We had the good fortune of connecting with Andrew Garcia and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Andrew, we’d love to hear about how you approach risk and risk-taking.
To me, the biggest risk in any art form is being vulnerable enough to tell a story that reflects your own personal thoughts, truths, and experiences. In the wake of Hurricane Maria’s destruction in Puerto Rico and the U.S. governments’ inadequate assistance, I felt an urgency to have our voices heard. At first during pre production on my latest short, LA PIEL DE AYER (HBO), our producer at the time had promised to fully fund the project with a said business partner. Once we were about a month away from filming they backed out and left to LA with no explanation. I still don’t really have words to describe my frustration towards the situation. That month was spent reaching out to executives that I had met, applying to grants and other possible outlets for funding. But they either weren’t interested or felt that the project was simply “too ambitious.” At that point, news outlets were discovering the increasing death toll caused by Hurricane Maria and I just felt that I needed to make this film at any cost. I ended up taking out a personal loan to be able to stay on schedule and make the film. Due to those restrictions I was only able to bring down five crew members. Everyone knew how challenging the shoot would be, but we were met with nothing but love and support from the community while we were there. It was one of the most challenging and fun shoots I’ve ever been on. Upon completion and following up with several executives, the film was released though HBO where it is currently streaming. I hope that artists, especially young filmmakers, don’t hesitate to tell the stories that feel right despite any no’s or roadblocks along the way. That one story could be the difference to the community around you and could go farther than you imagined.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
My work mostly touches on issues of racial inequality, politics and family. Coming from a multicultural background, my films address issues of environmental crises and societal constructs. I also hope to create work that breaks the boundaries of what is defined as “race, culture and globalization”. Although I am just merely beginning my career, exciting opportunities have already unfolded and even more await. The biggest challenge was overcoming the financial collapse of “LA PIEL DE AYER”, the film I mentioned before. It was by far the most stressful and tough time in my short career. But through perseverance and motivation I found a way to get it made and is now streaming on one of the most reputable streaming platforms in our industry today.
Any great local spots you’d like to shoutout?
I always hype up Miami to the fullest to my New York friends and as you can imagine, my enthusiasm is thought to be exaggeration…until they visit. During the day I usually take people to a hole-in-the-wall Cuban spot to eat some croquetas and sandwiches on the beach (south pointe park, 71st street beach). PAMM is always memorable. The everglades are a must for any outdoor enthusiast. And of course more beach, beach, beach. At night, I would start off slowly at a nice outdoor spot like Lagniappe or The Anderson. Next, I’d help some friends loosen up and hit the dance floor at El Patio, Coyo, and Wood. Lastly, I’d most likely cap off the late night as most would at The Corner and Las Rosas. In Miami you gotta keep up or you’ll be left behind.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
Growing up within supportive Latinx communities in Miami helped grow my confidence and my shape my voice as a storyteller. Along the way there have been so many family members and friends that have watched out for me and given me advice to succeed but there are a few that definitely stand out. Most recently on “LA PIEL DE AYER’, Amresh Sinha (advisor) helped Matthew Hershoff and I flesh out a compelling story that could stand out and make light of the tragic events in Puerto Rico. Next, Julie Brodsky (producer), helped us on the ground in getting around the city of Arroyo, while Elaine Del Valle (producer) helped give the film a platform to be heard and seen within the Latino community after completion. Like all productions and stories, nothing is possible without the support of crew, advisors, friends and family. There are too many to name, but they know they are all appreciated and loved.