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An Interview with Ryan Nunes, Director of Invisible

by Mike Haberfelner

December 2023

Films directed by Ryan Nunes on (re)Search my Trash

 

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Your new movie Invisible - in a few words, what is it about?

 

Invisible is a short film that explores chronic illness in a personís life and the small nuances that come with it.

 

With Invisible being a chronic illness awareness movie, what kind of research have you done on the subject? And is this something you've made personal experiences with?

 

Yes, Invisible is based on my own personal experience with chronic pain & mental health and how invalidated I felt over the last few years living with it. Obviously chronic illness is a spectrum, so I showed the subject matter that I dealt with personally. Most of the scenes in the short are based on my own daily routine and particularly how I felt working jobs that were more labor intensive. Chronic illness is often not taken seriously in the medical community and I wanted to make sure we gave a portrayal that felt raw and honest.

 

(Other) sources of inspiration when writing Invisible?

 

When I first started writing Invisible, it came from a very bitter place. Thatís something I can admit now. I was completely unhinged with my emotions and realized that I was hurting myself and those around me - so I took a risk and chose to get help. The original ending to Invisible was a lot less hopeful and though in some ways I preferred it - it was the people around me that didnít stop supporting me that helped me grow the most. The ending is supposed to be those people embodied by the character ďJackĒ. They are still my inspiration to be better. Even now.

 

What can you tell us about your directorial approach to your story at hand?

 

At the front of the script, I remember writing a letter that was addressed to the actors. I told them my directorial style is a work in progress and I asked them to be patient with me. I take a lot of B-roll. Probably too much. But itís capturing the moments where the actors are vulnerable or moments you wouldnít see unless you were alone somewhere. I really wanted that for Invisible. Thatís really my approach to my projects. I like making you feel like you're spying on these characterís lives. I want you to empathize with them AND understand why they are the way they are.

 

Do talk about Invisible's cast, and why exactly these people?

 

Madison Shmalo and I were in a dinner scene together. She was my scene partner and had such a familiar presence. Like an old friend. After we wrapped that night, I asked if she would ever be interested in working together and she agreed. After that, I wanted to make a feature with her. But I didnít have the money and I knew that I couldnít produce a project that size at the time - so I decided a no budget short film would be an easier way to go. I wanted to show people how amazing she was as an actress, and Iím positive that I only skimmed the surface of her talent. I knew I wanted her from the start and Iím glad it paid off.

 

I met Paul at a film showcase, and he approached me after he saw my work on my short After The Beep. He wanted to collaborate with me and Iíd never been approached before so - I wrote in a character for him and hoped heíd be able to play it. He was kinda a blissfully ignorant ill-informed type of character. But when we started shooting - I realized how nice he was and I couldnít do that to him. So I rewrote his character and added the scene in at the end. You donít waste talent. I definitely wasnít gonna waste Paul.

 

A few words about the shoot as such, and the on-set atmosphere?

 

Fast and fun. Sometimes frustrating. For the most part, we shot everything without permits & no budget. It was a two man crew for a majority of the days and a three man crew one of the days (thank you, Ted Omo). If those two sentences give you anxiety, imagine us running around shooting it. My college roommate and best friend, Nathanael Kelly, did sound. Which he had never done before. I was the DP and did a lot of handheld shots. Which obviously was hard for me at times because of my pain. Most locations were suggestions, places we had seen driving by, or maybe a favor. In the end, the most frustrating thing was lighting. We mostly used natural lighting or whatever lighting we had available. But besides technical stuff, I think we had a lot of fun. We even saw the Barbie movie together one of the days & went kayaking.

 

The $64-question of course, where can Invisible be seen?

 

Itís currently in festivals, but If you ask for the link, Iíll gladly show you.

 

Anything you can tell us about audience and critical reception of Invisible?

 

In most in person screenings, itís usually people being very gracious towards it. A lot of people who also suffer from depression or some chronic illness enjoy it for the most part and I love speaking with them about it. Especially towards those who feel validated by it. Critics seem to enjoy it  and acknowledge that its strength is the story and acting, and thatís always the greatest compliment. Some people wanted something more raw, so in my next project Iíll be leaning a bit more towards that. Thatís my home anyway.

 

Any future projects you'd like to share?

 

Iím playing with the idea of a project centered around ADHD. Showing it in a more empathetic light, rather than demeaning in most public media. Each project that I make takes place in the same universe and hopefully that will lead up towards a feature one day.

 

You originally entered the filmworld as an actor - so what can you tell us about that aspect of your career, and did you receive any formal training on the subject?

 

I love acting. I started acting when I was 15 years old, mainly with a focus in childrenís theater. Did that up until my freshman year of college, then junior year switched to mainly doing film. My first feature was Richard Griffinís Flesh For The Inferno in RI [Richard Griffin interview - click here]. I had a wonderful time. Did a few films up until 2018 and took a break because I didnít get the roles I wanted. I was dealing with a lot of self hatred and simply thought I wasnít good enough. So I came back in 2021 with a feature called Above Arkham, and then after that I decided to write my own material to show off my acting chops in my short film After The Beep - which helped me get a few roles in other creative projects and Iíve made some wonderful friends because of it.

