For his award-winning short film Venice Boulevard the Los Angeles-based writer/director Joey De La Cruz chose the film noir genre for a green storytelling approach. The black and white film received the Best Suspense Short award at the Show Low Film Festival, while the stunning look of the film won Harris Khan the Best Cinematography award. Venice Boulevard could already be seen at various film festivals such as Studio City Film Fest, Silicon Beach Film Festival, Los Angeles Lift Off Film Fest, Santa Clarita International Film Fest, Oregon Short Film Fest as well as at the Monza Film Fest. Green Film Shooting got a chance to see Venice Boulevard and talked to the director who also stars in the film.
What inspired you to make this film?
I’ve always wanted to make a black and white detective film in the noir style. The twist is that I wanted to do something different and have the main character be a to surprise the audience. I was inspired by the comedy greats such as Airplane and The Naked Gun. It was during filming and in the editing process that I discovered this film was wanted to share a message about the environment, the twist had a purpose, to shock and educate about plastic waste. I have always recycled and done my best to reuse what I can, and through main character, a private detective, he was able to shine a light on the ways humans operate that is harmful not only to our own well being, but of the natural order as well.
Did you take any actions to shoot the film in an eco-friendly way? Did you avoid the use of single-use plastic?
Yes, absolutely. I planned to do this production near my home. So I was able to avoid all use of single use plastics by using reusable cups, plates and cutlery from my kitchen. I was lucky this was a smaller production and limiting my overall use of all resources was taken into account to be as low impact as possible. I’m a big believer that you have to walk the walk, and I will do my absolute best to maintain a very high standard of low waste and reusable items on every film set that I step onto.
How much single-use plastic products still used in the film and media industry?
Tons, literally tons of single use products. I have watched productions go through cases of single-use plastic water bottles in a day, with one person sometimes going through three water bottles before lunch on any given day. Over all, this waste not only pollutes the set, but also the environment as there is no guarantee that these bottles will be recycled. That goes for cutlery, where I’ve witnessed people grabbing a single plastic spoon to stir their coffee only to throw that spoon away after a single five-second use. We’ve normalized wasteful behavior, and that has to change.
Do you see any changes on film sets?
I do see some changes on sets, but I think more can be done. Conversations and awareness is the first step, but the industry needs to fundamentally change its role in single use waste. There are options available to create a reusable mentality on set and new organizations are cropping us that offer eco-friendly services for production companies. Education and changing the standards are key, there is progress being made.
Is ’savesporky’ also a reference?
I created this reference for the film. My intention was to give people something bold to remember and latch onto to change their behavior. #Savespoky is on the screen in the hope that the next time people are about to use plastic cutlery they will remember that moment in the film and make another choice, a cleaner choice. Either by saving that single use item, avoiding getting excessive units or using reusable items and saving another spork from getting wasted.