Jesse Quinones is a writer / director whose 2013 movie ‘Calloused Hands’, a coming-of-age drama featuring Andre Royo (The Wire) and Daisy Haggard, won the British Urban Film Festival Best Feature and best director Award (across the 10 year history of the festival) in 2015. Here is his blog (unpublished until now).
BUFF has impacted my work as a filmmaker in so many ways. In 2013 I made my debut feature film Calloused Hands. It was a loosely based on my life. The film, from idea all the way down to completion, took me 13 years to make. Anyone out there that has ever made a film knows that it is really hard to get a movie made. Even a bad one. But even harder than that is getting it seen. We made Calloused Hands on a micro budget but still managed to pull together a really‚ strong cast, which was led by the incomparable Andre Royo. With the film finished the big question was: where to screen it?
For us, BUFF was the no brainer. They offered us an incredible platform. A 500 seat Odeon cinema. Press. Exposure. And two years later the honour of being selected as the Best Feature Film and Best Director. For a‚ small little film about a kid growing up on the wrong side of the tracks I can think of no better place to show this film. I didn’t have it smooth sailing growing up. But one of the things I am most proud of is no one came in and told my story. I armed myself with an education, with skill, and I told my own story. And BUFF then gave me the best platform to tell that story. And for this I am forever grateful.
Since then, I have established a lifestyle that I never imagined was possible. I have my next feature film in development, TV projects in the pipeline, and when I am not developing my own work I lecture at the very fine film school Met Film School working with the next crop of exciting filmmakers. I owe a lot to BUFF for opening that first door for me.
(c) Jesse Quinones
Follow Jesse on Twitter at @JesseQuinones81