We had the good fortune of connecting with Julio César Flores and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Julio, we’d love to hear about how you approach risk and risk-taking
I think taking risks is an extremely difficult thing for humans. Risks are frightening, it’s like throwing yourself to the abysm. You never know if it’s gonna be worth it or not until you do it. Some may not even consider taking risks, they are comfortable where they are. They think they don’t need more or are afraid to get more. Although for me, taking risks has been the main part of my journey, for good and bad, but it has become part of what I am now. When I was around 13 -14 years old, I remember hearing this quote, that completely flipped my life, and made me start taking risks. The quote says “He who does what he loves is condemned to success”. Wow, the first time I heard it was kind of a call, allurement. Since little I always knew I wanted to be a film director. Although when you start growing up, voices from friends, family, teachers, start asking you about what you are gonna study. Expecting things like, I want to be a lawyer, an architect, a business, a doctor, etc. They never expect you to say things like; I want to be a painter, a dancer, a photographer, or in my case a Filmmaker. That completely frightens them, because doing any artistic career, implies a big risk. Well for me that was the first big risk I took, deciding I wanted to study film. From there, risk became part of me. Being a passionate young Mexican, decided to move to Los Angeles, study film, follow my passions. It all has been a big risk, but now I finally graduated, motivated, and ready to take more risks. I’m not saying all decisions will bring something good out of it. Although I’m the type of person that prefers falling and learning from that, than staying with the desire to do something you never had the guts to do. At the end of my life, I want to look back and be in peace with myself, cause at least I tried.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
It all started on May 25th, 1999, a young passionate creative was born in Mexico City. Since I can remember, I always had a camera in my hands. It was photography the thing that made me start. I just found myself really curious about the strange machine that could actually stop time for a moment and capture the beauty of life. Every family trip was like an opportunity for me to take the camera from my parents and photograph everything. Then I discovered I can also film things since then, my obsession with filming and photography didn’t stop. That passion has taken me to different places. I have managed to use photography as a job, where I covered photography for different influencers in Mexico and the United States, social events, clubs, and artists. Thanks to a competition I won, A collection of my photographs have been displaying in a gallery of photographs about Mexican culture, In here I portray the real life of street workers in Mexico. Photography has been a great part of my learning as a filmmaker. It helped have the unique distinctive eye I portrait in each photography. When doing portraits I like portraying what the person is. I like making a reflection of their soul.
Film-wise I have managed to work with several companies in Mexico directing, editing, and filming commercials for them. I have worked with brands like “Zoofari”, which is a Safari located in Morelos Mexico, “Disfraces de Peli”, which is one of the biggest costume stores in the country, “Urimuri” wich is a conceptual jewelry brand, and many more. I have also directed several music videos, and corporate videos. Talking more narrative wise, I had the opportunity to collaborate in high school with different classmates who helped me make a short film I directed. The school send this film to festivals and we manage to win it, displaying the short film ” La Culpa de la Inocencia ” in a cinema. Seeing my worked big screen is one of the most beautiful moments I can think of.
After moving to LA, I manage to write, direct and produce a lot more of short films. My most important ones being “LIFE” and ” A Moral Tale”. When creating films I noticed I love creating philosophical conflicts in my films. My art is about asking questions, not about the answers. I love creating an atmosphere that feels aesthetic and unique. I focus in the characters developed and their environment. Morality, life and death, connection, love, loneliness, are current thematic in my films. Right now I’m in pre production for my next short, which will be my biggest one so far, “What Happens”, where I want to talk about the possibilities of life after death.
Of course not everything in my journey has been easy. I have fighter against criticism from the outside and inside. I had to demonstrate what I’m capable of, I have taken big risks. Although I have the idea that nothing in life is easy, and without risk, there is no story. Im still creating the story of my life, but so far everything is going great. All my defeats have been experience I’ve learned a lot, and let me tell you I have failed a lot of time. I’m excited and working hard, for whatever comes next.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
Wow, this is a great question. Well when I think of Los Angeles, I think of many things. Los Angeles is full of everything. I personally really like being around nature. This place is no expectation for nature. In here you can find from beaches, mountains, forests, desserts to even snow when you go north of California. So nature would be a big destination for my friends. I would take them to Griffith observatory at night, so they can see the beauty of tLA when all the lights are on. Also beaches like Laguna or Malibu. Topanga park so they are closer to the forest and nature. Finally, I found these remote ghost towns in the desert when you are driving from LA to Las Vegas, it’s an interesting place to visit. I would also take them to activities like museums, there are a bunch of them around, I personally love the broad and the history museum. Also places to rollers skate or bowling, cause there are popular in LA. Finally, there are so many mixed cultures in LA, that food is delicious. A walk-in Koreatown, with some Korean BBQ, is a great idea, Some Ramen at Tatsu Ramen, Pizza Studio, burgers, and many more. Restaurants here are extraordinary and really delicious. Lastly, I would take them to visit places in Burbank, Melrose, Beverly, North Hollywood, and Studio City.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
Firstly, I couldn’t be the person I am today, without the support that my parents gave to me. I think since I was their firstborn child, they expected me to continue with the family company. I remember the first times I told them I wanted to be a director. I’m sure they thought it was something that was going to pass, it never did. Although they never stopped believing in me. They support ed my crazy idea of being an artist, I know they were scared, and still are. Yet, their support is always there and I’m extremely grateful to have them by my side. Not only them but my brothers and friends that have always supported my art. They gave me hope, each time I needed it the most.
My teacher from college, New York Film Academy Los Angeles. Richard Van Heertum, Jeff Hare, Sarah Warren, Bart Mastronardi, Joe Burke, and Paul Laverack. They are professionals in what they teach, but most importantly they are passionate about it. I learned from them not only technique, skills theory of how to create a film., but much more. I learned the beauty, the hard work, the passion there is behind every frame. They taught me the bright and the dark side of my career and made me recheck that I was in the right place. Each one taught me something different that I will always bring with me.
Finally, I want to thank all the filmmakers that made me fall in love with this beautiful craft. Andrei Tarkovsky, Alfonos Cuaron, Alejandro Iñarritu, Yorgos Lanthimos, Pedro Almodóvar, Eliseo Subiela, Luis Buñuel, Federico Fellini, Gaspar Noe, Sam Mendes, Martin Scorsese, Lars Von Trier, David Lynch, Krzystof Kieslowski, Alejandro Jodorowsky, P.T.A., and Terrence Malick. All of these filmmakers have amazed me, moved my heart, my soul, have made me feel so many emotions. They show me that each movie has a life, a soul of its own. They showed me to fight for what I believed, and fight for my film. Without these wonderful inspirations, I wouldn’t be where I am now.
Julio with the camera by Tianqi Zhao