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UPLIFTT | July 27, 2017

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Kenneth Castillo & Marigold The Matador

One of the most prolific Latino indie filmmakers is at it again. Kenneth Castillo is working on his 7th feature film, Marigold the Matador. As avid fans of kenneth’s body of work, we decided to dig a little deeper and ask him a few questions about his new project and how we can be part of it.

What is the premise of Marigold?

The idea was to shoot an entire feature film in 7 days with a minimal cast and crew and no script. I’m happy to say that we are nearing the end of that process and are currently in post and raising funds to finish it. It’s the story of a little girl who is being raised by her single mother and spends a lot of time alone. She befriends a schizophrenic homeless man on the other side of a wall that encloses the converted garage apartment that her and her mother live in. When she becomes afraid, her courage is manifested in the form of a Matador to get her through her feelings of isolation and loneliness. 

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Ivan Basso as El Toro

You said the film is without a script. I’ve heard of some directors do that before. What does it mean and why did you choose to go that route?

There was no script in the traditional sense but I did have a story and the characters fleshed out before we began principal photography. Economically I didn’t have the budgets for the other scripts that I had written. I’m not someone who is going to sit around and wait till I have a budget, so I thought to myself, “how can I shoot my next film with as little resources as possible?” I came up with the 7 day idea to commemorate my 7th feature and felt if I had minimal cast and crew and a simple story I could accomplish my goal. The overall goal was to make something simple but significant. We still have some work to do but we are definitely headed in the right direction. I just took a look at a first assembly at my editor’s and I’m very excited with what we have going forward. We just need a little help from the public and they can contribute here: Marigold the Matador. 

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Karla Ojeda as Lily

I imagine shooting a low budget film is difficult, but how difficult is it really? Where does most of the little money to shoot goes or will go? Can you break it down for us?

Even when you have a budget it’s difficult. The irony with this project is that I got everything I wanted for this film even though I’ve had the least amount of money and resourses. I got the cast and crew I wanted and my producer got me every location that I had on my wish list. What little money we had went to the permits for the locations, costumes, props, and food for my cast and crew. It was only 7 days of principal photography but after looking at a first assembly we are going to have to add 2 more days of principal and 2 more days of pick-ups. We will definitely need to get a permit for two of those days because it will involve a police car and two actors in uniform. If our crowd funding campaign is successful, most of that money will go to post production. 

Camila Banus as Older Marigold

Camila Banus as Older Marigold

Why do you call the film unmarketable by Hollywood’s standards?

There are no stars in it with the exception of Emmy Nominated Actress Camila Banus AND it’s a young girl’s coming of age story. It’s not a genre specific film like an action, science fiction or horror film. Although, it’s still an urban film which fits into my filmography. As I’m writing this, my crowd funding campaign is dying. To be honest, I was going to use that as a gauge to see if there was any interest in a film like this. Judging by the amount of donations I’ve received so far I have to say that there is little interest. My major problem is I’m not sure who the audience is for this story. It’s an unscripted drama about a single mother, a schizophrenic homeless man, and an 11-year old matador. The trend with raising money for a film via crowd funding is to connect your project to a cause. I’ve never been comfortable with that. I feel that artists who use activism as a way to promote themselves practice the lowest form of art. I’m a storyteller–period. My challenge is to get people interested in my story–not my cause. To engage my audience in an authentic way emotionally not in a manipulative way. A lot of people have responded to the video on the campaign website but only about 40 people have donated so far. That said, I’m not discouraged. I’ve always had to rely on a small group of supporters throughout my career and this is no different. My editor has done an incredible job and I’m anxious to get those last few days shot and get this project finished. If, at the end of the day, I’ve made a movie that only 40 people will see, then so be it. It will be a completely original story told in an original way. 

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Maia Kahlo as Younger Marigold

How can we help? When do you think it’ll be released and where can we see it?

You guys are already helping! Just by talking to me and posting the link to our crowd funding campaign and letting your audience know about it. We plan to release the film late this year or early next through Vimeo and theatrically through the Tugg format. The plan is to take the film directly to our supporters first then to the general public. There will be no middle man in getting the film out to our audience. We as well as our audience will have the power to share and get the movie out there. Thank you again for being one of the merry few who have supported my work. It is always appreciated.

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Marigold the Matador

There you have it, folks. Make sure you’re part of the group of people who don’t just talk about supporting the community, but also be an active contributor to it. Put your money where your mouth is. Make a contribution to Marigold the Matador and let’s make this movie happen.

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César Vargas is a producer, writer, director, strategist, and advocate for more diversity in the media. He founded UPLIFTT(United People for Latinos in Film TV and Theater) and is president of Burning Ones Productions. His articles have been published at Fox News Latino, Huffington Post Latino Voices, NBC Latino, among others. You can find him on Twitter @CesarVargas365 and Facebook: www.facebook.com/CesarVargas365. Email address: vargas365@mail.com.

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