Josef Kubota Wladyka

IFH 554: From Short Films to Narcos with Josef Kubota Wladyka


Today on the show we have writer, producer, and director Josef Kubota Wladyka.

Josef Kubota Wladyka’s debut feature film, Manos Sucias, won Best New Narrative Director at the 2014 Tribeca Film Festival and was nominated for two Independent Spirit Awards, Best First Feature and Best Editing.

Josef has also directed episodes of the acclaimed television shows, Narcos, Fear the Walking Dead, and The Terror. Residing in Brooklyn, New York, Josef holds an MFA from New York University’s Graduate Film Program and was named one of Filmmaker Magazine’s 25 New Faces of Independent Film. He remains committed to making socially conscious genre films.

Kaylee “K.O.” Uppashaw, a mixed Indigenous boxer, prepares for a championship fight. Her hands are wrapped, gloves taped shut, and face greased. She pounds the mitts with her trainer, Brick. The room echoes with the strength of each hit. She’s preparing for the boxing match of her life. The crowd roars in the distance as the sounds crescendo into a fever pitch— Kaylee wakes up in a women’s shelter from a wishful dream of a life she once had.

This is her reality. A boxer struggling to pick up the pieces of her life. After her shift working at a diner, Brick drives her to a clandestine rendezvous. They meet a P.I. who presents evidence that Weeta, Kaylee’s younger sister who disappeared two years ago, is possibly alive and circulating in a trafficking network.

He tells her a time and place to plug herself into this dangerous world in hopes of finding her sister. Kaylee agrees and sets off on a dark and treacherous journey. Her strength and determination are tested as Kaylee fights the real fight of her life—to find Weeta and make her family whole again.

Enjoy my conversation with Josef Kubota Wladyka.

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Alex Ferrari 0:00
I'd like to welcome the show Josef Wladyka. How're you doing, Josef?

Josef Kubota Wladyka 0:14
Doin well Alex, thank you so much for having me. I first just want to say it's a great, great honor. What your podcast stands for and continuing the indie hustle of filmmaking and the array of different types of people you have on the podcast. It's great. So I'm just I'm just very grateful to be on. So thank you for having me.

Alex Ferrari 0:33
Oh, man, thank you so much for coming on man, I appreciate those kind words matter. You know, let's, I wanted to create something that you know, that can help filmmakers along this insane path that is being a filmmaker and, and try to just try to warn them before the boulder comes and crushes them. So just like you know, just let them know that the Boulder is going to come. And they can run away from it or duck it or something else Indiana Jones style, but most people don't even know that they're boulders lying around. So

Josef Kubota Wladyka 1:01
Yeah big boulders and is really kind of shine a light on how each individual person's journey is different. You know, there's no, there's no right or wrong way of doing it. And just to hear everyone's different experiences and how they kind of survive it, you know, I think is a great tool and a great asset for for indie filmmakers, and we need it. We need indie films more now more than ever, you know. So,

Alex Ferrari 1:26
I agree. 100% I think most people focus on the idle and not on the boulder that's gonna come down across them. Right, exactly. So Joseph, how did you and why did you want to get into this insanity that is the film industry?

Josef Kubota Wladyka 1:43
Yeah, man. Well, um, you know, since I was a little kid, I was always obsessed with films. I think the influence definitely came from from my parents. My mother was from Japan, and my father's from Poland. So they were both cinephiles, you know, arguing over Kieslowski and Andre Vida and Ozu and Kurosawa. So that sort of residue was always around. Me and my brothers, I'm the youngest of three brothers. And, you know, my mom really always tried to get us to watch different types of films, she would take us if Seven Samurai was screening in like Washington, DC, she would take us there to watch it. But you know, we, me and my brothers would want to go see Terminator two and sneak on our bikes in sneaking sentimental place. So so, you know, it was always there that influence and, you know, we mean, my brothers used to take like little VHS cameras out into the woods and make these silly little films where we chop off her head and roll a cam cantaloupe into the camera and cutting all in camera. And in high school, you know, I was I was a pretty terrible student in high school. And so a lot of the times the writing papers and stuff, I will just make sort of like these really bad VHS, little short films. And also, our morning announcements at the time we're on, we're on TV, and we come into class and watch more announcements. So I used to, like, make videos for that to promote the school dances so and so forth. But then, you know, the reality set in when I'm the college, that, first of all, like I didn't, I never thought that filmmaking was something that I could actually do make a living doing. You know, I grew up in Northern Virginia outside DC. So there was, there was no one. I wasn't around any artists, you know, I wasn't around anyone who, who just made films, or was a part of that world at all. And so I was just kind of like, falling following the status quo. You know, I went to I went to college, and I studied business, because that's what all my friends were doing. And I figured, I would just, you know, come back, I would graduate college and get a get a nine to five and sort of, I guess that's what my life supposed to be. And then when I got an internship, one summer doing a job like that. And I quickly realize that this is absolutely something that I do not want to do. And I need to figure out what I really want to do, you know, so, oh, there was an opportunity after college, a friend of mine was making like an indie film, a low budget film, and I had the opportunity to work on that as like an assistant in a PA. And that was the first time I saw the, the the whole process really in front of me, you know, of a film being made. And I think I was a 22 at the time 23 And once that once that happened, you know, the bug bit me and it was it was over and ever since then I've just been obsessed with trying to make films you know. So you know, I got about Rebel Without a crew and the the guerrilla indie filmmaker handbook.

Alex Ferrari 4:50
It's right back there.

Josef Kubota Wladyka 4:51
I moved back I moved to DC. And I was a I was walking dogs during the day and waiting tables. At night, saving up money, and I bought a you know, a dvx Panasonic dvx200 or whatever it was the great camera

Alex Ferrari 5:07
100A, it was a 100A That's why I shot my first short on it was a full 24p camera. Oh, so great.

