We are so excited to introduce you to producer Rolando Vinas, producer of new indie horror Investigation 13. He co-owns the production agency Gorilla Studios in Miami, coming off a long career in management.
1. Moving from screenwriting and management into producing Investigation 13 has got to be a huge leap. What was your most significant learning curve?
The most significant learning curve was to master being patient. Seeing the project all the way through, from its inception to its release. It was arduous and lengthy, but rewarding.
2. How do you feel your experience working with Regal helped you learn about the film industry?
I would say that working on the theatrical exhibition side of the movie business crystallized in my mind the importance of understanding that as much as filmmaking is an art form, it’s still a business. Movies are considered art but in reality, they are products. Understanding demographics and the market place can help filmmakers to reach their goals.
3. Investigation 13 is so interesting, the way it’s shot makes you feel like you’re actually watching a team of real paranormal investigators! How did you decide on that feel and what helped you ensure the tone during filming?
Krisstian de Lara should be credited with the tone and the shots of the film. However, one of the most important pieces that helped to establish that tone was the score. I worked with Maxwell Sterling, the composer, to ensure that the music for the film was executed in such a way to help elevate that tone. He did an excellent job.
4. I really love horror movies based on urban myths, it gives it such an interesting cultural context. Why choose Mole Man for your first film?
Honestly, we reviewed a handful of scripts with the purpose of trying to find a project that was contained and could be filmed affordably. There was just something interesting about this killer who is basically trapped in this facility. Understanding his history made this a fulfilling journey of discovery as we were developing it.
5. Meg Foster is such a phenomenal actor, how did that casting come about? Had you always pictured her for the role?
I love Meg Foster! She was such a professional on set. The cast and crew truly enjoyed working with her. Initially, the role she played was meant to be for a male actor. But we struggled to find a recognizable male actor who could fit within our budget. So I made the executive decision to change the character of the caretaker from male to female, researched on IMDb Pro and spotted Meg Foster right away. We did not reach out to anyone else. She was our first and only choice for the film.
6. What was the most difficult hurdle you had to deal with while creating the movie?
I would have to say that working in that building was god awful. We shot in the summertime in Miami. The building had no AC. It was very, very hot. Conditions were very difficult. Equipment was overheating. We had to feed popsicles to everyone and continuously provide ice-cold towels. Not to mention that we had some paranormal experiences that made members of the cast and crew very uncomfortable.
7. How long do you think you’d last in a horror movie?
You mean if I were to actually be in a situation that would be similar to a horror movie? I would probably just run away, I guess. I mean I’m not really a fighter, but I’d give it my all and fight all the way till the end.
8. Will you stick with producing horror movies?
Honestly, the market for horror films is extremely saturated at this time. Although I enjoy horror films, as a producer I need to focus on projects that tell the best story, stories that excite me. I don’t feel that being married to one particular genre would be wise.
9. The film industry in Miami has suffered recently, are you hoping that having Gorilla there can help revive it?
As a producer, my responsibility is to the investors first. As much as I would like to film future projects in South Florida, if I find that it is financially sound to film a project in another state that incentivizes filmmakers, then I will consider filming in those states. Florida is a jewel and a great place to film. My hope is that Florida’s political leaders can find a solution that will help to bring the film industry back to Florida.
10. What is your production company Gorilla working on next? Will we see a sequel to Investigation 13?
At this time we have a couple of projects in development and we are speaking with financiers about those projects, including a TV series. No sequel to investigation 13 in the foreseeable future.
11. Is there anything else you’d like fans to know?
Right now, smaller filmmakers are getting killed by the big behemoths. The movie studios are not producing any smaller films anymore. Those days are gone. They’re only interested in large tent pole films. Please support indie films. It’s the only way that we can survive in this world of algorithms. The more demand there is for indie films, the more attention they receive from the streamers. We can’t survive this current climate without the public’s support.
Rolando has a background in screenwriting, with over 20 years of experience with the craft and 16 years of theatrical exhibition with Regal Entertainment Group, one of the top theater exhibitors in the world. He is currently a co-owner and producer with Gorilla Studios Miami and a graduate of ScreenwritingU Masters program.