Interview: Alonzo Alcaraz on ‘One Night Stand’ at Chicago Latino Film Festival on April 15, 2016

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CHICAGO – One of the most exciting days for any filmmaker is the World Premiere of their first feature film. Alonzo Alcaraz will be experiencing that excitement at the 2016 Chicago Latino Film Festival as the the World Premiere of “One Night Stand” is screened on Friday evening, April 15th. For details, click here.

Alcaraz is a self taught filmmaker who evolved through the improvisation and sketch comedy scene in Chicago. He trained at The Second City, and joined the “Salsation” Theater Company, where he first wrote comedy for the stage. His first dip into the filmmaking pool came with the “48 Hour Film Festival,” where he wrote his first film project. In 2014, his short film “Albert” won the Audience Choice Award at the Chicago Latino Film Festival. He began “One Night Stand” a year and a half ago, and it was completed in time to premiere at the festival.

Yunuen Pardo, Eddie Martinez
Yunuen Pardo and Eddie Martinez of “One Night Stand”
Photo credit: Chicago Latino Film Festival

In anticipation of the premiere, Alonzo Alcaraz talked to about his filmmaker’s path, and “One Night Stand.” Your film was dialog heavy, almost a two person play. What was the challenge visually to make sure it didn’t get weighed down by the dialog?

Alonzo Alcaraz: I worked to create an exterior world, in which the main characters Mo and Paulie have these groups of friends who are on the town, plus I have the side story of Mo’s wallet being stolen. I carried that throughout the night, so when the interaction between the two main characters got tense, I was able to cut away to something else. I created a bigger world outside the more intimate world. What was the inspiration for this story, and are you one of those screenplay writers that have the ending in mind, then write towards it?

Alcaraz: Actually the film was inspired by a very popular song, ‘Get Lucky’ by Daft Punk. The lyric that stood out for me was, ‘he’s up all night to get some, she’s up all night to have fun.’ To me, that was typical of the gender dynamic during the first time a couple gets to know each other. But I wanted to do a switch, where the woman is more aggressive and the guy a bit more demure. I added a bit of my own story to it, because I had been in similar situations. So how did the ending for the film come about?

Alcaraz: It happened in the editing room. We shot a couple different endings, and as I was putting it together that became the best one. How did you find Yunuen Pardo and Eddie Martinez, and what was it about their chemistry that made them perfect for Paulie and Mo?

Alcaraz: I’d worked with Eddie for several years, he sort of has become my muse. He did the film ‘Albert’ with me, plus one of first feature projects that didn’t come to completion. He’s a fantastic actor, who has done a ton of stuff.

Yunuen was someone I encountered when I worked as an associate producer on another 48 Hour film project. We had a casting call, and we had about five different combinations of Mo and Paulie, and by far Eddie and Yunuen had the best chemistry. We really felt it was natural, and not forced. Since this is the World Premiere of the film at the Chicago Latino Film Festival. What elements in the film gives it a Latino flavor or culture?

Alcaraz: That is something that I’ve consciously tried to stay away from, trying not to overdo it. There are some natural things that the actors bring to the role, in the way they carry themselves and speak. We sprinkle in some Spanish, but it’s just because organically the actors went on with it. It’s more of a universal story.

Alonzo Alcaraz
Alonzo Alcaraz (right) Directs a Scene in “One Night Stand”
Photo credit: Alonzo Alcaraz Since this is a micro-budget film, what is an example on how you had to compromise because the budget was so low, and how it came out better because you did that?

Alcaraz: I was the screenwriter, producer, director and editor, so I specifically chose this project because it all ended up being in the script, and I knew I could pull it off. Half of the film is at one location, so that cuts down on costs, and I knew what resources I had available. That’s my approach to filmmaking, I don’t want to limit myself, but I want to be able to craft the film with what is available. Which directors are your influences, and what hidden tribute did you give them in the film?

Alcaraz: There is definitely some correlation to Richard Linklater films, and I’m also a fan of the raunchy comedies of Adam McKay and Judd Apatow. Also the music was a tribute in a sense to Quentin Tarantino, by using the soundtrack in a non-traditional way. What do want to tell your potential audience about your film, to convince them that it will be a great experience if they come out to see on April 15th at the Chicago Latino Film Festival?

Alcaraz: At the end of the day to me, films can create reactions in many ways. ‘One Night Stand’ is 90 minutes of escapism, and the activist in me wants to point out that these are two lead actors that are not traditionally cast in these types of roles, carrying the film. There is dramatic moments, but I also wanted there to be fun moments. We’re also showcasing parts of Chicago that don’t get as much attention, the Pilsen neighborhood and around Humboldt Park. It’s a different take on a genre that has been seen, but it will appear in a different light, because of the people who are involved.

The World Premiere of “One Night Stand” will screen Friday, April 15th at 8:30pm, as part of the 2016 Chicago Latino Film Festival – at the AMC River East 21 Theatre, Click here for more information, to purchase tickets, and to access all of the schedule for the Chicago Latino Film Festival. senior staff writer Patrick McDonald

Writer, Editorial Coordinator

© 2016 Patrick McDonald,

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