Josef Kubota Wladyka 5:14
Yeah, man, those cameras look great, they still look great. I think to this day, they have such a great look to em. Oh, yeah. And then I just started hustling, I just started saving up money to make my first like short film. And I did that for for a few years. And I was very, you know, I was a person that was very adamant about not going to film school. You know, I was part of the like, film school, you know, I'm just gonna do it myself, and so on and so forth. But for me personally, and you know, everyone's journey is different, you know, if some people have, there's some people that have just had an amazing talent and skill, they really don't need to go to film school, you know, like a PTA or something like that, you know. But for me, I just, I kept making these short films, but I found myself sort of hitting this wall of, I don't know, just like, I just knew that there was more to it. And like I didn't, I just wasn't making anything that interesting. I didn't know anything about working with, with really working with actors, you know, and all that stuff. So and also my mom, you know, education is very important to my mom, and she's Japanese and my oldest brother's a doctor, so on and so forth. So, you know, that's when I started to think about going to film school. So and then, you know, I started to kind of look more closely at some film directors that I admire. And I was like, whoa, hold on a second. Like, you know, Aronofsky went to AFI, Scorsese and Spike went to NYU, you know, there are people that went to film school. So maybe, you know, maybe this is something that maybe this is what I need, you know, at this time. So, yeah, I had made all these shorts there. I knew there was only one film school, grad film school that I was going to apply to, which was NYU, new grad film. One of the main reasons is because it's the only film school that doesn't make you take the GRAri's. So

Alex Ferrari 7:07
I understand I understand. I understand this, bro. My high school transcripts were horrendous. When I got to college, I was like, first in my class. But when I was like, I went to film school, I was, I think I was first or second in my class. And then I went back to college just for fun, just to learn, like I went to a community college just take philosophy courses in psychology courses and stuff. And people like, what's your major? I'm like, I'm just here for fun. And they're like, What do you why do you what? So I get it, trust me, it does, I say decent GREs,

Josef Kubota Wladyka 7:36
Terrible standardized test taker, I got 1000 them, they tease like, so I knew there was no way you know, all those other films that I was, like, if I take the GRPs forget about it. And then, you know, a jury was always always a dream of mine to live in New York City, and to be like, the filmmaker living in New York City with all the like, the legendary iconic directors that have come from there. So I applied to NYU grad film. And, and I don't know how to live, but somehow I got in, out of the 3535 students that they accept. And then I think, you know, that's when, you know, there's a real pivot in terms of, I just kind of, you know, really ate, drank and slept cinema for that amount of time when I when I was in school, and I was around other great talented classmates and artists, and just studying film. And it was really, it was a tough time in a lot of ways. But a really, really special time. Because all that's all I really had to worry about. Now, obviously start to accrue a lot of student debt, which was, which is another thing which we can get to later later down the line. But yeah, that's, that's, that's basically, you know, I went to film school, I started making shorts. And then I made my first low budget feature film, in 2013. Film called Manasu CS and that actually, that was my thesis film. From from school. So So yeah, that's kind of

Alex Ferrari 9:11
The kind of the general the general like, I have to ask you. What did your Japanese mother say? When you said I want to be a filmmaker.

Josef Kubota Wladyka 9:19
You know, my mom is amazing thing. She has a she's a strong, strong Japanese. I didn't we didn't really have much of a relationship with our Father. We were raised by a single mother, me and my brothers. So you know, just raising three boys on your own. There's already a sort of toughness to her. But I think because she loves movies so much, you know, and she she's Yeah, she just she appreciates the art she's that she was like a ballroom dancer, professional ballroom dancer for a long time

Alex Ferrari 9:51
So she gets it she gets she got it

Josef Kubota Wladyka 9:53
So she totally got it. I mean, I think she was very extremely worried for me many times, many, many Just along the way. But, you know, my oldest brother is, you know, neuroradiologist. So she got the doctors so that's good, you know, so, so I guess it could have been my youngest is like

Alex Ferrari 10:13
Yeah, you can have your it's your you can have fun. You're the artist, you're the artist. I have the doctor, I can have the artist as well, who is the best of both worlds? No, I get it, man. I get it. Now, was there a film that lit your fire? That your flame for this? Like, was there a movie you saw you just like, Man, I gotta, I gotta I gotta do some. I gotta, I gotta go shoot some movies.

Josef Kubota Wladyka 10:36
Oh, man. I don't know, man. It was like, it was it was all of them. You know, like, I was the 90s kid kind of like, I kind of feel like every filmmaker. There's like a window of their, their life. Maybe you say from like, eight. So like, 22 or something in the films that were sort of coming out in that time really, really impact you, you know. And so for me, yeah, it was like, you know, the, I mean, when I saw Fargo for the first time, I was like, Holy shit, you know, that's a movie that, you know,

Alex Ferrari 11:08
Dude, I was. I was, I was in college. And Pulp Fiction came out. I was in film school and I went to the theater down the street to go see Pulp Fiction. I literally remember falling out of my chair laughing at some of the scenes that were just so not because they were they were they were funny. But the audacity of what the filmmaker did, and how he was writing. And I was just like, what just happened? And I've had that moment a few times, watching a movie like Fight Club, the matrix Shawshank. There's certain movies that when you see them, they just like, I just things have changed, like Pulp Fiction is one of those movies. Yeah, No Country for Old Men Jesus, like, you know, if you want to go down the Coen Brothers filmography that's,

Josef Kubota Wladyka 11:59
I mean, that's the perfect. It's the perfect film like that is like, I don't know. It doesn't get any better than that. And I love that movie. Unconditionally. Love that movie. Yeah, so I mean, it's all those films. And then it was kind of like a golden era of cinema in the 90s. No, people were doing their thing. Spike was doing this thing. Coen Brothers. Yeah, the matrix came out in 99. Right? Yeah.

Alex Ferrari 12:22
Yeah. 99 Fight Club and the matrix both came out. And but 99 was a great year for movies. If I remember, there's a bunch of other movies that got released that year. They're just like, Jesus, like that was good in the 90s went out with a bang. My that time period for me was the 80s. And up until probably like the mid 90s. Up until I was around that time. And those are the movies that you know, Terminator.

