Imagine winning the Emerging Filmmaker Award at a film festival for a project that was shot in one day on a $180 budget.
It might sound too good to be true, but it’s exactly what happened to film producing partners, Adrian Nava and Sandra Lopez when their action comedy, ‘Take Five’, came in first place for Pictoclik’s first annual Film Festival. Their success story is the epitome of what happens when persistence meets drive meets innovation meets a strong work ethic.
With junior college film classes now in their vault of memories and bills to pay in the real world, it hasn’t been the easiest road for Nava and Lopez. Still, the two manage to ferment new ideas and carve out some time for what they do best. It’s clear that neither of them plan on slowing down or stopping anytime soon.
Born in California and raised in East Bay, Nava attended Diablo Valley College and has been in the film industry for over two years. His inherent love for movies began during his childhood when he was introduced to two of his favorite motion pictures, ‘Terminator 2: Judgment Day’ and ‘El Mariachi’. Growing up, Nava also cultivated a passion for literature, art, and music which continues to add new layers to his filmmaking experiences. He admits he’s had quite an interesting ride on his quest to break into the industry, as expressed in his debut, ‘La Vida Loca’, a film based on his own life. The film was selected to screen at the 2012 San Francisco Latino Film Festival. That journey inevitably led him to meet actor David Fernandez Jr. and producer Rosa Aguayo who hired him to be the first assistant director on the independent feature ‘A Father’s Journey.’
Aside from Nava’s first project and ‘Take Five’, he’s created two other short films entitled ‘Ruthless’ and ‘Threat to Society.’ He’s a modern-day Renaissance man who’s mastered production, writing, directing, and editing experience. In addition, Nava’s also put acting under his belt after being offered a minor role in a film, ‘Exile Corporation’ based on a true story set to be shot in Vancouver, Canada.
In 2009, Nava also founded Aztek Studio Films and aspires to have the company become a dominant independent movement in the film industry. While his main focus has been on short films in drama, action, and comedy, he eventually wants to set his sights on creating feature stories and venture into producing other genres. Nava is currently working to save money that will be invested into new projects which doesn’t afford him as much time to spend on filmmaking as he once had in school, but plans on taking some time off to get back behind the camera again soon.
Sandra Lopez, one of Take Five’s Executive Producer, has her own vision and track record as an aspiring artist. Inspired by Nava’s earlier projects, she began incorporating many aspects of film into her work and discovered how the art of creating motion pictures easily combined all of her passions. To date, she’s submitted five short films to the festival circuit and prefers to explore different genres rather than sticking to one.
Like Nava, Lopez is fond of working with DSLR cameras because of the changeable lens and the photographic quality they possess. She’s focused on earning money as an editor for a nearby production company so she can eventually devote more time to filmmaking, investing in more equipment, and beginning a production company.
“Money is always a challenge but in this area, I think it’s getting the support,” Lopez says. “This area is so saturated with many tech mainly working on software and big startup companies that filmmaking is not a big priority as it is in Los Angeles. Filmmakers are outsiders.”
Despite going against the grain, in terms of a passion and career path, Lopez credits the creative process and a hidden community of Bay Area filmmakers for making her remain determined. Several of those that she’s met were through Pictoclik after receiving the ‘Judges Choice’ award. Lopez was actually with her film crew when she got the announcement on that fateful night, a moment that she says made them all feel like they were on cloud nine.
Take Five was also produced by Veronica Salas, the new addition to Aztek Studio family.
For more updates on Adrian Nava and Sandra Lopez, check out Aztek Studio Films.