Ryan Gillis will be joining us with his film Palm Rot. Here are some questions to let you get to know more about him!
What is your connection to the South?
I was born and raised in South Florida. Society is constantly in a race with nature, trying to develop land faster than the swamps and the ocean can take it back. The clash results in scenes of unparalleled natural beauty growing out of parking lots; highway overpasses turn into bat habitats; Great Blue Herons eat cigarette butts in your front yard. I’m in love with that juxtaposition. My mother is a Cuban refugee and my father is native Floridian. I believe film Palm Rot is a reflection of the beautiful clash between cultures and ecosystems that exist in that region.
Where did you get your inspiration for this work?
The story for Palm Rot came from a yellow crate and a palm tree. My brother is a professional beer brewer right now (over at Funky Bhudda in Ft. Lauderdale), but he used to work in a biology lab. One day they were cleaning house and he got to bring home some loot. One of the things he found was a yellow crate filled with jars, all covered in japanese lettering. We found out that the jars were used to take flies into space. California has these palm trees that shed their fronds like a fur coat. They always looked like rockets to me. Those two images stewed in my brain for years, and when it was time to make my thesis film, I mashed them together to make Palm Rot.
How did you start making films?
I was getting a degree in drawing at UF as my undergrad, and I was making a lot of weird videos and films for fun in my spare time. It just took me three and half years to finally try and mix the two things together. My last semester in college I made my first animation. After that I was hooked.
Did anything interesting or funny happen on set during the shooting?
Not Really. Sorry! It was just me in an apartment for a year.
Why should someone see your film?
Watch Palm Rot cause you might like it. I tried to not cut any animation-corners. I tried to make something exciting, and new, and weird.