Sergio Abuja

Intel’s “Drone 500” (web content)

Sergio Abuja

Carbo Films

1) What was your first professionally directed work and when was it?
Walmart’s Pledge to Veterans: Meet Steve Smith in 2014. I have good memories of that one because I had to travel to 8 beautiful States and interview very interesting people until we found our protagonist.

2) How did you get into directing?
Mainly for two reasons. First obviously creative, because it is fun and rewarding to create a new reality with every story. So once I started making short films, that’s it, I was doomed to directing as a career.
And second, just because it happens that I have my best ideas and I perform at my best when I’m under pressure. I heard someone say that directing is like writing a poem while you’re on a roller coaster, I couldn’t agree more with that.

3) What is your most recent project?
A Samsung S8 Spot for Telefónica MoviStar Latin America and the pilot for Australian TV called Significant Strangers based on true events.

4) What is the best part of being a director?
That moment on set when everyone is connected in the same amazing moment, and you are creating something that didn’t exits before.

5) What is the worst part of being a director?
Dealing with rejection. There’s a lot of work put on a treatment

6) 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 enjoy the short format in advertising, I really believe that telling a story in 30-60 seconds or 2 minutes is essential filmmaking, every single frame on the screen counts. It keeps your visual narrative sharp. A feature film is coming, it’ll be a more personal project and I have to feel 100% comfortable with the story I’m telling. And TV sure man…I’d like to be able to buy a house in LA at some point in my life.

7) 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 with you?
I’ve learned a lot from a lot of people through the years, but the person I would consider my mentor when it comes to directing is Adam Nimoy who is my directing professor. He ingrained in my brain “Story, story, story, any single decision you need to make on set has to serve the story when it comes to visual narrative”.

8) Who is your favorite director and why?
I’m interested in directors that can put their own unique vision in images and somehow connect with me. If I have to drop a name I’ll try to use wisely the 125 words allowed in this question: Haneke, Zulueta, Eustache, Polanski, Godard, Fellini, Almodovar , Lynch, Sorrentino, Jarmusch, Nichols, Wenders, Buñuel, Valdelomar, Medem, Coppola, Stone, Huston, Gondry, Jonze, Herzog, Allen, Tati, Iñárritu, Greenaway, Gavras, Antonioni, Zemeckis, Rist, Kubrick, Hitchcock, Rojas, Von Trier, Schofield, Dunham, Scott, Varda, Besson, Malick, Kar-Wai, Berlanga, Eisenstein, Truffaut, Coixet, Nolan, Tarantino, Dolan, Moretti, Bertolucci, Solondz, Amenabar, Winterbottom, Noé, Tarkovsky, Jarecki, Nimoy, Kusturica, Anderson, Linklater, Boyle, Lanthimos, Chaplin, Keaton, Fincher, Kwan, Scheinert, Burton, Winding Refn, García, Coen, Spielberg, Scorsese, Loach, Del Toro, Jackson, Moore, Berlinger, Sinofsky, Kaurismäki, Aronofsky, Ford, Tornatore, Cabral, Cunningham, Cameron, Crowe, Rodriguez, Rohmer

9) What is your favorite movie? Your favorite television/online program? Your favorite commercial or branded content?
It’s going to be impossible but I’ll try again to use wisely the 125 words: Black Mirror, La Maman et la Putain, Jaws, The Graduate, Close Encounters, Clockwork Orange, Lolita, La Hora Chanante, The Jinxs, El Desencanto, Lost Highway, Mulholland drive, I’m a Victim of This Song, Los Amantes del Círculo Polar, Hable con Ella, Breathless, Le Mepris, Her, Eternal Sunshine for the Spotlessmind, Volvo Wintersaga, Nowness, Viridiana, Él, Twin Peaks, Deconstructing Harry, Nocturnal Animals, Boyhood, King of the Road, More, The Tree of Life, The Idiots, South Park, Grizzly Man, Aguirre, What Ever Happened to Baby Jane?, Serial, This American life, Instagram, High Maintenance, Seinfeld, Narcos, Nine Songs, La Grande Belleza, The Young Pope, Life of Pi, The Revenant, The Doors, Intel Drone.

10) Tell us about your background (i.e. where did you grow up? Past jobs?)
I was born in Sevilla in the south of Spain where I grew up loving anything coming from a screen; from all types of movies, music videos or commercials to Video DJ or Video Art. There were very few opportunities to learn the craft there so I had to leave and study in other cities like London, Madrid, Barcelona, Paris and my current town, Los Angeles. I’ve done all sorts of jobs during this time, from camera assistant, camera, art designer, editor, producer and finally got into directing.


Dora Medrano
Exec. Producer/Pres.
Carbo Films
Contact via email