Originally from Montevideo, Uruguay, David Blankleider has taken the global entertainment industry by storm. As a sought-after filmmaker, Blankleider has worked on award-winning productions alongside Hollywood’s elite. His accomplishments range from films such as The Cards, Another Christmas, and Silver Cutlery, which was an Official Selection to the Oscar qualifying LA Shorts Fest, to hit television shows like Dance!, to creating commercials for some of the world’s most recognizable brands. In these projects he had a critical role.
Blankleider has always loved filmmaking, and whether he is accepting an award for his work or simply standing behind a camera, his passion for what he does is evident. We had the chance to sit down and talk to him about his life, career, and vast accomplishments.
Check out the Q&A with David Blankleider!
FLV: What initially sparked your interest in film?
DB:I have always loved films for as long as I can remember. When I was a kid I used to play “movies” with my friends all the time. That means to recreate our favorite movies, or to invent our own while we were playing. Now that I think about it, it was probably similar to the improv that is so popular nowadays.
I also remember watching the movie The NeverEnding Story with my cousins over and over. We loved that movie. I still love it and watching that movie I knew that I wanted to do that the rest of my life. I knew that I wanted to make movies.
FLV: What do you like about filmmaking?
DB: I love to tell stories. There are many different ways to tell a story. I think that telling a story through the art of filmmaking is the most satisfying and enjoyable way. I love every single aspect of filmmaking. Working on the script, being on set, editing, I really enjoy every part of the process. I also really like the freedom that this media gives me. There are a lot of elements that I get to manage to make a movie. The actors, their wardrobe and make-up, the locations, the color pallete, the camera angles, the lenses, the scoring, the sound, and I could go on and on. I think that there is no other art that involves so many elements for the person making it. And I enjoy that a lot, playing with all those elements to create the best piece possible.
FLV: What would you consider the highlight of your career?
DB: I think that the highlight of my career is what’s about to come. I’m currently developing two TV shows that are getting a lot of attention and I can only imagine great things coming my way. That being said, from the past, I think that the highlight was being part of the LA Shorts Fest. It is one of the most prestigious film festivals in the world. A total of 54 LA Shorts filmmakers have earned Academy Award® nominations, with 15 taking home the Oscar. 2016 Oscar winners in Live Action Short and Animated Short both screened at LA Shorts. 2017 Oscar Nominees included three films screened at LA Shorts. The 2018 Oscar nominees included four films screened at LA Shorts. Those who have been honored at the festival include directors, Jon Favreau, Paul Haggis, Bryan Singer, Jan de Bont, Shane Black, and actors Gary Oldman, James Woods, Martin Landau and Richard Dreyfuss. Many recognized actors and directors have screened films and attended the festival such as Scarlett Johansson, Demi Moore, Ashton Kutcher, Courteney Cox, Tim Burton, Jason Reitman, Terry Gilliam, Spike Jonze, Eva Mendes, Jessica Biel, Rachel Weisz, Hilary Swank, Josh Brolin, Kirsten Dunst, Rita Wilson, Ralph Macchio, Ricky Gervais, Vin Diesel and many more. I felt very honored when I was notified that my movie Silver Cutlery was going to premiere at the LA Shorts Fest.
FLV: How would you describe your style of filmmaking?
DB: Some people have put me under the Magical Realism style, which is a great honor for me because I share that position with directors like Tim Burton and Michel Gondry. However, other critics have put me under the more Psychological Thriller or Drama style, which is also very good for me because those are the stories that I enjoy the most. I want to think that I have the capability to migrate from one style to the other depending on the project. And I think that’s something good. Otherwise it gets a little boring if you always do the same thing. My next film is probably going to embrace the Magical Realism style, it’s a movie about dreams. But I’m also working on some projects that fall into the Drama style.
However, whether I’m working in the Magical Realism or Drama style, I think that what distinguishes my work, my personal signature, is the work with actors. I always rehearse with them as much as is needed to reach to the perfect level of emotion for the scenes.
FLV: What advice would you give to those looking to pursue a career in filmmaking?
DB: Watch as many movies as you can and shoot as many shorts as the time allows you. The only way to learn is by doing, and by seeing what the rest have done. It’s always important to learn from the previous paths of experts in the field, but at the same time to find your own voice. And the only way of achieving that is by doing.
I’d also recommend to the young filmmakers to reach out to the more senior filmmakers and ask for advice. People are always willing to help. I’d help any filmmaker in the beginning of their career if they show a real passion and hard-work ethic.
FLV: What are your plans for the future?
DB: I’m constantly creating new projects. I think about new ideas every day. Most of them end up just on that, on the idea stage. However, the ones that keep coming to my mind over and over are the ones I pay special attention to, and the ones that I end up developing. Right now, I’m in the development process of a TV show, in very advanced stages. I’m working on another project for a TV show that is getting a lot of attention too, but it’s in early stages still. I’m also working on a feature film about dreams which is my passion project, and I’m having a lot of fun working on it.