Josef Kubota Wladyka 12:47
Terminator is probably the the film I've watched the most in the theater, I think. Because me and my brother would sneak sneak in, watch it over again. And it actually my mom took us to see that and I remember crying when when when Arnold's getting

Alex Ferrari 13:09
Cameron, one of the most underrated writers of his generation. I think he's a he's not an underrated filmmaker of his generation. But he's an underrated writer. They don't talk much about his writing, but he is one of the best writers of his generation and he might not be as flashy as some of the other more known screenwriters. But man you look at you look at Terminator, man and people listening if you were a kid, if you saw Terminator two in the theater, you like i Dude, I had I think I still have in my mom's house. The card like the the sporting card collection of the Terminator. Movie cards. Yeah, I had everything do I bought everything Terminator two, the books that it was just such a phenomenon. when that movie came out, it just it made Arnold Arnold. I think that's that was that was the one that really made him explode.

Josef Kubota Wladyka 13:59
It's a great film, and it's a great film. Yeah, but I would say, You know what, it was not a good, um, you know, there was something like, you know, I had studied business and you work if you do you want to lose, it's like you're working. You don't really know what you're really your job is what do you do contributing to really know and for me, like, filmmaking was tactile in the sense of like, you know, I write something, you know, 10 minutes short, I write it, and then I shoot it and I edit it. And then I can't remember what program I used to put it on the DVD, you know what I mean? And then I can I can show it to people, you have product in that, you know, that seeing that whole system, like that made sense to me. Like, it was very simple, you know, you write something you make something and then you try to show it to people. And when I was waiting tables, I would have stacks of my burnt DVDs with my really shitty I'm talking really shitty short films. And I would just give them out to like, people that would come into the restaurant, you know? And so So I think that was a big part of it. It was like the first thing in my life that I that I just understood. Obviously, there's the complexities and how deep it goes was I was so naive, you know what I mean? I was just young, just jumping off the ledge and in doing whatever, but but just something about, you know, you write something, shoot it, you make it, and it's there. It's very, I don't know, I just, it made sense to me.

Alex Ferrari 15:29
No, without without question. And I mean, I've had, I actually had a, like a nine to five as an editor in that corporate environment multiple times. And you just feel like, you don't, I don't know you. It's a paycheck. And it's nice when it's a nice paycheck. But it's not really fulfilling your soul in many ways. You know, definitely a creative soul. So I rather sometimes be broke and having fun. Especially when you're younger, when you're younger, you could do things like that when you get older, it's a little tougher to do these things. But when you were saying like, Oh, yeah, it was a really great time. But a tough time when I basically all I had to think about in school was film, and you just absorb yourself in watching movies, talking about movies, and making movies, learning about the process. And that was what film school was for me, like, I literally had three or 400 VHS tapes that I brought up to college with me, and I just watched them and I would rent stuff. And it was just five, six movies a day, it was insane. It was just, it's just something that you don't get an option, you don't get an option to do as much anymore. And the world we live in. Now, you also mentioned about school debt. You know, I've had multiple, I've had multiple conversations with filmmakers who one poor guy $300,000 in film school debt, you want to call? Yeah, and it was like, and he's like, I'm, I'm never gonna get that that's I'm done. I can't ever pay that off. You know, sometimes it's, it's all a value, it's a conversation, I'd love to hear your point of view, because I'm sure you still have a little bit of student debt. Maybe you've been lucky enough to pay it off, I was lucky to pay mine off pretty quickly what mines was, like 1820 grand for my entire film course. I went to a Tech Tech film college. And I was able to pay it off within a few years, but some of my friends just still around their neck. So what's your opinion on it?

Josef Kubota Wladyka 17:27
Yeah, I mean, I don't, man, it's tough. I've been really lucky and fortunate to have been able to sort of establish myself as a television director, and episodic television director. But there was some really dark times, especially like, after I was done with grad school. And basically, you know, you could at the time in the program, you could keep matriculating and taking out loans to live. And, you know, I don't know how I how good it is like, but you know, like, in terms of like, being responsible, but basically what I was doing is I would take out loans, and then I was going on, like research trips, and I was as I was, I was trying to make my first feature film, you know, so you think you could matriculate for like two to three years. And then you have to make your film and then you have to graduate. So, so I did that. And I and I went in so I took a big gamble, you know, and I went to a lot of a lot of debt, which is really, really, really terrifying. And then there was a moment, you know, after I made my feature film, and it got into film festivals and stuff like that, right. And I had a manager and I had agents and stuff but like I was I had no idea how I was gonna how I was gonna make money, you know? And so I was Yeah, I was thinking about moving back in back home and like working at the restaurant. I used to work there before I went to film school and like, you know, it was it was it was it was very very dark and also happening at the time was I was getting a lot of you know, scripts sent to me you know when different projects sent to me but I was saying no to everything because to be honest, the stuff that was being said was really bad. You know, there's a lot of bad shit out there. And you know, I'm not Scorsese and I'm not gonna get stuck in Sorkin so I can script sent to me I'm gonna get the fucking you know a piece together talk it's been rewritten like 20 times generic fucking programmer script and they're gonna want me to you know, I mean So yeah, there was a rough there was a rough like year there and then what actually ended up happening is my mom was a legend. You know, she was like, basically like, well, you need to you need to stop saying no to all this shit. She was like, in the fucking work. She was like, I I don't care if you think you I don't know who you think you are, you know, but you're not.

Alex Ferrari 20:04
I was I was thinking that in my head. I'm like, Look, I get you, man. I feel you. Because I was said crap too. But it's like, sir, like, I would rather direct crap to get my mug get something on the off the ground. And then and instead of work, you know working at you know, waiting tables. I mean look man, Tarantino, Tarantino, Scorsese. I mean, he worked with Corman, everybody worked with Cormen, you know, every, you know, Cameron did Parana too I mean, like it's,

