We had the good fortune of connecting with Antonio Darwiche and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Antonio, what role has risk played in your life or career?
When confronted with a challenge, some might feel fearful and understandingly so, however my take on fear is challenge itself, one with obstacles established along the way. I think fear is as natural a feeling as love and happiness, and perhaps a more complex emotion to handle. Taking a risk, in my opinion, is an act of chance whereas you gamble success or instant defeat – BUT the win tends to come with a much higher reward if achieved. My personal and professional story is one that has risk as its core. Taking the easy way out has never been my way. I like to make my own path and I have done so by taking immense risks. In 2014, I took perhaps the greatest gamble yet when I moved to the U.S. to study and pursue a filmmaking career. I was terrified at the time, because all I knew and had accomplished I had to leave behind in order to start with a clean slate (pun semi-intended). Somehow I managed and with each new fearsome challenge I overcame, I grew as a person and as a filmmaker. I have taken many risks along my professional journey as well. In the short time I stayed in California, I accomplished many things I’m proud of. I had to fight for recognition, fight negativity and endless judgement, but ultimately when it came to show, I always presented myself and my work well. I entered film festivals, which to me was a huge risk because at the time I knew absolutely nothing of that part of the industry. I won a series of awards and my movies were enjoyed by vast audiences. These meant a lot, since most work I did was non-paid jobs or even self-funded passion projects. Eventually when I returned home following my graduation and a work year abroad, things changed again. All that I had built up; my character, my reputation and my network remained scattered and far away. No one now knew much of me or my work. So once more, I was faced with perhaps fear, and certainly an opportunity at a massive gamble and risk. Early 2019 I began work on launching my very own production company. Approximately six tedious months later, my production company, “Studio 24B©”, was official and registered. Since then I have managed some work including a respected worldwide medical company corporate job. Risk has played a huge part in my life. It is what has helped me progress both as a person and a professional. Nothing ever comes easy and for me it certainly never has. You work hard and you get rewarded, but the rewarding doesn’t come easy nor fast. Tunnel vision and being patient is key. Focus and determination is fundamental. Believing in yourself is crucial and especially when no one else does, because there will always be those negative sources of energy around you. THAT is when you shine. THAT is when you take a chance on yourself and gamble knowing you have all the cards you need to win.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
My attachment to art has been an ongoing and evolving relationship my whole life. I have been surrounded by great artists in my family for generations with music, drawing, painting, poetry, photography and dancing. I simply combined all the mentioned upon exploring each medium itself for years, and the culmination was filmmaking. I love stories and the power of a good story. There are so many unifying qualities in film, qualities that show the greatness of knowledge, kindness and understanding. Proven over and over again, stories are also a tool to showcase different perspectives and sometimes it’s easier sending a message through a fictional story, or even a story based on real life, through a three minute song, an hour-long episodic, a two hour movie or a best-selling novel. In ways I have always been a storyteller. With elaborate narrative games as a child and over-the-top performances acting them out between siblings, it’s easy to see the sprouts grown; silly home videos miming to famous songs or even attempts at dramatic story telling using a built-in laptop camera. The tools available never mattered, they simple grew as I did. Art is a subjective matter, but it has endless power to unite. Today endless debates that originate from a fictional source are ongoing and seem never-ending. There is a strong sense of passion and that is a factor that has affected me and compelled me as a storyteller. Reaching out to the worlds all people and unifying all no matter age, place and time with a story that works on a universal level – THAT is what my stories are aimed to do. My stories are always crafted around a simple idea: people co-exist as one, divided only by circumstance and human flaw. The choices we make are what define us, but nothing else has to. We don’t choose where we are born, how we look or if we claim any fortune. We are simply people who co-exist and our character is defined by the choices we make in the time we are given. Those are the stories I like to tell and that is my underlying message no matter comedy, drama, horror or action.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
Whilst most will recommend the artsy city downtown or Hollywood’s famous Walk of Fame, I really don’t go there much. I always preferred the restaurants, outside malls and the cozy bars around. If I have to mention one place that means more than any to me I would say go to “Bob’s Big Boy” in Burbank. You will have the most wonderful time there, both day and night. Enjoy the food, the setting, the happy staff and kindly stay out of my booth.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
When it comes to everything that I am and have accomplished, I always remain humble and grateful for the small group of people who give me everything I could ever ask for. Their strength and support, encouragement and compassion does more than I could ever explain. All my success is because of my family. In addition, I have been blessed with an amazing woman in my life, one who always encourages, supports and shines the brightest light in all companies. My stunning Maisie Grace, you’re simply the best. Maisie is an amazingly talented actress who has it all and seeing her perform is only the beginning to her endless wonders. To all casting directors, I will do you a favor and redirects your attention to Maisie Grace. Soon you will know her from all exciting billboards and from your favorite shows. Thank you eternally to my six.
Other: Thank you for reading my story! Stay safe and take care.