MEET GABRIEL RHENALS
We’re excited to introduce you to the always interesting and insightful Gabriel Rhenals. We hope you’ll enjoy our conversation with Gabriel below.
Hi Gabriel, thanks for joining us today. We’d love to hear about a project that you’ve worked on that’s meant a lot to you.
Completed and self-published in late 2022, my 1st book 20 Years a Filmmaker is a project that means a great deal to me outside of my filmmaking work. At 125 chapters and 443 pages long, the book is a rich repository of experiences relevant to my formation and practice as a visual artist and filmmaker. The process of writing the book took 11 months and required extensive outlining at the outset followed by a rapt commitment to a near-daily routine of crafting the prose involved. Writing the book reinforced the importance of preparation, organization and orderliness in my creative process. Along with granting me greater confidence as a writer, the experience of finishing my first book also warmed me to the idea of writing more books in the future.
20 Years a Filmmaker is available for purchase from Amazon and Barnes & Noble. It is also a part of the collection at several Miami-Dade County Public Library System branches and the Green Library at Florida International University.
Gabriel, before we move on to more of these sorts of questions, can you take some time to bring our readers up to speed on you and what you do?
I am a filmmaker and author based in Miami, Florida. My love of motion pictures extends as far back as early childhood but was ossified as a teenager in the wake of the North American independent film movement of the ‘90s. My journey began humbly enough with little more than some basic tools (i.e., my father’s digital camcorder and a computer with video editing capabilities) and a plan (i.e., a script and storyboards).
Since those first steps over 20 years ago, I have written, produced, directed, shot and edited 16 short films and two feature-length films – and I’m on the cusp of completing a third titled Death Cleaning. In my work, I am confronted with a ceaseless quantity and variety of challenges. However, my extensive experience in the field and Swiss Army knife-like self-concept are my armor and weaponry in tackling them.
I am most proud of the longevity of my career as a filmmaker and the preservation of the same amplitude of enthusiasm that characterized its start. If you’re interested in seeing the hard-won fruit of my labor, my 1st feature film For My Sister (2019) is available on Amazon, YouTube and Tubi while my 2nd feature film State v. Unknown (2022) is available on YouTube and Tubi.
What can society do to ensure an environment that’s helpful to artists and creatives?
A critical question in fraught times such as these. With the strikes of the writers’ and actors’ unions (i.e., WGA and SAG-AFTRA, respectively) in full swing at present, the scribes and talent responsible for much of the creative content in our densely populated media landscape have found themselves locked in an ostensibly existential stand-off with the greed and indifference of Hollywood’s powerful corporate overlords. We should support the common-sense demands of these artists and, whether we can affect change directly or not, adopt equitable and good faith dealings within our own creative communities. Cooperation and fair treatment are essential to any artist and creative ecosystem – no matter how far they are from La La Land or other major creative hub.
Is there mission driving your creative journey?
Creating captivating, narrative-driven audiovisual experiences for a general audience has been the principal objective behind my filmmaking since its inception. But with each successive feature film, experimentation and risk have increasingly factored into my modus operandi as a filmmaker. And this is especially true of my soon-to-be-completed 3rd feature film Death Cleaning where I felt particularly compelled to challenge and upset many assumptions about perspective, structure and other formal aspects that typically inform a film intended for mass consumption.
With the imminent completion of what I have termed my “micro-budget trilogy,” my goal or mission, as you put it, is expected to evolve as I begin eyeing and courting investors and financiers to help support my future filmmaking activity. And as much as I am loathe to admit it after over two decades of executing productions in this manner, I feel I am beginning to chafe at the limitations of what can be achieved with a minimal budget and zero production personnel. Indeed, a whole new world of expanded (and delegative) possibility beckons to be explored. While both a daunting and thrilling prospect, the spirited exhortation of my final short film’s intrepid protagonist comes flooding to mind:
“Let’s get started!”