 

What made you take up directing eventually, and which side of the camera do you actually prefer, and why?

 

The problem I have now is that my memory isnít great - which sounds ridiculous because I just turned 30. But my health problems arenít exactly helping - because I have cognitive issues too. I think a lot of people forget that is a factor with me & often write it off as anxiety. Which is disheartening because Iím already balancing physical pain. But itís my fault for accepting roles that require a certain amount of dialogue - so Iím more upfront about it now. Which is the reason I enjoy short films or small parts. So I have to do acting in spurts, rather than long periods of time now. So directing is a lot more manageable for me in a lot of ways - but more hectic. Itís heartbreaking - but itís a reality that Iím coming to terms with. I can give the lines I want to the people I trust with them, but I'll always give them an option to improvise too.

 

What can you tell us about your filmwork prior to Invisible?

 

In 2020, I made a very short film called Many Faces which stars Shandy Monte-Raposa which highlighted depression and how we often see it one way, but it can affect every person differently. It was a PSA for Mental Health Awareness Month. Recently this year Iíve started going to festivals to highlight Shandy. Sheís recovering from long Covid and deserves to be appreciated. I hope she has a speedy recovery.

 

In 2022, I created After The Beep,  a microshort focusing on generational trauma about a manís estranged relationship with his father. It was also showcased at The Music Room and I starred in it. It was the first short that I had ever publicly shown to a live audience and I think it was received decently well at the time. It definitely gave me the self esteem to write more realistic dialogue and I decided that I wanted to make films that touched on more personal topics because of the reception to it.

 

How would you describe yourself as a director?

 

Particular. I hate letting anyone down and I want to make sure you get what you need out of the project. Iím there to highlight the actors & the story - not highlight myself. But itís the same reason why I donít direct a lot of peopleís personal projects. I donít wanna give you something that feels disingenuous.

 

Filmmakers, actors, whoever else who inspire you?

 

Filmmakers are definitely Michel Gondry, Mark Duplass, Greta Gerwig, Charlie Kaufman, & more recently the ďDanielsĒ. Love the whole mumblecore film genre.

Actors are Mark Duplass, Jim Carrey, Greta Gerwig, Ben Stiller, Steve Carell, Brendan Fraser, & soft spot for Key Hey Quan.

 

Your favourite movies?

 

The Puffy Chair, Eternal Sunshine Of The Spotless Mind, Everything Everywhere All At Once, The Year Between and A Good Person.

 

... and of course, films you really deplore?

 

I donít really hate too many films. I think every film has a place for someone. When you watched it, where you watched it, who you watched it with - that stuff is important. Obviously I can critique films, but I donít hate them. But there is one - kinda. Itís Dragon Ball: Evolution. Itís the first movie I ever walked out of as a teenager. Close runner-up would be Return to Halloweentown. If you know - you know.

 

Your website, social media, whatever else?

 

Feeling lucky?
Want to
search
any of my partnershops yourself
for more, better results?
(commissions earned)

The links below
will take you
just there!!!

Find Ryan Nunes
at the amazons ...

USA  amazon.com

Great Britain (a.k.a. the United Kingdom)  amazon.co.uk

Germany (East AND West)  amazon.de

Looking for imports?
Find Ryan Nunes here ...

Thailand  eThaiCD.com
Your shop for all things Thai

My YouTube channel is youtube.com/@ryannuneschannel, and if for some reason you wanna collaborate with me, my film email is itsnunessomwhere@gmail.com

 

Anything else you're dying to mention and I have merely forgotten to ask?

 

Listen to the people who are in pain. We all ask for attention in different ways. No one is perfect. Half of us are walking an uphill battle that never feels like it's over. Seek resources, seek help, and more importantly communicate. No one should have to go through life blaming themselves for how their brain works. Youíre more than valid in your feelings and if no oneís told you before:

ďIím proud of you and Iím glad youíre still here with us.Ē

 

Thanks for the interview!

 

© by Mike Haberfelner


Legal note: (re)Search my Trash cannot
and shall not be held responsible for
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Thanks for watching !!!



 

 

In times of uncertainty of a possible zombie outbreak, a woman has to decide between two men - only one of them's one of the undead.

 

There's No Such Thing as Zombies
starring
Luana Ribeira, Rudy Barrow and Rami Hilmi
special appearances by
Debra Lamb and Lynn Lowry

 

directed by
Eddie Bammeke

written by
Michael Haberfelner

produced by
Michael Haberfelner, Luana Ribeira and Eddie Bammeke

 

now streaming at

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Amazon UK

Vimeo

 

 

 

Robots and rats,
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cuddly toys and
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love and death and everything in between,
Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

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Tales to Chill
Your Bones to
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a collection of short stories and mini-plays
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tales that will give you a chill and maybe a chuckle, all thought up by
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screenwriter and film reviewer
Michael Haberfelner.

 

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Your Bones to

the new anthology by
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