Tumble is an independent short film about Sam, a professional bank robber who's working his last job, is hiding out with the money and waiting for his crew at a laundromat. Things take an unexpected turn when a past girlfriend ends up being in the Laundromat.
Antony Berrios, the director of Tumble, was born in Downey, California, and raised up in the DIY punk culture, Antony Berrios has been writing story's his whole life and making films for well over a decade. Focusing on people living everyday lives whose stories often go untold, his work captures their unique vision to weave deeply personal stories that absorb their audiences. We spoke to Antony about his latest short film through Venice Shorts of California where his project is also an official selection.
What was the inspiration behind the making of your film?
This short film had a few inspirations but my main one is the work of Jim Jarmusch and Micheal Mann. Especially Jarmusch’s film Stranger then Paradise and Micheal Mann’s film Thief. So I was sort of trying to see if I could meld those two esthetics into one short. I was also inspired by the shooting style of Robby Müller. I love the street wiseness of Jim Jarmusch’s characters and the overhanging quirkiness of the actions they embody. The use elements like static shots, little camera movement and the use of the 50mm lens. A Gordon Willis lens of choice was a 40mm (equivalent to 50mm in the format we were shooting). Another inspiration to me is the filmmaker OZU. His use of the static shot and the framing things within natural frames in the environment was also a huge inspiration to me.
What is the most challenging aspect of working in this genre?
This projects genre teeters on being a bank heist film but is based mostly on a character study rather than action. For me the best short films are the ones that leave you thinking and talking after you’ve left the theater. I like short films that might not be easy to pin down but instead they challenge you and asks you to invest into the journey that the characters are on. So because of that this film sort of straddles a few genres not quite fitting into any of them completely.
When did you realize that you wanted to work in media and make films and what was the first film project that you created as a director? I work as an editor for both documentary and television and had always known as a kid that I wanted to make films. I went to school in the Bay Area in the 90’s and got a great oppturnity to work for Roger Corman before he retired. So I left the Bay Area and came to Los Angeles and worked for him at his Venice Beach studio. That was a fun, fun time. Getting paid to learn filmmaking. I worked as a trailer editor for him. My first short film was an experimental film called “Other People” it was a film about a woman confronting her father about the years of abuse she went through from him. It was a project that screened at the DGA during a series called Vision Fest. I worked with the same music composer from that film on my new film Tumble. Dirk Serries.
How did you choose the cast and the crew of the film and what was the most challenging aspect of production? There is a creative magic that happens when you can work almost telepathically with the people you pick. It’s an amazing feeling when things just click. It’s like being in a band improvising and riffing off each other seamlessly. That is the feeling I get when I work with a great crew. Especially my DP Matthew Skala. Considering all the things we DID NOT have, he made the look of this short film really stand out. I worked with Matt on another short film of mine called “A Nice Day For An Earthquake.” Cast wise I spent time looking for the right actors. I knew the work of Charlie Santore, who plays Sam. I knew he would do an amazing job with that character. He’s been an actor for many years but also works as a professional safe cracker to pay the bills. So right there I knew that would help him to jump into the character of Sam. All the other actors really fell into place, and I was so grateful for all they brought to their characters. My good friend Jeff Orgill, who is also a filmmaker, owns the Laundromat we shot at. The tough part was the hours. We shot late at night into the morning and for some of my crew and cast they all had to work the next day so it was very challenging on all them. So made sure everyone was fed on set really, really well. Every film has their own unique and challenging hurdles they have to jump over and a lot of times those hurdles make the film good.
What genre of filmmaking fascinates you as a director and which genres do you prefer to work on? I am fascinated about the human experience and peoples lives and how we choose the live that life. Directors like Ken Loach, Mike Leigh, Elaine May, Spike Lee, Barry Jenkins and Charles Burnett all examine the life lived.
How can cinema change the world and have an impact on society? Cinema has already impacted the world in many, many ways. The power of information has exploded to include many other facets of multimedia entertainment like podcasts that harkens back to the old radio days. The one thing about film is that it’s always evolving and always changing the boundaries of storytelling. We are a species of storytellers. And because of that filmmaking for both the big screen and small will be around for long time to come. As we know filmmaking can be powerful and it can help to bring issues and causes to the forefront to start or expand discourse on whatever issue is big at the moment. It’s culture. For me it’s about learning about ourselves and understanding who we are and where we are going.
What is your next film project as a director? I have a couple of projects I’m currently working on. I have a new short film called “To Bleed or Not Bleed” that is very loosely based about author William Styron and his battle with depression. And I have a feature film that I wrote with actor Bud Cort. Bud is an actor and filmmaker and played Harold in the film Harold and Maud.