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Fanbase Press Interviews Michael Brandon Wright on His Short Film, ‘Duendes,’ Being Included in the 2024 GeekFest Film Festival

The following is an interview with Michael Brandon Wright regarding the recent inclusion of his short film, Duendes, in the 2024 GeekFest Film Festival. In this interview, Fanbase Press Editor-in-Chief Barbra Dillon chats with Wright about his shared creative process in bringing the film to life on the screen, his upcoming work on a Halloween fan film, and more!

Barbra Dillon, Fanbase Press Editor-in-Chief: Congratulations on the recent inclusion of Duendes in the GeekFest Film Festival! For our readers who may be unfamiliar, what can you tell us about the premise of the film?

Michael Brandon Wright: Thanks so much! The official storyline is “A Botany hobbyist/backpacker traveling through a Mexican forest, Cole, wakes to discover his feet have horribly clipped toenails, something very odd indeed. As he goes about his trip, he continues to have odd occurrences in the forest. Once he returns home, these occurrences do not stop, in fact they get worse. He soon discovers a Latin American folktale that’s more than just a story.” But what’s a Duende you might ask if you aren’t aware of the folklore. Essentially, it’s a forest goblin in Latin American folklore that slightly changes depending on the region, but they live in the forest and can follow you home to live in your walls, coming out at night to trim exposed toenails, and sometimes whole toes. I definitely took them to the far end of the sinister spectrum in my film, but it’s a very interesting folklore that for some reason is told to children, one of those children was my wife, Kalia, who is of Mexican heritage. She told me the story about Duendes and how her parents would talk to them about it. I found it utterly fascinating that it’s something told to children, I knew I had to explore it and bring a version of it to life. I plan to further explore it in more shorts and at some point a feature.

BD: As the film’s writer, director, producer, editor, and star, what can you tell us about your creative process in bringing the film to life on the screen?

MBW: Well for starters, I couldn’t have done this and most of my films without my creative other half and star of this film, Cole Gray. He’s a fantastic writer, actor, and creative partner who funnily enough is primarily a comedian. Most of my recent and upcoming work has me pulling all kinds of duties which is done out of necessity, I definitely don’t prefer it, though it is rewarding. Primary example of that for Duendes is the fact that I played the Duende, you’d never know as the costume transforms me but I did not want to do that haha directing Cole with the camera, in a pitch black forest, with 1000s of spiders everywhere, I’m not exaggerating, dressed as a Duende was not fun for me. Luckily, Cole and I are a great two-man film crew and I think we achieve some great work with our limited means. I as of April 20th, 2024, have two kids now and that mixed with work gives me limited time. It’s also a chicken or the egg situation as it’s easier to just start shooting not relying on anyone else’s time, but it can be much harder to pull off what you want with essentially no crew. I constantly have ideas and my next thing on my mind and I’m too impatient at this level to devote too many resources to one or two projects a year even though maybe some would be better off that way, I can’t help it.

BD: The film also took home the award for the best horror film! What can you tell us about your experience in sharing the film with audiences at the festival and in taking home the Best Horror award?

MBW: I unfortunately couldn’t be there, but I really appreciate it! I live in Arizona and it was just a bit too soon to my son’s birth to travel for that but Cole was there and accepted the award on my behalf. According to him it was very well received. The audience was very intrigued with the concept and lore and were very complimentary, I wish I could have been there but I will definitely be catching another Tour Stop in a couple months: LA Comic Con, Long Beach Comic Con, or both! He also mentioned the other films were great, as well, I can’t wait to check them out.

BD: In addition to your work on Duendes, you are also finalizing your work on the Halloween fan film, Mask of Evil. What can you share with us the inspiration behind the film and your approach to playing with the Halloween sandbox?

MBW: Yes! Of which I’m very excited to share! I’ve always been a fan of the Halloween franchise, the original is my favorite but I saw H20 most on TV so I definitely have a nostalgic soft spot for it. I of course was aware of Halloween fan films but I never thought I would make one until something clicked in my head leading up to this past Halloween. I was in between projects, my daughter was going to be old enough to trick or treat, and the town where I live holds a festival in the downtown area on Halloween night where the whole town goes to dress up and trick or treat so it was the perfect background. Cole also helped me write and shoot it and played two roles including Michael Myers, he brain stormed the driving force of Myers in our story, to find his original clown mask, the original Mask of Evil. I will say it was one of the best time I’ve had making something thus far, and it was weirdly freeing to play in an established sandbox for once, I loved it.

BD: Are there any other projects on which you are working that you’re able to share with our readers?

MBW: Yes too many to mention them all but my next actual film is a genre-bending, over-the-top horror film in a similar vein to The Evil Dead. It’s a film that is much more satisfying to watch the less you know about it but the log line is: “A mysterious six-pack of Beer, “The Good Beer”, arrives on the Doorstep of a do well Dad, a sign to live a little, or something more?” What does that mean? Stay tuned to find out! Aside from that I have a couple smaller 3-5 minute straight to YouTube shorts I’m working on simultaneously as well as Movie Explorations on my YouTube Channel, next one being on Halloween (1978) and of course my other half Cole creates comedy sketches and I’m in most of them with him, so I got a lot on my plate, too much honestly but I wouldn’t have it any other way.

BD: Lastly, what would you like to tell fans who want to learn more about Duendes, Mask of Evil, and your other work?

MBW: First of all, thank you for your interest! Duendes will be screening at a number of Comic Cons so to see it in person follow me or Geekfest for info. Mask of Evil will also be screening at select Film Festivals. You can also check them both out on my MBW Films Channel on YouTube, as well as my main channel MBW Videos for my Movie Explorations/VLOGS, for up to date information, follow @mbwvideos for all my social media, X, IG, Facebook. Thank you and stay tuned!

Barbra Dillon, Fanbase Press Editor-in-Chief




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