Behind the Scenes: Q&A with Niel Guilarte

Niel Guilarte

Director & Editor, Wildstyle Media

Your toughest moment during production?

Losing my father-in-law who was one of the film’s biggest supporters only a few days before the screening was heartbreaking. It was so hard to work while mourning his death.

Your biggest highlight during production?

So many for me. This film sent me home to where I first dreamt of being a filmmaker in Cypress, California. I was able to drive to the home where it all started for me and take a photo now that I made it!  Also flying my drone ICEMAN all over the world in Guatemala and almost losing it in Puerto Rico were highlights.

Which podcaster’s story touched you most?

For me it was the Spanish interview in Guatemala with a mother begging me to tell their story so that help will come. Second to that was Lee Silverstein. His love story and fight with cancer is inspirational to all who experience it.

Did you ever think making this movie would be so difficult or challenging?

I expected challenging because it was four people, then three and by the last day, just two of us.  I didn’t expect the 14 flights I took to exhaust me as they did. The editing was a marathon as well.  So it was a journey.

What are you most proud of?

I am proud that we completed the journey. I remember saying good by to our family on May 29th as we started production and after all that we went through sitting in my studio with Chris at 2 a.m. as we wrapped the final cut realizing most filmmakers don’t get here.  We did it. We told the stories as promised for the world to see.

What would you say to podcasters reading this about the future of podcasting vs radio?

Trust and believe it’s true.

Something you learned during filming that surprised you?

I learned that a film will bring the best and worst out of you and those are making the film with. It tests your resolve, patience and fortitude. I also learned that there are still amazing people out there. The Peña family fed us a feast, Shawn Smith opened his doors in Guatemala and took me to heights I would never see on my own.  I got to experience flying a drone from thousands of feet in elevation in extreme poverty yet was treated with so much respect!  It was amazing.

Two fun facts about you we probably wouldn’t guess by looking at you.

I weighed 367 lbs four years ago and am now at 286.  Also, I used to be a DJ and I did graffiti as a kid. 

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