South Beach Magazine: Mentor at the Fort Lauderdale International Film Festival
Miami, FL, Dec. 14, 2005
Mentor at the Ft. Lauderdale International Film Festival
On October 28, Miami-based production company, Paradiso Pictures, will showcase Mentor (Best Short Screenplay at the Woods Hole Film Festival), for audiences attending the Fort Lauderdale International Film Festival. The film, written, produced, and directed by first time filmmaker Eric Gaunaurd, features a strong cast including Rey Dabalsa and veteran actor Reed Kalisher (“Other People’s Money,” “The Paper”).
The short film is a dramatic piece that explores the scheme created by Scott Zitello to blackmail and destroy his mentor and boss, the powerful Gavin Grady. But the reasoning behind the scheme will shock you. Set in Miami, the movie is a captivating tale of how far some people will go to seek revenge. Paradiso Pictures shot the film in early July. The 3-day filming was filled with more challenges than Gaunaurd ever could have expected or imagined.
“We went through so much during production for this film. I had a very close family member pass away a few days before filming, our actors were getting their cars towed during the shoot, being interrogated by Homeland Security, all this as a hurricane passed through the outskirts of Miami, leaving us without power on our most important day of production,” said Gaunaurd, president of Paradiso Pictures. “We couldn’t have imagined the number of obstacles we dealt with during our shoot. But, the cast and crew really shined. They believed in the script, in my vision for the film, and I’m certain it has really paid off.”
Gaunaurd exudes an infectious optimism and determination that creates believers out of the most cynical of hearts. Never having gone to film school, his experience is limited to a few acting and screenwriting workshops. But he always knew he could write and he always felt confident he could transfer his vision to the big screen. “This is what I’ve wanted to do my whole life,” he says. “For me, making this film is a dream come true.”
But why produce short films?
When asked this pointed question, Gaunaurd is quick to respond, “Because they’re essential in providing Paradiso Pictures with fundamental storytelling and filmmaking experience, and a fan base among top talent and crew.”
“Becoming a successful, independent filmmaker is probably one of the hardest careers to tackle,” Gaunaurd concludes. “Like anything else worthwhile in life, it takes a lot of hard work and dedication, but I’m definitely up to the challenge. With the help of our local film community, I know we can build something special here in Miami, one film at a time.”
And it seems all the hard work is beginning to pay off for Paradiso Pictures. Before production began, Gaunaurd submitted the script Mentor to the Woods Hole Film Festival, in Cape Cod, Massachusetts. Woods Hole has been called “the best film festival in the Northeast” by Moviemaker magazine. The script won Best Short Screenplay for the festival. In addition, the film was selected to be screened at the Miami Short Film Festival, the Alameda International Film Festival, the Delray Beach Film Festival as well as the Fort Lauderdale International Film Festival.