Below is a chat with the director of Definitely Soy, a weird and cool short that played PUFF. Check out his thoughts and then check out his films. Ruben’s films are unique… and, below, you’ll rread that he is very unique too.
Thanks for taking the time to talk to us, Ruben. Your film, Definitely Soy, played PUFF this past year. Let’s start there. How was that? How was the reaction to your film?
First, thank you for having me on the site. It’s a real pleasure. Unfortunately I wasn’t there at PUFF to make it, but I managed to see trailers and other materials from the other films which were one stranger than the next. It’s great to see this kind of festival where movies like these have an outlet. I’ve seen so many festivals and PUFF is really an exception when it comes to the quality of its content. Hope to make it in person next time.
PUFF has earned a reputation for playing very original, even bizarre, features and shorts. What about your film sets it apart? And, for those who are just learning about you and the film, what’s it about?
Yeah, their lineup is always something special. When I discovered PUFF I thought Definitely Soy was a perfect fit. The basic setup is that David and Goliath meet again in a classic 50’s themed diner just as it’s about to close. The waiter is David (Louis Bacigalupo) and in walks this silent massive Goliath (George Zouvelos). Other characters join and they all order milk (in some form or another) and the whole thing spirals out of control from there. It’s a comedic setup and tone, but with one or two surreal moments woven in.
What are some of the other projects you’ve done or are working on?
I did another short, called Man Shaving, which is more of an arthouse piece/experiment. In it three men of three different generations go to a barber to be shaved. Over the whole thing there’s different pieces of classical music which is my idea of what they’re thinking about. It’s a weird little movie. Otherwise I’m working on another short of misadventures set in a city.
If someone wanted to check out your work, how would they go about doing that?
Before we wrap up, let’s talk a bit more about your style and influences. Who and what are some of your biggest influences?
I really have to say David Lynch if it’s just one. I really love his movies. I was going for something along the lines of what he does in the short. The tone, the atmospheres of his movies are all pretty distinct and surreal in different ways. Especially the way things happen out of nowhere, disappear and yet they stick in your mind and sometimes become the most memorable thing from the movie.
Amongst the contemporaries out there now, do you have any favorite films – both featured and shorts – that have released in last year or two?
Yes. I loved Certain Women by Kelly Reichardt. Its atmosphere and rhythm put you almost in a trance. Also, The Assassin by Hou Hsiao-Hsien. I love wuxia movies and this one had a completely different rhythm to the others in the genre. Methodical with sudden bursts of action. Also the way everything is perfectly framed. It’s one of the most beautiful recent movies I’ve seen. So understated and contained, but there’s a sense that everything could burst at the seams in a second. Lastly Mid90s, just because it was so reminiscent of early youth. I’m not from LA or into skating but it just had that special something, like Rocky maybe. Actually, besides the incredible filmmaking craft behind it, it just had so much heart. Whatever that quality is.
Since it was just recently Christmas, I’d be remiss if I didn’t quickly ask you what your favorite holiday films were.
Definitely Gremlins. Actually I’m not even sure it’s considered a Christmas movie. But it really feels like one. I just remembered seeing it as a kid and tonally it’s like a Christmas movie that then just does a 180 and especially as a kid you’re just stunned.
Well, thanks again. Remind us where we can follow you and your exploits.