…A movement of self-love and inner peace. We are all a little bit broken inside, and a lot of people are really broken. The only thing that can help with that is to love yourself and love others through compassion, meditation, healthy eating, and a true sense of community. We seem to be able to able community in small batches, we need to get to a point where the sense of community can be experienced on a global scale.
I had the pleasure of interviewing Jorgy Cruz.
His passion for listening to crazy stories from his dad and uncles took him on a trip every time. Later in life, Jorgy found a new love, filmmaking. To his luck, his two loves go together like butter on warm toast. He moved to Spain where he started his journey into film school and later moved to NYC where he really dove into filmmaking, directing, and learning how to produce independent films. After many years of directing projects in Latin America and New York, he made Boston his new home co-running Longwood Media, a company focused on developing documentary-driven projects. A decent cook and a lifelong martial artist, he’s the proud papa of a sweet little girl named Ella Hope.
Thank you so much for doing this with us! Can you tell us the story of how you grew up?
I grew up in the Dominican Republic where is never cold and the beach is 20 minutes away no matter where you are. I had a wonderful childhood, every weekend we would go to the countryside where my dad was born, I learned how to ride a bike, fish, and get in trouble along with my 2 brothers. Santo Domingo, the capital, is really small and it was very safe. I remember riding my bike until dusk, no cellphones, you just went out and had fun. I was lucky enough to have a great environment, supportive and funny parents, and amazing grandparents.
Can you share a story with us about what brought you to this specific career path?
It happened very early, my dad was a huge movie buff, he loved movies and going to the movies, I remember him quoting lines from movies all the time. Later in life, I became an avid reader and could easily watch 2–3 movies a night since I had some insomnia issues. I fell head over heels for the movies, Hitchcock, Cassavetes, Goddard, Truffaut, Kubrick, Wilder, Coppola, Bunuel, they became my teachers and in some ways mentors in my life. I had to get into cinema, I couldn’t avoid it.
Can you tell us the most interesting story that happened to you since you began your career?
How I met Wendi, the star of “Funny Pains”. I was at a bar in midtown Manhattan for this small comedy show and she showed up, I was sitting at the bar and she ordered a glass of water and we locked eyes and said hi, she looked very tired and kinda shaking, I asked her if she was ok and she replied, “I’m dying”, right there and then she was called on stage to perform and I had no idea she was a comic. She killed! She was not dying anymore, she was full of energy and big smiles, she just floored everyone and her material was so personal, raw and very unique, it really caught my eye since I’ve been a fanatic of stand-up comedy my entire life, I approached her when she was smoking a cigarette and for some reason asked her if we could meet up and shoot a little bit. Well, that turned into years and into this film.
Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?
The first time I tried to shoot 16mm film was with my favorite camera, the Bolex reflex, I took the train with a classmate all the way to coney island in Brooklyn from the upper west side of Manhattan, quite a trip. It was freezing that day, very windy but we made it, I take out the camera, I take out the film and when I open the camera I noticed there was no spool for the film. We couldn’t shoot. I wanted to die since I was in charge of picking up the camera from the rental office. I learned to double and triple-check not only the equipment but my editing, and every single thing that has to do with production.
What are some of the most interesting or exciting projects you are working on now?
I’m working on a new documentary about independent women wrestlers, the toughest women on earth! Breaking down doors in a heavily male-dominated world, I’m very attracted to those type of stories. There is so much we men don’t have to worry about, women have to worry about so much and they still do better than us in so many cases.
We are very interested in diversity in the entertainment industry. Can you share three reasons with our readers about why you think it’s important to have diversity represented in film and television? How can that potentially affect our culture?
Diversity is great because it helps with the storytelling, depending on your role in a project you can add so much to it. From an early age, I got to see hardcore poverty around me every single day, I got to live in a country where everything was going down the drain due to political corruption and at the same time I was surrounded by smiling people, no one is more joyful than a Dominican, so that right there makes me appreciate things way more, I don’t have to wrestle with my entitlement, I don’t think I deserve anything, I think I need to work hard to get what I want because it’s the only way to could achieve something over there. Diversity will open your eyes and mind to a brand new world.
What are your “5 things I wish someone told me when I first started” and why. Please share a story or example for each.
- Be on time. On my first movie gig in NYC, I got fired on my second day because I was late to the set. That hit me hard and I became a stickler for punctuality after that, I understood the importance of time and starting the day at the same time with the rest of the crew.
- No one will care about your film as much as you do. I struggled with this for years, getting frustrated when people did not give their best, you have to accept that not everyone is on the same gear and it is your job to get them there.
- Sleep. You need to rest, the world won’t end if you take a little bit longer to finish a project, this is a hard one for me still.
- There is no one more sensitive than a crew member. People on set can get offended easily for some reason and it can really hurt the outcome of your shoot, it is very important to be a leader, have everyone on the same page y help people relax creating a positive atmosphere.
- Don’t take it personal. In my early days, critics and opinions drove me crazy. Once I understood that you can’t control what people think and feel when they see your work, that your work belongs to them and what they experienced with it, I completely let go. Positive or negative feedback does very little for me, it’s your opinion and that’s ok.
Which tips would you recommend to your colleagues in your industry to help them to thrive and not “burn out”?
Mediate, love yourself and don’t be a martyr, because it’s not worth it. Measure well the sacrifices you are willing to make in order to make your film.
You are a person of enormous influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂
A movement of self-love and inner peace. We are all a little bit broken inside, and a lot of people are really broken. The only thing that can help with that is to love yourself and love others through compassion, meditation, healthy eating, and a true sense of community. We seem to be able to able community in small batches, we need to get to a point where the sense of community can be experienced on a global scale.
None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?
My parents and Hand Dudleheim. My parents because they have lived a life of support for their sons, they truly are amazing people. When I was a kid they made it to every Judo tournament, Mountain Bike competition, Poetry night, you name it they were there for me. Hans was my editing teaching in NYC, I also became his teacher assistant that man was a big ball of love, wisdom, and humor, he taught me so much and I miss him dearly, I wish he was still around.
Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?
“All things must be earned” — I work really hard, I don’t expect to be given anything in life, I’m not entitled to anything. That quote drives me, it means that I did it, that I made the right decisions and sacrifices so I can be a good husband, father, martial artist, filmmaker, and friend. It means that when I make a mistake I own it, learn from it, teach someone about my mistakes and I move on. It’s very healthy to keep yourself in check.
Is there a person in the world, or in the US whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might just see this, especially if we tag them. 🙂
I would love to have breakfast with David Sedaris, he is one of my favorite writers and would love to have a conversation with him y maybe pick up some trash from the highway, something he does every single day back in the UK.
How can our readers follow you online?
Easy, one of my nicknames is Jorgito, so I’m on Twitter and Instagram @jorgitocruz
This was very meaningful, thank you so much! We wish you continued success!