Posted by: Ashley Ruskiewicz | June 29, 2011

Indie Filmmaker Spotlight: Pedro Brenner

Pedro Brenner, winner of Best Documentary at the 2010 Burbank International Film Festival, is no ordinary filmmaker. Pedro exemplifies all the qualities it takes to make it as a filmmaker. Pedro wrote, directed and produced the multiple award- winning GUS: An American Icon. Even more impressive, the film was made on a $15,000 budget. This could fool even the most experienced director, as the film can be compared to those with budgets in the hundreds of thousands. Pedro talks with fond memories of not having enough money for food while attending the Wales Film Festival, and scrounging around to eat.

What is the first step in creating a documentary? Pedro says, “Find an extraordinary individual.” Pedro produced 10 art documentaries in 3 years in Mexico, which was an exhausting, yet rewarding feat. “I took a lot of time off after that,” says Brenner.

Passion is a main ingredient to Brenner’s filmmaking. The documentary was made because of the great man that Gus Giordano was. Pedro’s first love was photography, which is how he met Giordano. Gus needed a photographer and Brenner was the right man for the job. Pedro describes Gus in two words- humble and a dreamer. Brenner talks with fascination about Giordano’s rise to wealth and popularity. “Everywhere in the world someone knows Gus’ name, or teaches his principles,” Pedro remarked. Directing a documentary is different than that of a feature. Pedro tells me the most important thing is establishing a point of view. “Attention to detail is key in directing a documentary.” Brenner goes on to discuss his latest project, a highly dramatic dark comedy, entitled,  Help Me Please, in which he is working with producer/editor Nicholas Goodman (Star Wars, Canine Instinct, Stigmata) and composer Jay Vincent. “Laughter helps you digest,” are Pedro’s words in reflection of working on particularly emotionally invested projects.

Pedro Brenner’s advice for filmmakers just starting out- “festivals are looking for audiences to feel something.” The trick is the filmmaker must feel it as well. Pedro told me that if he could go back ten years, he never would have gone into film. He has me fooled.     



  1. […] Indie Filmmaker Spotlight: Pedro Brenner […]

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