This is an editorial by David Quintana & is to be considered as "liner notes" for future reference; for openly sharing his opinion to the subscribers of this e-magazine. His opinion is not the opinion of the cast and crew who work with him on his film projects.I have followed the progress of this Indie Film Scene project, more especially the falling out between some of the cast, crew, and the projects creator & director, Ramiro Avendano, since December of 2014. I have become perplexed learning that the director has been bashed and fiercely character assassinated so openly by a handful of would-be supporters, who once staked a lot of hope on this project to launch their "acting careers", in the small world of Independent films and then turned their complaints in to the local press to help them on their quest to ruin one mans dream.
Were the attacks becoming more personal [than biased] as time ensued, all because the people didn't get the answers they wanted and the instant fame they thought that might ensue, which never came?...your damn straight! I entered an opinion on a cast members blog here. At first, I was furious at all of the allegations being made against Avendano, and even made mention that many "studios" have heralded a lot of the same attention in the Houston Film Scene; most of which always claim network deals, big budgets, and of course, instant fame if Indie actors join their projects. Don't even get me started on talking about "Katy Nation"...the film that has been hyped for over five years...and whoah boy, do I mean HYPED by some of the "right people" who are part of the "right group" in town. Within the Houston film scene it's proven to be the mainstay on which project is "legit" or just another "amateur attempt".
Not forgetting to mention the countless other local Houston movie "directors" and "professional" photographers who have gotten a little ass on the side by promising delusions of grandeur with a part in a short film or a glamorous photo shoot. As for San Antonio's "Zombie Reign" [ZR]- and IMO, why was Avendano singled out?...well, he had a good thing going and someone noticed he was Latino, so they singled his ass out for getting a LOT of attention and not knowing what to do with it. The only problem is when it came down to telling the truth, Avendano chose not to do that and decided to embellish his dream by adding details that had no substantiation; all in a dire attempt to keep his supporters around for a little bit longer. I'm not saying that I approve of Avendano's methods, but this happens all the time in local Independent film making, and if some director in your area claims that this never happens locally, then their a big part of the problem that arises from time-to-time in your area. Everyone KNOWS it happens, many choose to just look the other way and deny it happened within their "prestigious" project.
To prove my point and much to my chagrin, the San Antonio Current received information from one Ralph Lopez who claimed that a legitimate film, especially one with a million dollar budget, requires "booking craft services" and "booking hotels" for out-of-town talent...hold on a second...this was an Indie film scene production!...absolutely no one in the article ever claimed to see evidence of a real budget nor did anyone ever claim that Avendano say he had a million dollar check in hand. He did claim that he had traveled to another studio, out of state - true...that he met with executives of that studio - true...and that a deal was discussed to work together on ZR and other possible projects - also true. But then Avendano added that there were talks about possibly investing millions to ZR, that was not true at all; especially after everyone saw this guy filming trailers with iPads. But was Avendano sure that something might spring out of the meeting? - Yes. And even though two actors had received a contract through Avendano, there was never a check passed between anyone, so any promise within the contract for pay was null and void until the check was written and then cashed by the actors.
Was there a lot of HOPE that things would pan out with ZR?...yeah. With the project now running as a pipe dream for over five-years, were some of the long running cast mates starting to become irritated with Avendano's stories of possible success?...hell yes! A handful of local "professionals" were seeing signs of a delusional film production and it only took five years to sink in; kind of sad in a way, especially since no formal film making equipment was ever seen on set or anywhere within Avendano's possession.
One of the allegations that arose was that Avendano wanted a love interest for his film and that he took things too far in scripted make-out scenes...hold on a second!...he was the director, wasn't he? It was his call to make and how he wanted to do things. The article even states that one eye-witness, Gigi P. Hudnell, stated that she admired Avendano's "diligence as a director and screenwriter despite his lack of experience". I'm sure if she saw it that way, then everyone else should have too; even those who eventually jumped on the bandwagon to bring down the production so viciously.
So, why was this handful of amateur actors and crew bitching? Were they promised something at the beginning that never came into fruition or was there something else that came into view of their hope of ZR panning out that changed everything? Well to answer that, only one guy ever stated that he witnessed Avendano stealing tips but was never turned in to the police; so that is all null and void. The same witness never stated that he witnessed Avendano stealing from other actors and crew; so, some holes were already on the surface from his statement. This witness had an opinion, but that doesn't mean that Avendano is a bad man. Already the witnesses own integrity is in question over witnessing the "stealing tips" crime and not ever saying anything about it to law enforcement, but he was brazen enough to make the claim to the San Antonio Current? The truth of having credible witnesses making claims against the ZR director were very poor.
What the San Antonio Current failed to do was seek out other film projects that had faltered over smaller, yet similar circumstances, zeroing down on a little nasty thing known in Indie film circles as "Film Scene Drama" or "momma drama" as it is more identified as. Lord knows I had my share of having to deal with Houston actors who wanted to join my projects only for instant fame, to make a quick buck, or claim that they had been personally screwed over in some weird, diabolical way. But in this small film world of drama intrigue, there is always that hope that one project will launch upward and keep to it's promoted and promised hype. Hype that comes from an idea that may have been taken too-far in pre-production.
