Ramon Fernandez is a filmmaker who was born and raised in Madrid, Spain. Ramon’s father was a matador from Peutro Rico and his mother was a secretary at a film production company; hence Ramon was exposed to the entertainment industry from a young age. As a young man, Ramon moved to New York and pursued a career on Wall Street but quit the business world to pursue his artistic dreams.

Starting out as an actor, Ramon landed roles on top-rated TV series including The Sopranos, Law & Order, Cold Case, Lie To Me, All My Children, CSI Miami and more.

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Yet Ramon’s true talents lay in directing. His first documentary film--Glory Daze: The Life and Times of Michael Alig--won numerous awards. The film chronicles the true-life story and misadventures of Michael Alig, a self-described “Klub Kid” who lived a wild and drug-fuelled life in NYC’s 1980's party scene before going to jail for the murder of a drug-dealing associate in the 1990s. Recently, Ramon spoke about his experiences working on this film and in the movie industry in general:

Inspirations 

Blasting News (BN): What inspired you to become a filmmaker?

Ramon Fernandez (RF): I grew up in that environment as my mother was involved in show business when I was young.

I was the geeky kid that alphabetized his VHS collection; I was just always fascinated with films and how they were made. The obsession continues, only now I get to participate.

BN: What are your favorite genres to work with and why? 

RF: My previous film was a short entitled Hot Tuesday (which was a winner at Atlanta Shortsfest) and I guess you could classify as neo-noir. This is my first documentary. I’m currently writing a feature film which I hope to shoot next year. Genres don’t really matter to me as much as themes do.

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That’s really where the meat is. Everything else is window dressing.

BN: Where did the idea for Glory Daze come from?

RF: I used to go to those clubs Alig used to run in the 1990s--then they all just disappeared. As an artist, I have this interest in forgotten kings; people who used to run things in a different era. There is always a story there. My producing partner, Lisa Brubaker, knew someone who still visited Alig while he was in prison so we sent a message to him basically asking if he’d be interested in having a documentary made about his release from prison.

Once we received word that he was, we began with our project.   

BN: How would you describe the film?

RF: As “edutainment”. You will be thrilled but you will learn a lot as well, about that particular era, like I think no other film has done.

BN: Was it different directing to acting?

RF: Yes, as a director you’re solving problems all day; you have to be in control of everything all the time. As an actor, you have to allow yourself the space to be a bit out of control and let it go organically where it needs to go. I’d say that’s the main difference.

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Aspirations 

BN: Do you have any upcoming projects that you would like to mention? 

RF: I just finished shooting the first season of The Blacklist which was fun. I always liked James Spader so was good fun to play on that set. Other than that I’m working on something for Marvel that I can’t further discuss since I’ve signed an NDA with them. 

BN: What advice would you give to someone who is aspiring to enter the film industry, especially as a filmmaker?

RF: Film school can be great, but not fully necessary. My advice is to go shoot and learn about lenses, editing, writing. Shoot with your phone if you have to. Go make mistakes. That’s the best way to learn. Go do it.