Josef Kubota Wladyka 20:34
No and then and then she was like, I think I think it was it was probably like, I can't remember those 2014 or 2015. But basically it was New Year, personnel worried and shit. And my New Year's resolution after talking to her was I was like, You know what? I'm just gonna say yes to everything. I'm gonna fuckin say yes to everything. I'm gonna go up for these films, I'm going to so and so forth. Anything that comes just let's let me read program my mind. And it's amazing how much everything changed once that once I did that, because, you know, so I started going up for these studio films and stuff that I'm, you know, I'll save you watch films, and stuff like that. But, um, but you know, I was pitching to Michael DeLuca, who was the head of Sony at the time, I was meeting with all these people I was, you know, my, my people were seeing me, and I was practicing a big tool that's part of being a director, which is basically being a salesperson of yourself, you know, pitching in on stuff, and is one of the one of the things that they really didn't teach us that much in film school, which I, I mean, I don't know how you prepare for that, you know, it's kind of like, you just have to be thrown into it. So I just started saying, yes, those stuff and like, you know, more and more things started. I almost got, you know, I never I was like me, between me and one a director, but the other director had made all this money for us to do some No, so no, but what came out of that was just more opportunities. And then finally, there was an opportunity. In my writing partner who I wrote my first feature film with, there was an opportunity to write a pilot for HBO, for the director, Tim Van Patten. Who's the legend? You know, he's directed the most of the episodes of sopranos, the pilot for Game of Thrones. And so that was our that was our first paid gig. And at the time, really, oh, my God, we made it. Lots of lots of lessons to learn about going through that process. Because after you're on your 10th rewrite of it, maybe you're not getting paid as much as you think you're getting paid when you see the first initial number, you know. Sure. Um, so. So that came and then, um, and then really, yeah, and then and then the opportunity to direct Narcos came. And again, I was in this like, yes. period of my life.

Alex Ferrari 22:56
It was this season was season two.

Josef Kubota Wladyka 23:00
Yeah, it was season two. Yeah,

Alex Ferrari 23:02
So Narcos was Narcos at this point already.

Josef Kubota Wladyka 23:05
Yeah, it is. Yes, Narcos. Well, I'm so crazy. We're going in the Time Machine. I mean, Narcos was I think, you know, Narcos was well, I mean, there was House Of course naugus is one of the first original Netflix shows, you know what I mean?

Alex Ferrari 23:20
It was one of it was one, if I remember correctly, it was in that first group, I mean, House of Cards, obviously is the one that crashed the door open but Narcos was then when I think within six months Narcos was announced

Josef Kubota Wladyka 23:33
It's like the first 10 and I'm in Yeah. I mean, and I think the I think when I was interviewing for it, like the I don't know if the season had even really come out yet. So they didn't know that it was gonna be this like huge sort of global like it was it became their, like, big show internationally for a little while there. So, but when I was interviewing Florida, you know, it was just I, I didn't I didn't really know about it. So

Alex Ferrari 24:04
Did you know about Pablo? I mean, you obviously might have heard of Pablo Escobar.

Josef Kubota Wladyka 24:08
I mean, I mean, the whole and I mean, this is why, you know, for all the filmmakers out there like you, you just have to make stuff you have to make stuff because that's if you don't have stuff to show people you got nothing in the only reason why I got Narcos is because my first feature film, which I shot in Colombia, in one of Ventura Colombia, it touched on you know, it was it dealt with the drug trade, but in a very, very different way. It's sort of the people that are most exploited by the drug play drug trade. But because I had made that film, my Colombian producer on that film was friends with the producing director on Narcos, his name's Andy bass. He's a he's a wonderful director, Colombian director. And he showed my film I had never met him before, but he it was like his favorite film that he'd seen in a while and, and then he showed it to the show, right? Eric Newman and then Eric Newman liked it. And I was on a, you know, Skype interview going forward. Basically, I mean, yeah, that's basically how it how it all started.

Alex Ferrari 25:13
So then so then you were on a plane down to Colombia. You shot and the shark won't be right or they didn't get Colombia. So yeah, I mean, I'm, I was fairly obsessed with those first few seasons. I've watched God let me because I've, I have a family who work, you know, who are Colombians, and like, you know, deep friends and family that were Colombians. I'm Cuban. But I you know, I'm fascinated by Pablo, huh?

Josef Kubota Wladyka 25:42
Yeah, I was gonna say Cubano

Alex Ferrari 25:44
Cubano de Miami. So I, it was it was I mean, it was such an amazing thing. And you didn't just direct one you drag it like five episodes. So I think you have five episodes. Right?

Josef Kubota Wladyka 25:58
I directed a five of Narcos and then the first two Narcos Mexico so I was a you know, a resident director. And I you know, again, I'm very very grateful for Miss amazing, that whole experience and and also I was the only I'm the only gringo to ever direct Narcos. They probably they all the other directors are these incredible Latin Latin American Direct. There's like Josie Paddy. And you know, Andy, obviously, Escalante, all these really, really amazing filmmakers. So for me, I was the lone gringo which very, very great. Yeah, it was yes. So I made my tiny little film right for like nothing. Basically, we shot on C three hundreds that were donated to us by Canon. And in this in cinema lenses had just come out the canon, similar lenses. And then my DP had to do light panels for my to shoot my whole entire first feature, that was the only lighting you had. And now I'm on a plane, correct? Blind down to do this ginormous television show with a crew of 200 people.

Alex Ferrari 27:12
I got to ask it, so I got to ask you, man. Alright, so how do you walk on the set the first day, I always love hearing these stories. Because when you walk on the first day of set, and you're like, I'm in a pretty intense scenario, even for a seasoned professional. It's a pretty intense scenario. And there's Narcos and yeah, it's all movie, but there's still you know, people around who are not nice guys. You know, so there's that stress as well. You know, where are you like, I'm sure security is off the chain on that plays in on the set everything. But when you walk on the set, and you talk to you look at the cast you had I you know, working on that second season, how do you walk on that set? And like what was the feeling you had when the day one of shooting like what what did what was going through your head man?

Josef Kubota Wladyka 27:57
Man, I mean, I was just it's interesting, because yeah, sort of my naivete was, in a way was a gift now that I've read, like six hours of television now. So like, I know what it's really all about, you know. But I gotta say, I just, I was really, really lucky. And I mean, I'm sure you know, all the people you have on your show. It's like, you got to work hard, and you got to be ready, but you got to have be lucky to Oh, yeah. And for me, what I was extremely lucky about with Narcos, my first this was my in mind you, I tried to like you interview for it, right? And they're like, oh, yeah, and then you know, in like, four months or whatever, that's when you're gonna go shoot so and you don't hear and you don't sign anything, you don't hear anything. So then I was like, Oh, I guess maybe this isn't happening or something. And then it's like, you know, about a couple weeks or a month out, and then they start engaging again. And I'm like, Holy fuck, I'm what's, what am I getting myself into? So I do like a mad frantic email to my team. And I say, you know, is there you know, you're the biggest fucking agency, can you because there's someone that I can like shadow here in New York just for a day just to see like, you know, I have no idea what it's like, you know, and they're like, Yeah, enough, nothing, nothing came out.

