MIKI MANIACO follows Miki and his friends as they grapple with reality after being cast away from a world of magic and unfulfilled dreams. Now depressed and stuck somewhere in South Florida, the trio looks back at an era of fame and glory that will never come back. It is our pleasure to speak with Carlos Antonio Leon, the producer and lead actor of the film.
How did you start acting in films and what was the first film project you worked on as an actor?
My first feature film was titled SHADOWLAND (later rebranded Twighlight Hunters) in which I played a Vampire. The part wasnt originally for a Hispanic actor but I did so good in my audition that director Wyatt Weed decided to make my part a Spanish speaking one so I could play it. But in reality I started doing theatre first back in Venezuela. Eventually I transitioned in to films. I love films, that's my place; really. The camaraderie, the creative process, the brainstorming, the "no-egoes" around...indie films are such a gem! so sad there is so little support for them. I feel that indie films are in a "comma" these days where everyone wants big billion dollars productions with little artistic value but huge in instant gratification. John Cassavettes must be turning in his grave.
What genre of filmmaking are you looking to work on as an actor and what kind of characters fascinate you on the screen as an actor?
I'm fascinated by the human condition and the way we all can turn into something absolutely unthinkable. We as humans have the capabilities to be ANYTHING...drug dealers, psychos, murderers, etc...we have all the components in us...we can be all that. Acting gives us that chance, to taste a bit of those lives...to live through them for a period of time...to transform into those characters that are so opposite to us...I love challenges. I hate to play safe. Give me something to work with. Something challenging. I don't mind the genre if there is a challenging part that allows me to flex all my acting muscles.
What is the most challenging aspect of being an independent filmmaker?
I think that financing is the most challenging part. Finding supporters that truly believe in your project and would give you the upmost support. It's very difficult since these days everything requires hundreds of thousands of dollars (if not millions) to be able to shot an indie film. Long gone are the days that you could sell your car and shoot a movie with the proceeds. It's very stressful for all indie filmmakers. And I think it's probably the number one cause for many of them who are quiting the business for good. It's very sad.
What is your next film project and what are you currently working on?
I'm very excited about a project that will shoot in Ecuador this summer. It's called "Saturn Coffee" and as many of my films it's an artistic take on a famous painting by the great Spanish painter Goya. I'm also in talks to be part of a horror indie film but I can't say much now. I have had some conversations with my dear Carla Forte (director of MANIAC MIKI) for a future collaboration. But to be honest, I've learned not to say much anymore. I rather keep things low and quite.
What was the inspiration behind your latest film project as a producer and lead actor?
MANIAC MIKI is a rebellious film that speaks volumes about the fantasy of being in the land of "opportunities" only to have them all gone once you reach 50 and considered "a have been." Carla Forte wrote this master piece inspired by her own experiences as an artist and a woman. But I think we all can relate. How many stars from the past ended up broke and abandoned? I bet you can name a few...After all that glitter is gone...after they squeezed all the juice out of your looks and talents...once you've become disposable and "too old for the biz" who would care for you?
How did you find the rest of the cast and the crew of the film?
I found them to be amazing! Lola Amores (MIMI) is a force of nature! that woman can act! no wonder she wins so many awards worldwide. Chaz Mena (DonalT) is simply marvelous. Jose Manuel Dominguez is beyond me...what a talent!! I'm blessed all these amazing actors shared their talents with me...they made this whole thing called "making a movie" so much worth it! Our crew also was amazing. The whole team is made out of people from Venezuela, Cuba, Nicaragua and all led by a female "captain," Carla Forte.
What is the distribution plan of the film and did the film receive any screenings or was it featured in festivals?
MANIAC MIKI had a limited theatrical release in September throught "O Cinema" and then went to open in theatres of Venezuela via "Veloz Distribution"....We had a World Premiere in England (30th Chichester Film Festival) then the 76th Festivale of Cinema Di Salerno (Italy) the 28th Cucalorus Film Festival in North Carolina and the Guayaquil Film Festival in Ecuador. We won awards for acting and best movie at the Hollywood Florida Film festival, at the Film Critics Film Festival in Caracas, The Bizarroland Film festival, The Actor's Awards, and the Hispanic Film Festival in Delaware. We keep going and going!! soon we will have a deal for streaming services. Please follow @carantoleon and @mikimaniaco for updates.