Ruben Barrientos

1) How did you get into directing?
I was 13 years old when a friend of mine asked me to shoot some videos of us doing pranks in school. I was supposed to bother teachers or just make a mess like scare my mates, dance in the middle of the class and do the type of things that we saw on Jackass. The video was full of crazy stunts. After I uploaded the first one on YouTube I instantly became famous at my school. Then I realized I wanted to learn how to direct. I started to shoot everything, learned how to edit, how to work with actors. I read a lot of stuff on the Internet. I started to make short narrative films from scripts that I wrote. I entered these films into festivals around Latin America where they won awards. Since the beginning it’s been all about shoot, shoot and more shoot.

2) What is your most recent project?
I shot a spot for Vans of the Walls. I really love it. It was aggressive and reminded me of the type of stuff I was shooting when I was thirteen. It’s about a guy who does crazy stunts, embraces his fears and risks his young life on many circumstances for love.

3) What is the best part of being a director?
I think film is capable of touching deep human feelings that no other art is able to reach. Film makes us believe that for one second we can achieve our dreams, that we can save the world as a super hero and get the girl, It can bring that child that is deep inside us out. Whether it’s for 2 hours, 5 minutes or :30 because, after we leave the theater or watch the video on the internet, we are not going to be the same person again. The images have seeped into our minds. Allowing us to forget or face problems. That’s the best part of being a director, being able to lead a viewer on a magical journey that happens deep inside.

4) What is the worst part of being a director?
The wishing for opportunities.

5) What is your current career focus: commercials & branded content, TV, movies? Do you plan to specialize in a particular genre—comedy, drama, visual effects, etc.?
I love directing. I love handling a camera, I love talking with actors. I love filmmaking in all its shapes: I love commercials. I love TV and I hope to direct a feature film soon. Look, I’ve been running around shooting for the past six years and suddenly now I’m here talking to you. My focus is to make more and more. I’ve made lots of short films and videos about my friends and life but I’m obsessed with telling stories. My main focus is to direct as much as possible. Right now I’m working on a dramatic short-film, at the same time as a music video for DualColor and a commercial. I love it all.

6) Have you a mentor and if so, who is that person (or persons) and what has been the lesson learned from that mentoring which resonates most with you?
Ramaa Mosley is my mentor and super boss. Ha ha! Ramaa discovered me here in Buenos Aires and then flew me out to meet her while she was on a shoot in Chile. Ever since I saw Ramaa working I’ve been pushing myself more in order to be better: Be calm under pressure and really to be fearless about making cool work. Ramaa talks to me every few days on Skype and encourages me and inspires me. I will never forget when she told me, “Ruben, directing is just about the point of view you have about the world. It could be right or wrong for people. It doesn’t matter. What really matters is that your point of view is as important as any other.”

7) Who is your favorite director and why?
I don’t have a favorite director. I’m a huge fan of Antonioni, Spike Lee, Scorsese, Aronofsky, Fincher, Nolan, Gus Van Sant, Fleur and Manu, Wes Anderson, Michael Haneke, Tarantino.

8) What is your favorite movie? Your favorite commercial or branded content?
Favorite movies: Funny Games, 4 month, 3 weeks, 2 days, Inglourious Basterds, Middle Man, Seven, Inception, Super Bad, Elephant. Oldboy, Requiem For A Dream, Thelma and Louise and The Piano Teacher.

Favorite commercials: Noam Murro’s Ebay spot “What if Nothing was ever Lost,” Fredrik Bond’s Heineken spots. I love the Mercadante’s short pieces for Sports Matter. Nike “Take It To The Next Level,” Thompson “Quality Time,” Adidas “All In,” Levis (Thread), Working at Prime, HBO GO “Go Grow Up” and every Axe commercial ever made.

9) Tell use about your background (i.e. Where did you grow up? Past jobs?)
I’m from Venezuela. I don’t come from an artistic background. None of my family does anything that you would call “artistic.” However, since a really young age, I had an ability for painting, piano, guitar, violin. My parents were always supporting me and pushing me to be the best.