When defining the attributes of a successful director you might site creativity, vision, and a flawless attention to detail as most vital. While these are certainly essential facets of a professional director who becomes lauded by their peers and admirers, an adventurous spirit, a gift for communication, and a deep commitment to defining one’s own personal voice should be equally mentioned; as they appear in the work of Vicente Manzano. This Chilean born director has always been connected to artistic endeavors that intersect and combine creations. From his early days as drummer to studying Film Direction in Los Angeles, Manzano has an inclination to intertwine in the gravitational pull of talented professionals around him. Whether it’s a rock band who admires his film work or other professionals who become enchanted with the online series Wired Sessions, connection is in the very DNA of Vicente’s work. At our core, we all seek that shared experience; Vicente has repeatedly proven that he has a deep understanding of how to tap into this.
One of the most under-discussed but immensely attractive qualities for a director among his fellow professionals is that someone in this role desires collaboration. Manzano spent his teen years pursuing drawing, painting, and playing drums in a rock band. When he discovered film it was the perfect combination of all the creative outlets he had been enamored with for years. He recalls, “I just fell in love with it. I bought a little camera. My friend and I would do music videos and short films for fun. I remember thinking that I was spending most of my time making films and it’s what made me feel alive… so I might as well keep doing it.”
Vicente’s work as director of the online series Wired Sessions is precisely what’s so benevolent about the internet. A multiple episode series which features music artists in session, views for Wired Sessions number in the hundreds of thousands. The Wired Sessions is a project with the objective to connect cultures through electronic music. Each session has a different guest from a particular part of the world and a specific cultural instrument. Musical guests include the famous Spanish rockstar Enrique Bunbury, German Theremin player Carolina Eyck, Hans Zimmer’s flute player Pedro Eustache, Prettiest Eyes, and more. Manzano worked with producer Juan Covarrubias to craft a unique visual presentation for each artist, an obvious nod to the unique sound of each featured artist. From gritty black & white to a bath of pastels to a foggy haze, each episode of Wired Sessions is as visually different as the performances. Due to the popularity of the series, Vicente and Covarrubias have taken the next step and developed Wired Sessions into a longer format in an upcoming production which contains a live session with Taiko players and a documentary side following the instrument and these Japanese musicians. Even further, Wired Sessions has spawned public performances by a number of these musical groups.
Via a more traditional format but equally creative form is Vicente’s directing of the film Bubble which offers a circular aspect ratio that plays a narrative character thoroughout the film. Bubble has already received great praise during its appearances at the Nashville Film Fest, Hola Mexico, Fantastic Fest, and won the Audience Award at NFFTY. The story of an isolated woman who lives a consumer lifestyle in a Utopian world, the film presents the question of what “cost” truly is in our time on this planet. Working with Chilean actress Juana Ringeling on this film afforded Manzano the opportunity to present the emotional decisions of the near and approaching future. He describes, “I wanted to see the sadness in her eyes but covered with a plastic, happy, fake face. I use music as my main source of inspiration and a tool to reach moods or feelings so I created a huge Spotify playlist that I would give her [Ringeling] beforehand and also play it during the shooting… so we could all get the same vibe and zone. Music is extremely useful for me. As the shooting began, I think the set helped a lot. The fact of being inside this built set decorated with a specific aesthetic gave both her and I the vibe to connect better with the character… as well as the futuristic costumes, etc.”
Los Angeles based trio Kisspanic admired Manzano’s work and reached out to have him direct their “I Care for You Too” video. Vicente created a signature look of a yellow, black, and white color template that was fun and dichotomous to the statement about consumerism also evident. This multifaceted music video is an ironic statement of what society tells us to be concerned about even though we know at heart that everything is about relationships. The visuals are hilarious excess at its best with a bathtub full of French fries, flying dollar bills, and a bewildered main character who is surrounded by them. The director’s style is as prominent in this four-minute and nine-second production as in any film. Vicente affirms that he embraces the personality he brings as a filmmaker stating, “My tastes and references are very specific, and I think it shows in my work. Most of my work is very psychedelic, colorful, and imaginative. Most of the aesthetics are a bit futuristic or surreal. I’m in a constant journey of growth and change but when you look back, you can see some things that stay and leave a mark in your future work.”