Alex Ferrari 29:24
Ofcourse, of course,

Josef Kubota Wladyka 29:25
The seat man is shooting this thing. And then you get on and I was like, but But I think, you know, it was too it's not on them. You know, it was me it was I was just too was too late. So luckily, again, all these little seeds of things that happen along the way. Because I had written or wrote that pilot for Tim Van Patten. I had established a good relationship with him and he's basically kind of come my main TV directing mentor like when I when I'm in a pickle or a tough situation. I always call him and he gives me the most I mean The most wise amazing amazing

Alex Ferrari 30:02
Yoda Yoda advice

Josef Kubota Wladyka 30:04
Exactly he's yoda. So it's about a week out. And I'm, like, terrified. And I in and I go over to his go over to his house and sit with him. And he's very patient and kind and he's like just asked me anything, there's no dumb questions, you know, there's no nothing. And so, you know, I sat there for three hours, you know, asking the dumbest dumbest questions. You know, I didn't know what, you know, the that he taught me what a tone meeting was, and like what you do, like in your first weeks of prep, and all in all of us, totally, I didn't know any of this stuff, you know. So, so that helped just kind of, at least get me the courage to get on the plane. But then again, once I flew down there, um, I was very, very lucky because I had an incredible first ad. His name is Oscar Farkas is Colombian, Colombian American, but we're very, very good friends to this day. And then Louis son sons was the DP that I worked with. And I was lucky because they were really, really patient with me, they were really, you know, I was very honest with like, where I was coming from, in my experience, you know, and so, so they really, they really kind of just helped kind of hold my hand through the whole process, which is incredible, you know, because, for example, like, my film, my films, both my films really, but I, I've made with non actors, basically. So for my first film, you know, I had built this relationships with these kids that act in my film for months, you know, months, and then we were in like a four week rehearsal camp before we started shooting. So we're basically family, you know, on a TV shoot, you show up, you shake the actors hands, and you block the scene, you start shooting. So for this, for me, was all the other stuff I could figure out, you know, like, where to put the camera and you know, that type of stuff, the tech stuff. That's, that's it, but yeah, that's like, that's the that's just second nature. And then at the end of the day, you realize it's all the same shit, it doesn't matter if you're on a gajillion budget thing or a no budget. It's what's happened. What's the life in front of the camera? Right, right. That's everything. So for me, that was the real big mystery part was like working with the actors, because you don't, you don't really know them. You know what I mean? Like, I'm used to having this close, like relationship with them. So Oscar, my ad was like, you know, I can really dumb questions like, you know, so like, what happens? So they come and like, you know, do we rehearse for a long time? Or for like, what are you doing? And he's like, he's like, here, here, this is what you do, you know, usually read the scene, read the words. And then you know,

Alex Ferrari 32:50
This is insane. This is insane. Like how can like a multi million dollar production is bringing bringing you in, and they're like, you're, like schooling you along the path of the process. And it's wonderful that they did that. But I find it so fascinating that the showrunner saw enough talent in you and said, he'll figure it out. We've got a support team around him. He'll figure it out. But I want his vision in my show. That's, that was a good showrunner does.

Josef Kubota Wladyka 33:22
Yeah, exactly. And that's, that's the magic of Eric Newman. You know, he is that's he, he finds these amazing filmmakers. And at that time, it was so amazing about Narcos that they really empowered you to try stuff. You know, I mean, so once I got comfortable. And once I figured out, you know, I mean, it's out, like I said, a couple days into shooting and you're like, Oh, you very, it's it's you get it. It's the same process, you know, but I remember one of my episodes, we did this crazy, one shot sequence, it was like a three minute, one wonder. And this was my first time doing television. And, and normally you have, like, you know, three weeks to rehearse and prepare that none of us none of that, that it was chaos. There was none of that. But we still managed to pull it off. But what was so great about Eric, like I said, is he's the type of showrunner that, if you pitch it to him, and he and he, and he likes it, you know, then then he'll fully support you for doing it. And for this particular one, you know, I wanted wasn't trying to do another cool one, or for the sake of being a cool one. Or it was actually the first time that Pablos family was actually in the line of fire in danger for the first time in the whole series. So I wanted to ground the audience subjectively, with his family in this house as everyone from around but sort of closing in so we're just experienced with them through this one shot. But again, you know, Eric, was 100% on board and supported it and, and yeah, I got really lucky with that whole team son sons, the DP they were just amazing, sweet, sweet, really, really great people. And yeah, And it's like, you know, I had I had spent a long time in Colombia, I shot with a lot of crews in South America and all that stuff. So it was a fun loving everyone is just, you know, fun, everyone's happy. It's had that kind of love very, very good vibe to it. And Vagner Mora, the actor plays a Pablo is just like, I mean, amazing, amazing to work with. You know, he watched my film The first. The first time I came on set, actually, we were we were, we were scouting, but they were shooting. And so I went to kind of say hi to some of the people and he was like, so nice, man. He gave me a hug. And he's like, I loved your film. He like watched my film all this stuff. I was like, what this is, I think I'll be okay. And I still wasn't okay, you know.

Alex Ferrari 35:44
So, so So let me ask you, I cuz I love asking this question, because I think we all as directors have this day. Is there a day on that first season of Narcos that you felt like everything was coming down crashing around you? You're losing the sun? The camera doesn't work? Something happens? And what was that day for you? If it wasn't every day? Which happens? And how did you break? How did you get through it? How did you figure it out?

