Cleveland International Film Festival } March 29 – April 9, 2017

With the Help of Angels

April 06, 2013   |   posted in Filmmakers


Director Arí Maniel Cruz says filmmaking is a lot like raising a child—eventually it just takes on a life of its own. His feature, “Under My Nails,” must have been brought up well, as it has already won awards at several international film festivals.

He attributes some of its success to the all of the support of friends and family that helped him in its creation. He describes them as “angels.” They started appearing right away in the process—they offered help with funding or contributed creatively to the project.

“Angels just started appearing,” says Cruz. “They said, ‘I told you we here—why haven’t you called us before?’”

In fact, many of the cast and crew were people that Cruz and his wife, Kisha Tikina Burgos, already knew. Burgos is both the film’s lead actor and its screenwriter.

Cruz wanted to make the film in a very particular way, so instead of offering to pay each member of the cast and crew a salary—he offered them a share in film’s royalties. This changed the usual film production dynamic very different—it became a co-op, where each person was invested in the success of the project.

“Then we had 20 crazy people who all owned the film,” he says. “No matter what—if the trains stopped running or there was 4 feet of snow, they always showed up.”

This made the production of “Under My Nails” particularly efficient. They shot the whole feature in 22 days in New York and 5 days in Puerto Rico, which is Cruz’s home country. They finished the whole thing in 6 months.

“We were able to finish it in that amount of time because we made it out of love.”

—Bridget Kriner
Photo by Janet Macoska

PDF  Download Related PDF [1.7 MB]

Related Screenings:
04/05/13 @ 4:00 PM – Under My Nails
04/06/13 @ 8:45 PM – Under My Nails

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