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Duffle Bag Boy

Lost and forgotten, a homeless veteran hitchhikes his way into becoming an outlaw and goes to war with the kingpin of a criminal empire.

Alexander Raye Pimentel is an American film director, screenwriter, producer, actor, and military veteran. He is the Guild Ambassador of the DSLR Filmmakers Guild and has won a 'New York International Independent Film & Video Festival' and a 'Mundos Digitales' Award for Best Dramatic Short Build a Fire (2011). Pimentel's work addresses such themes as tragedy, revenge, turmoil, violence, and perseverance. He has made several short films and many feature length micro budget B-Movies. His most significant and influential feature films being: I Call First (2015) an adaptation of Who's That Knocking at My Door (1967), Down River (2018) an adaptation of Fear and Desire (1952), The Directive (2019) a popular spin-off of The Division (2016) & The Division 2 (2019), and Rattle-Can (2021) an in-depth study of a Banksy / Lee Quiñones / Jean Michel Basquiat type character.

Alexander Raye Pimentel grew up in California and Georgia. Michael Pimentel, his father's Family, emigrated from Mexico while his mother is of Italian descent. As a boy, he began to draw, paint, and write with his imagination. His inspiration came from his Uncle Allan Linder. It was at a young stage in his life that he developed passion for cinema. Enamored of historical epics in his adolescence, at least two films of the genre, Mean Streets (1973) and Dial M for Murder (1954), appear to have had a deep and lasting impact on his cinematic psyche. Pimentel also developed an admiration for minimalist Terrence Malick style filmmaking and neorealist John Cassavetes style cinema, which has inspired many of his films.

Alexander Pimentel earned his Bachelor of Arts at The Art Institute. He continues to work with an undisputed motivation and passion, challenging the audience's intellect, and showing the raw reality of this vestigial world we live in. Pimentel is known for making a particular style of film labeled a 'Micro-Budget' Movie and/or 'B-Movie,' very much like those made by Roger Corman during the Drive-In Theater Era. It was our pleasure to speak with Alexander about his recent work.

How did you start making films and what was the first film project you worked on?

When I was 10, I spent a week with my Uncle Allan, and we created a stop-motion film called "The Circle of Life." It's a story about friendship and overcoming greed. Making that project helped me understand that cinema is one image 24 frames at a time to create movement mixed with sound, and by using both of those things you can tell stories. From that moment I started to view movies differently, and I began studying them to understand how they make us suspend our disbelief and fall in love with characters. From there I began to read biographies of film directors who made movies I was captivated by. This eventually led to me making my first short films with a bunch of fellow soldiers at 18 years old when I was in the Army.

What genre of filmmaking are you looking to work on and why? 

I grew up really loving films and stories where the antihero took center stage. You're able to see more of the gray areas in life. It feels truer to struggle with doing the right things and often doing the wrong things. I believe there's an opportunity to show a greater range of humanity when telling those stories. The antihero characters I choose to tell stories about usually fall in either contemporary times or science fiction.

What is the most challenging aspect of being an independent filmmaker?

Honestly, writing the story. I know that everything else can happen - getting people on board, leading the team, finding the funding, getting a location, etc. - as long as there is a solid story to begin with. The film will get made after ironing out the story, finding who the characters really are inside, rooting out all the nuances, finding the through-line, ensuring all the scenes connect to it, and how does all this work together in the bigger picture. The story is the blueprint.

How challenging is it to fund indie films?

I only really was able to receive funding from executive producers after I had already built up a filmography of films I had to fund on my own. Which at the end of the day was proof to them that I was able to take the funding and responsibly use the money to create a full length film at the end of the process. Eventually you're going to get an opportunity, and you need to show those people who give you an opportunity that you're persistent and that you have patience to get the mission done.

Please name three of your most favorite directors. How have they been influential in your work?

The first person would be John Cassavetes, who helped me understand that the most important aspect of the type of films I like to make is the people we are watching. Cassavetes taught me that when making a movie you have to really dig deep with the actors to find out who are these people they're portraying, and most importantly, what are the aspects of the character that makes them human, which lies in their imperfections, dreams, and desires. Next would be Francis Ford Coppola who really fueled the entrepreneur in me. His life story, his approach to making pictures, and the story of his production company American Zoetrope gave me the confidence to create my production company and make as many films as I possibly can as long as I'm passionate about the stories I'm telling. And finally Martin Scorsese, someone who had a profound impact on me as an artist. Out of the many reasons that he inspires me, the most important would be diving as deep as you can into the human condition/experience and letting that fuel your reason to tell a story.

What is your next film project and what are you currently working on?

We are currently distributing "Duffle Bag Boy," which received official selections to the Art Film Spirit Awards and is receiving a world premiere showing in Hollywood at the Indie Night Film Festival. The movie will be dropping on all platforms May 3, 2024. My next film project is a film called "Cyborg Recall;" A graduate student begins to question the true nature of his reality after winning the sweepstakes to play in a closed beta of the highly anticipated PC game, 'Cyborg Recall.' Filming is planned to begin Spring 2025.

What was the inspiration behind your latest film project?

I've always wanted to tell a story about a criminal who has the freedom to learn lessons about overindulgence, greed, lust, and power. I feel as though the American Gangster Picture genre is a deep-rooted metaphor to caution the excessive lengths people will go for the American Dream. 

How did you find the cast and the crew of the film?

Some of the actors I had met in life and felt that they could bring these characters to life. Others had been recommended to work with me. I also put out casting calls to find someone who really connects with the story and with myself as a person. The key when building a cast and crew is to look for a group of like-minded individuals who will band together to create art, will challenge each other to find better ways of doing things and ultimately elevate the story in ways you never knew possible.

What is the distribution plan of the film and did the film receive any screenings or was it featured in festivals?

Currently, "Duffle Bag Boy" has official selections to the Art Film Spirit Awards and the Indie Night Film Festival where it will be premiering in Hollywood at the TCL Chinese Theatres. "Duffle Bag Boy" has been signed to Buffalo 8 Distribution and BondIt Media Capital. On May 3rd, it will come out on AVOD, TVOD, SVOD, Cable, Blu-ray and DVD. 

Why do you make films and what kind of impact would your work have on the world?

I believe that from the very beginning, mankind has used stories to help one another. I've had feedback from audience members that my stories have impacted them and helped them understand themselves better. Filmmaking to me is an exploration of what life is and the struggles of being human. By telling stories in our new digital world, we can now reach people all across the globe with the things that we care about and the understandings that we have to push ourselves forward into the future. 

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Finding a group of people that have similar interests and can work together

amanda the adventurer

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