Josef Kubota Wladyka 36:12
Yeah, I mean, yeah, that, I mean, yeah, in television. I mean, television is a different beast, you know, you that's the that's the first thing you're shooting seven to 10 pages a day, it's a totally different than, like, when it's like your film, you know what I mean? And so there was a lot of days like that. I mean, there was one particular day where we were shooting this, like, huge set piece, you know, of course, they like dependent of course, we're behind schedule, the fucking sun setting all that shit. And it's like a three convoys of like, different, like military and lost pet bears, and everyone's can converging on this one spot, and we had to block off this whole fucking thing. And like, in like, and, you know, the scene was just Hell's written, or like how man, um, I just, I just knew, like, I was like, this wasn't clearly like, laid out, you know what I mean? And, yeah, and Pedro Pascal, who's fucking just a gym at the gym. I was kind of emailing him ahead of time, you know, like, you know, what do you think about this? Like, I don't know about this, this, this? And he's like, you're right, you're right. We'll talk about it when I got some. And so we just run out time, we're trying to work out the scenes to just make it make sense. And I remember we were shooting it. And we just, we had to put three cameras up this one on an 85, you know, one long and then the, you know, and just kind of just hose it down, which is not ideal, but I will say,

Alex Ferrari 37:46
I love that term. hose it down that first time I've heard hose it down before I love that.

Josef Kubota Wladyka 37:52
Yeah, but But in that chaos, because a lot of the times the chaos makes its way that energy into you know, and it's that classic thing. So I was sitting at I was like, Holy fuck, this is like, this is gonna be the fucking worst. And then, when I saw the editors assembly of it for the first time, I was like, Oh, hey, this works this way. And then we worked on it some morning, and it ended up being like, I'm actually one of the parts of the episodes that I really liked. So there you go. So they never know.

Alex Ferrari 38:25
Now what was, you know, what was the biggest lesson you learned working on Narcos, you know, as a director as a person as everything because I mean, that's a pretty, you know, Trial by Fire scenario. You know, you're kind of taught you were tossed into the deep end of the pool. On on one of the world's biggest television shows the second season coming back. So everybody was waiting to see what happens to Pablo. We all know what happens the Bible, but like, the story and everything. What was that? What was the biggest takeaway you had from that working on that first season?

Josef Kubota Wladyka 38:59
Mmm hmm. I mean, I guess. I mean, there's so much I'm trying to I'm trying to think trying to jump in the DeLorean. And what I was thinking, I mean, I mean, I think a big thing I learned is what I said earlier, is that when you jump to something bigger and scale, the every, you have more tools at your disposal, right, but the process is still the same, you know, and then again, the life in front of the cameras, that's what's the most important thing always. So I think that that after I did Narcos, it gave me a confidence in terms of like, knowing what's really important. And obviously, as I as that went on, as I continue to, especially in television, direct and television, you kind of you learn how to kind of dial in, what what you need to focus on because when everything is at your disposal, it's easy to get lost in like Oh my god, I can park and I can do a drone shot I can do this, you know, but but again the drama of life in front of the camera and what's what's the story and what's what does the characters want? And what are their obstacles and all that stuff is all that matters. It's the same. It doesn't matter what size production you're on.

Alex Ferrari 40:19
Yeah. And it's, it's good. It's like I know it's kind of like, It's like that old saying like, baseball is a simple sport. You throw the ball, you hit the ball, you catch the ball, and it's for for filmmaking. It's like there's an actor, there's a camera, there's a lens, and there's light, and, and a location and it could be 1000 million people on the set, or it could be just you and the actor, and you hit the record button. And you're doing everything. Yeah, as long as what's in front of the lens is impactful in the storytelling. That's all that really matters. One thing I think the Hollywood has kind of lost its way they have a lot of spectacle but at a certain point spectacle with Look, when we first saw Terminator two men, Terminator two had a lot of spectacle. But there's so much heart. So much heart so much story so much character in that movie. Jurassic Park, you watch it, you're like, oh my god, there's a dinosaur. No one's ever seen a dinosaur before. But the movie was good. The story was good. The characters were good. At a certain point spectacle were just like, like it really at this point. We're at this point in what we're as of this recording. How what else is there to be put on screen that's gonna make us just go. Oh, wow. Like,

Josef Kubota Wladyka 41:38
Video game lesson? Yes,

Alex Ferrari 41:40
Avatar, like the avatar.

Josef Kubota Wladyka 41:42
Spectacle without drama is nothing, right. Like, it's so the reason why Terminator two is incredible is because the fuck ins the set pieces in the action are grounded in the dramatic experience of what the characters are going through. So it's not just spectacle for, for the sake of spectacle, you know? And I mean, yeah, I mean, this, we could talk about this for five hours. But yeah, movies now or I don't even know it. There's a lot of spectacle.

Alex Ferrari 42:09
There's a lot of stuff. There's a lot like, there's a lot of spectacle, and we could talk about, you know, what's going on in Hollywood and all these kinds of things. But it's all you know, corporations have taken over and filmmakers aren't in control anymore to a certain extent. And then the UK and then you occasionally you know, give Marty $200 million to make something or you give, you know, James Cameron or you give Spielberg and you give these guys or PT or somebody a little bit of money to go off and do what they do. But I'm not seeing a lot of the new generation of those like, we're, we're still, we're still, we're still squeezing the juice out of the 70s 80s 90s and early 2000 filmmakers. But there really isn't. I mean, don't get me wrong there. Obviously, there's a lot of great new filmmakers like yourself and others. But you know, you know what I'm saying like, you know, people, when Quinton makes a movie, everyone shows up, you know, when Petey makes a movie, everyone shows up like licorice pizza, and you know, all these kind of stuff. But they're coming rare and rare, unless they're on Netflix.

Josef Kubota Wladyka 43:12
And listen, and like in those, all those people, all those great directors, Jane Campion, and all of them there, they're there, they been grandfathered in, you know what I mean? They're there, they came in a totally different generation. I mean, the conversations I have all the time with, like my colleagues that are filmmakers and stuff like that. It's just like, it's just totally different. Now, it's a totally different time you make your first feature. And, you know, you can you either, you know, you can become an episodic television director and manager, I'm not saying any of this is bad. Or you jump to like a $200 million. Huge movie,

Alex Ferrari 43:48
There's no in between.

