Los Angeles Goes CUCO

Award-winning short to screen at 2005 Los Angeles International Latino Film Festival

Published on LatinoLA: October 20, 2005

Los Angeles Goes CUCO

Nouveau actor/filmmaker, Francisco Lorite, has been making waves with his brilliant short "Cuco Gomez-Gomez is Dead!", accomplishing something few directors can. Certainly the talk of the US festival circuit, CUCO has won a hatful of honors including the recent "Best Edited Short" Award at the 2005 Manhattan Short Film Festival, "Best Cine Latino Short" at the DC Independent Film Festival and the prestigious Imagen Award for "Best Thetrical Short."

Not so bad for a Spaniard who a few years ago packed his bags and moved to the US with little knowledge of English and just one idea in mind: to act, write and direct. Lorite admits to teaching himself English, with a little help from a blue pocket-dictionnary and "Three's ompany" reruns, in order to be able to start making a living acting in this country. Similarly, he credits his VCR for teaching him all he knows about editing, writing, directing and calls Netflix his film grad school!

The road less traveled has certainly been the path to success for Lorite's CUCO which will soon add yet another festival to its list, when it screens at the 2005 Los Angeles International Latino Film Festival, hosted by chairman Edward James Olmos.

The journey started about a year ago at an informal spaghetti and wine dinner hosted by Lorite during which the seven guests (all actors) were told that roles had been written specifically for each one of them --but that if they actually wanted to play those parts, they had first to agree to be his crew and also to contribute $100 to get the project jump-started right away. Luckily enough wine was pouring and all agreed to do it! Sounds like a movie? Yes, one shot in four days on a $2,500 budget, post-produced on a laptop and executed without a crew.

Lorite's guerilla filmmaking techniques delivered a short that has enjoyed the life of a feature film! A Latin production, indeed, Cuco though does transcend its ethnicity via its noir style and sardonic humor. By the end of the year, this short could possibly have been seen by a greater audience than some independent features !

Short films can certainly serve as a Hollywood calling card for filmmakers, (let's remember Angela Robinson whose brilliant short D.E.B.S led to a gig directing this summer's Disney film Herbie: Fully Loaded). Shorts are appealing not just because they are short and require only 10 to 20 minutes of your attention, but because they also provide a unique movie experience: character has to happen immediately; there is no unfolding, just the highlights of everything. As for the filmmaker, these 'quickies' become a medium to showcase his/her talent at being concise, precise and innovative.

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