City]
Not all, but the majority of short-form works on the Net are gimmicky and instant pleasures — like candy. I am not interested in making candy. I want my works to be a full meal — a story that keeps ringing in your head, something that sticks and stays with you for a very long time. Cinema will falter for a bit but will not die. I believe the new developments are supplementary and not replacements of long-form work. When [co-writer] Maria Topete and I were writing Don’t Let Me Drown we kept going back to films that have influenced our storytelling for a very long time, films that transcend space and time. Films like The 400 Blows that still ring true today. There have been many attempts and movements that have tried to play with the concept of story and its form and structure but the ones that always work for us are the ones that hit emotionally, psychologically and spiritually at a human level. These are the works that last the test of time. From masterful silent visual narratives like F.W. Murnau’s The Last Laugh to more recent work like Iñárritu’s Babel. So our storytelling was not influenced by the changes taking place. I still believe that you can’t replace the experience of seeing a film on a big screen with a bunch of strangers. Watching a movie on an iPod or a computer cannot replace the experience of watching it with an audience. And I believe that certain dramatic writing rules will continue to apply. They’ve worked for the Greeks, Shakespeare and modern Hollywood screenwriters and will continue to work in the future because a well-structured story that reaches people at a basic human level will still continue to resonate. And this is what Maria and I will continue to try and do in our storytelling.