Josef Kubota Wladyka 43:50
But, but the Yeah, like, it's just, I'm constantly fighting with myself, like, how do you? How do you differentiate yourself? How do you make yourself build a body of work? As a director, you know, and it's hard. I think it's just, I think it's a it's a, it's a harder time right now. But that's why I give a lot of props to like this podcast, and this whole idea of keeping the indie film flight going. Because I, what I always come back to is, we just got to make our movies, we just got to make our art, we got to make bold movies and take chances and like, look, the streaming wars in the void that they go into, yeah, I don't fucking you know, who knows how they're going to be seen. But if we don't make them, then we're really at a loss, you know, so I think just people gotta keep pushing through and trying to make their weird little indie films, and we need it more now more than ever, but like, yeah, the days of like, your film premiered at Sundance, and then you get a three picture deal. And like in the Weinstein Company, it's gonna, you know, give you 15 million to make your little drop. They don't make those movies anymore. You know, I mean, if it's a genre film Yeah, you have a chance like if it's a horror film, you know?

Alex Ferrari 45:03
Or an action. Yeah, yeah.

Josef Kubota Wladyka 45:06
But you know, it's just we're in a I don't know. It's a totally different There is to be the next PTA I don't know. I don't know

Alex Ferrari 45:15
Why i mean look. I love I love to I love this is just to film geeks talking now. But you know like would if PT and Quinton show up today as 20 Somethings? Do they go into episodic? Is that is that the is that the route is that is that the route they go? Because they're not going to get you know you're not going to get but there's no way Pulp Fiction gets Produced by Studio. There's just no way it was barely. It barely got produced then because it was because of the because of Miramax. Miramax had to juice at the time it was it was a certain time period that those kind of films were being made. But no major studio was going to do Pulp Fiction. It was a it was read by a bunch of major studios and they didn't do it. Or Boogie Nights. Can you imagine doing a movie about pornographers in today's world, like, you know, or taxi driver? You know, try to get taxi driver made by Sony today, which is what who owns it? You can you imagine these kinds of films, these films don't get made anymore. It's very rare, rare for those to get made. And so many filmmakers now think that it's still the 90s. And they're making their films thinking that that's what's going to happen, like all I need to do is get into Sundance or South by or Tribeca. And I'm like, Nah, man, I've talked to all those guys and gals. It ain't no rainbows and butterflies, even if you can get that it's just, it's just not, you know, I'm

Josef Kubota Wladyka 46:41
There's way more competition now, man. So many filmmakers now. I mean, there's numerous filmmakers. I know that films that premiered at a huge festival and they still, you know, they still haven't gotten distribution, or if they do if it's some streamer, you know, they offer them like nothing, nothing, you know, like 5g and 5000 mg or something like, so it's a different time. Yeah. I mean, I don't know, I don't know how we can. I don't know, again, like I said, I just I just gonna keep trying to fight the fight and keep trying to make my films and I'm very grateful and lucky that I have television to help pay my bills, and so on and so forth. Oh, so getting way back to the debt question. So long story short, so I did Narcos had all this debt. And then I was like, basically, I am gonna do I think I did. It was a really rough time, like six or seven. Anyway, I'm gonna do like seven episodes of television all in a row, and pay off all my debt at once. And that's what I did.

Alex Ferrari 47:45
Yeah. God bless you, brother. I mean, listen. And the thing is that most filmmakers don't get that opportunity. You know, they don't get that chance to look, dude, I threw down 50 grand on my commercial demo reel, shot on 35. Back in the 90s. And I'm like, I've arrived. Everyone recognize my genius. And I sent my demo reel out. And it was it was a rough go for a bunch of years. And I wanted to dead. And you know, I wrote a whole book about the darkest time where I almost made a movie for the mob. And that whole time and that whole craziness that I did. But, you know, it took me a long time to be able to get back out of out of all the debt that I put myself in it might have not been film school debt, but it was just debt, trying to chase that dream. And I've had people on the show who've lost their house, you know, with families and things. So you've got to be smart about this dream. It's unfortunate that we have chosen an art form. That's probably one of the most expensive art forms on the planet. And I wish I could. Yeah, I wish I could. No, I wish I could just pick up a guitar. And I'd be like, Okay, I played for three or four hours today. I feel fulfilled. Like I wish I could do that. I wish I could draw, you know, but it's just not the not not mine. I got bit by that damn bug early on, and I can't get rid of it. Now it's stuck with me. Now I want I wanted to ask you about your new film. Catch the fair one, man. How did you because you wrote and directed it correct? Yes. How did you come up with like, how did that movie come to be? It doesn't seem like a film that everyone's jumping the throat $300 million at so how did you get the whole thing off? How did you get it off the ground? How did how did you come up with the script and everything?

Josef Kubota Wladyka 49:29
Yeah, it's a lot. I mean, again, we that a five year journey to get to get this this one made. And in between doing television I kept making sure chasing the dragon like I got to make my second film. I gotta keep fighting. I gotta keep fighting. So I actually the I wrote the script, but the story I came up with the lead in the film. Her name is Kaylee McLennan, ogg Reese, and she's a professional, indigenous world champion boxer. And I met her. When was this 2004 by viewers five years ago, I actually found her through social media through my friend's boxing gym. I myself was really getting into boxing, and I started following her. And, you know, I just, she's a great advocate and artist, and she uses her platform to touch on things that she wants, you know, to bring awareness to, and I was researching and studying and learning more about like the missing, murdered indigenous women epidemic in North in North America and all this stuff. So something in my gut just like reached out, I was like, I want to meet this person. So I reached out to her. I borrowed my friend's little for my front, my friends, Hyundai Sonata that barely works. I took my DSLR and I went up there, and I just spent started spending time with her started hanging out with her and telling her you know, I have an idea about this film about this, this woman who's you know, looking for, for searching for a sister and I want but you know, I want you to I want to see if one if it's something you would be interested in acting within? Can I just hang out with you? And, and she was, it was one of those things where it's similar to my first film where like, I drove up there at the time, she because she's a like, legit world champion boxer. She was she was training for a fight. So she had to go to the gym to train in Providence, Rhode Island, right? Big six bucks thing. So I was like, Can I just can I just go with you? Can I? Can I hang out with you while you go and bring my camera? She's like, Yeah, sure. So we go into this our typical boxing gym, right that has like, you know, all these jacked, sweaty dudes and like, checks champion, Golden Globe champions. They're dudes talking shit in the corner and everything. And you know, people are talking, She's the only woman in there people talking to her. And she's like, you want to go a couple rounds, whatever. She's like, Yeah, we could spar a little. And she takes her piercings out, she gets in the ring, and she just starts firing these dudes. And it was in that moment, the inexplicable thing of a filmmaker, I was filming and I was like, Alright, this is I don't know exactly what this movie is. But, uh, but there's no turning back, you know, we're gonna go on this journey. So cut to many, many years of us spending time together working together. She we developed the story together. I, for many years prepared to act in it. And yeah, and then we shot we shot this crazy film. And we shot it in 2019. Right before the right before the pandemic. So we literally finished it right at the end of 2019. And yeah, it was a you know, in terms of, you know, she's not she's not a star, it's the classic in the, you know, it's is the classic in the story, like we had to piecemeal and hustle to find the money to make the film. And we I'm not going to say how much but it was, you know, we didn't make the film for a lot of money. But I was lucky to have, you know, amazing producers on board with me. Two of which I went to film school with. I like I constantly try to keep working with my colleagues from film school, because I feel like that's really important. And yeah, you know, there was a lot of nose, there was a lot of ups and downs. There was a lot of I should just give up on this. You know, all that classic stuff.