More questions to ponder; did everyone have a dream coming to this project?....yes. Even though the actors training was crappy, did actors receive training as promised by the director?...yes. Is Avendano at fault for failing to complete the film?...well, since he hadn't even started production and the entire feature still needed a budget to bring it together even though he may have drug things out a little longer than he wanted to, No. There was never any mention that Avendano took "large sums" of money from anyone, save being a schmuck, who once in a while took cash from tips at local restaurants and THAT is a real crime to note in The Current while slandering a guy, right? So, The Current takes statements from people without having any proof? Well, they surely didn't do a credibility check on some of the witnesses who made some hardened claims against the ZR Director. Where are the arrest records, the video evidence? - no where. Does the San Anotonio Current just post statements going by some guys word, especially from someone who probably feels like he got screwed over by Avendano?
In Houston, the film scene has openly supported Dead Beat Parents, known felons, film cliques who participated in drug & alcohol filled sets around under-aged actors, participated in projects with world-known porn stars, promoted fund raisers for film project ideas stolen from other studios, and have openly attempted to destroy lesser film projects which threatened the "infrastructure" of art which was being developed by lesser talented directors. Again, every city and town that has a "film scene" has many of these issues, but rarely is the local news agency [like San Antonio's Current] are used to bash on only one director involved in some local momma drama, this time apparently because he was Latino and planned on kissing up on Caucasian actresses in his movie...there is no other explanation.
The fault with Advendano's project came from those people who were on the set as "glorified extras" with extremely small roles, who didn't get any more attention than they wanted. It's obvious to me that one clown, Tim Miller, a local writer of 'horror' [and I use that term loosely] was apparently in it only for the money and the glory. After he started questioning Avendano's handling of the project, he wrote a blog and bitched openly. He got some people to listen to him and he got a hard-on to start an inner riot over his unsubstantiated claim. He's written a book about his experience on the film project and is charging people to read copies of his "Memoirs" over the calamity of working on Zombie Reign, as a comedy which bashes the director openly. And did The Current make mention of that during their in-depth investigation?...No!
Cute and written in kid-style 'sand script', but otherwise as expected from an ass-clown wanting to get his own glorification of slandering someone who didn't pan out to be as 'talented' as Avendano was. His books provide a little insight that Miller uses gorgeous women on his covers, all are Caucasian women who are tied up and bloodied, but what is never seen in photos are those models hugging up or kissing on Miller. It makes me wonder if Miller is a little jealous that Avendano gets to smooch with his co-stars on camera. Miller made it his own personal war to shut down Avendano and his supporters from making any progress or attempt with progressing with Zombie Reign, declaring on his Facebook page that they "nailed the coffin shut" by having the SA Current write a feature about the five-years the film has never been worked on, how many people like Miller were "used" and "misled" and how Avendano should be taken to court and sued.
I don't know Timmy-Boy, there's a lot of promo video for ZR out there. Promo video that could have been used as pitch material; no matter if the work was shot on iPhones, iPads, or handicam video. Even the The Current advised that most film projects rent cameras AFTER they have cemented a budget through investors and even Miller agreed that Avendano was never able to solidify investors to the project. Miller went as far to state that "no film was ever made?", claiming that, according to his opinion, most of the scripts were based off of an infamous television show and that Avendano re-used some of their promo ads to promote ZR. If that is true, then the idea of ZR would fall under the genre of "fan productions" and I am sure there is no law against using images from other professional projects to support a promo; especially when Star Trek fans do it all the time in their projects and openly on the web too - and there are other projects out there that do the same!
The part that really makes me chuckle, is the note that there are some people considering taking action against Avendano in a lawsuit. FOR WHAT!?...I wonder what the charges will be? Excessive kissing of a Caucasian female actor? Not sharing in the kissing scene with a Caucasian female actor during screenplay? Not setting up catering services or hotel rooms for glorified amateur extras? Diabolical intrigue of trying to make a film without a budget? Excessive bragging about having a million dollar production? The use of plagiarized promotional ads? Illegal unwanted sharing of success with people who are in a film scene who want equal status over nothing? For creating a scam where NO other Indie film has EVER tried to scam someone before?...All of those claims sound silly and guess what, they are. There was no crime perpetrated by Avendano, there was just a bunch of self-absorbed idiots who had a taste of the warped world of the Independent film scene...if you can't stand a little drama in your life, just leave quietly and don't come back! Sad I know, but for many amateur actors and extras, it's a hard pill to swallow.
Well anyways, if you're in the short film scene you have to expect some drama and this new e-magazine is dedicated to telling the whole story with elements of the inside story concerning the San Antonio based project. I made sure that there were cuts and excepts from various sources in San Antonio who supported Avendano, and of course, those who bashed the living crap out of him. I'm not completely supporting the director of this project, nor am I bashing him, but the SA Current should have put all of the eggs in one little basket and not just the witch hunt against one man, his project, and the studio crew who still support the dream. I tried to contact the director for his point of view, but he would not return my calls. I'd rather do a video interview with the Avendano, so he can get the word and feelings out like he'd wish to and without edits. Read the articles and enjoy the ride...that's all I can say.
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