‘LL: You, your brother Kevin and your sister Leslie all followed careers in film. Was going into the film industry something that your family supported?
John Marco Lopez: Going to the movies was like going to church for us, and we went practically every weekend. Afterwards, we would discuss or debate what we had just watched. However, like most children of immigrant parents, we were encouraged to get a good education and pursue stable careers like medicine, politics or finance — which of course is very logical. They eventually got the memo when we graduated from college, but we still had to show that we could make a decent living. Thankfully, they are now our biggest fans.
‘LL: Where did you go to school to get the knowledge and training that it takes to become a filmmaker?
Kevin Lopez: When I knew in my heart I wanted to pursue filmmaking, I was in my second year of graduate school. I knew at this point that my calling was film, so when I realized that the New Media Studies program was to be led by Linda Riesman, former head at Zoetrope, I quickly applied. I was also informed that Miramax Films was offering the Miramax Films Minority Scholarship Fund to graduate students working on their Master’s projects. I was accepted into the Master’s in Arts & Humanities Film and Performance program, which introduced me to some of the most incredible film educators I have come to know. This program provided me with the opportunity to obtain a comprehensive film arts education that helped jump-start my career as a filmmaker.
John Marco Lopez: I’ve been fortunate enough to have on-the-job training helping my brother make music videos/short docs when I was in college. He would direct, and I would just wear multiple hats — anything to get the job done. There was an incredible amount of trial and error involved, experimenting with different camera and editing techniques, learn as you go—guerrilla filmmaking at its finest. Then, being able to work on big budget TV commercials took the learning curve to another level.
‘LL: What was your first film project, and how did it come about?
Kevin Lopez: The very first film project that I have worked on as a director was the documentary film for my Master’s Thesis titled Entre Luz y Sol, about the social affects of tourism in Cuba in the mid 2000s. This film was supported by the Miramax Films Minority Scholarship Fund and in collaboration with University of Buffalo Latin American Studies Department. The short film would eventually receive recognition not only at the university level but also in film festivals across the country.
John Marco Lopez: My first short film was shot on a camera phone, back when they were first released with decent picture quality. It was an experimental horror film — really just testing the waters with narrative storytelling, and also embracing the cultural phenomenon of camera technology.