By Director Daniel Bernardi
Andrés Gallegos, a VDC filmmaker and a recent graduate of the School of Cinema MFA program, has been nominated by the American Society of Cinematographers for his graduation film, Shoe Shiner. Andrés is one of five students nominated in the graduate category of their annual awards along with filmmakers from AFI, USC and Chapman.
For Andrés, Shoe Shiner is very personal. It was born from one of his most precious memories from listening to his grandfather. “The script is based on my grandfather’s childhood and it portrays one of his adventures as a shoe shiner in Talca, my hometown,” Andrés told us. “This story has always resonated with me and during the evolution of my creative process as a filmmaker, I have been able to identify its narrative qualities and cinematic potential,” he said. “Wanting to bring it to a film form was a very natural decision for me.”
The fact that the script is based on a real story is a reflection of Andrés commitment to certain narratives that he feels close to, that he can observe in his home country in a daily basis. In Chile, the greatest manifestation of segregation is rooted in class division. Chileans live in such a dynamic that everything is articulated so that the less privileged classes have a lack of access to basic rights like quality education, working opportunities and health, directly affecting their human condition.
It is the sensitivity to the personal stories of peoples that preserver through great challenges that drives a number of Andrés’s VDC films. During the year 2017, he directed three short documentary films for VDC under the framework of the VA Legacy program. He carried out detailed development work together with the history department at San Francisco State University (SFSU). He also worked with teams of undergrad students from the School of Cinema at SFSU. “Personally,” he told us, “it was a very enriching experience, from addressing very sensitive stories to my performance in leading a documentary team.”
To see one of the films he made, Private first class Benjamin Tollefson, See:
This short tells the story of a Gold Star mother who honors her son and his family. “Benjamin found meaning in the Army, and his wife and son carry his strength forward.”
In this 2018 Andrés participated as a cinematographer in the realization of several VDC film projects now in post-production, traveling to France, Belgium, Hawaii, New York and Pennsylvanian to shoot material for five shorts and one feature on WWI. VDC then sent him to Israel film a feature-length documentary, Objector, directed by Molly Stuart. This film tells the story of Atalya Ben-Abba, a young Israelite who refused military service and chose prison to oppose Israel’s occupation of Palestine.
Unstoppable, during his stay in Isreal Andrés directed a short documentary, “Guy Hircefeld: A Guy with a Camera” for VDC. This short tells the story of a veteran that served in the Israeli military who now fights against occupation. This film is currently on its film festivals circuit.
Check out a trailer here: https://vimeo.com/288612014
VDC will continue to work with amazing filmmakers like Andrés. He has made us a world-class production unit focused on telling the veteran story.