Alex Ferrari 53:09
Oh, yeah. Like, like, that's the thing, too. I always love asking as well as like, how do you keep going, man? Because so many people listening right now have a project they've been trying to get along, I'll get off the ground that a lot of them probably are in year five right now. You know, it's take acne and I remember I was hustling my, you know, a couple of my projects for years. And it's like, how do you just keep going? How do you not get defeated? By all the nose? Because it's constant? No, it's It's constant nose? Yeah.

Josef Kubota Wladyka 53:33
Well, that let's say, you know, one thing that so you know, I get inspired by real people. Right. And so, like, the one beautiful thing about making a film, and it's similar to how I made my first film. So for me, writing and dreaming the film before everyone gets invited over to your dinner table, you know, what I mean? Is is amazing. I love it. You're just dreaming the movie, you know, and and you haven't, you haven't gone out. And you know, started to ask people for money, all that stuff. So like, I love that part. Then when you transition, this is the part that I'm not, I don't love but it's necessary, right? Is when you have to turn into the used car salesman or whatever, whatever the fuck, right? And you have to start putting your film out there getting your script up there, you know, your deck and all that and you have to start getting nose, but not just nose, you get all the criticism and feedback and all that stuff. And so and then like, you know, time will just it just starts flying by you know, and then again to to stay afloat. I have to go do a couple episodes of television and then come back, you know, but I'm building this relationship with this real person. But what was for me, what I love about that process is at any moment during this time, which is like the worst for me is like finding the money basically up until you're greenlit and then you're going to go into pre production. At any moment. I can grab my kid, I could grab my camera. I could go meet up with Kaylee. I could Bring my friend who's an actor, and we could work on the scenes, you know, we could shoot these scenes, we could explore the scenes, we could change the script, you know, we could keep working on it. In for me, I realized, like, I think I do that subconsciously, because it makes me feel like I'm making it feels makes me feel like I'm making the film, even if it's like, no one is gonna, you know, this is just for us to explore. But I feel like I'm being a filmmaker, I have actors, I have a camera, and we're working on the material.

Alex Ferrari 55:27
Sure. So that kind of that kind of it makes you feel like you're doing something because you're working and you are doing something but you're not there just yet. But you're doing, you're working on it, you're bidding up the material, you're you're, you're putting the you're putting paint to Canvas, if you will, it might not be the big canvas you want but you're practicing essentially, which is that just

Josef Kubota Wladyka 55:47
It made me feel like I'm being a filmmaker, as opposed to just like a salesperson, you know, begging begging everyone to make your film which I said again, is a that is a necessary part of the process. But

Alex Ferrari 56:00
Unfortunately, it unfortunately it is my friend it is now after watching the film, and how did you stay sane as a filmmaker and as a creative making a film like this that's so dark. And it has so many dark scenes. And you know, the subject matters rough and there's the scene some of these scenes are just like, I just didn't want to be in the room, which is great as it's a testament to you as a filmmaker, because I'm just sitting here watching it. I'm just I don't want to be here. This is some some terrifying, I don't want to be here. How did you as a filmmaker and an artist, stay sane during that process? I see it for four minutes, but I know what it took to make those four minutes. So how do you stay sane during that process, man? Cuz you don't seem like a dark dude. Maybe you were working some stuff out jail? I'm not sure. But I mean, because when you first got when I first got on the call with you, I was like, this is not the guy expected. made this film. Like he seems like such a nice, well balanced dude. So I don't know how you made this film, dude.

Josef Kubota Wladyka 57:03
Yeah. Um, yeah, I don't know. I mean, I think it was a lot through the collaboration with Kaylee. And, you know, it was it was one of the best artistic collaborations with with someone that I've worked with before, like, and I think like, you know, from very early on, when we were just talking about trying to make this film together and everything we in just the themes and stuff that it was touching on. And, you know, she has a lot of experience going around, and she's met people that's lost loved ones, and so on and so forth. And like, her perspective was so important to me. And, you know, she was like, it's got to be dark. You know, she, she, you know, she was like, We if we're gonna go into this world, and we're going to fictionalize it, and it's our artistic interpretation, well, then we got to fuckin, you got to kind of rattle the audience a little bit, you know, you gotta you got to make people feel uncomfortable. And then, of course, as a director, I think, you know, for me, just with the tools of being a filmmaker, when you're in there, constructing scenes that make the audience evoke something, you know, it can be you know, laughter can be as as gratifying. But also, you know, suspense and terror is also really, really fun using all the different tools using the sound using the music using how you shot it, you know what I mean? So, so yeah, but I will say it's been, I've lived with it, it's just been the next movie is very, very,

Alex Ferrari 58:34
It's a slapstick comedy. It's a it's a sequel, two, airplane. Got it. That's what you're doing.

Josef Kubota Wladyka 58:40
Now I'm reading it now. And trust me, it is. It is very, very different. It's another film that will be impossible to finance. It is a 6060 year old Japanese woman who loves to dance ballroom dancing.

Alex Ferrari 58:51
Oh, that's huge. That's very high concept. Right? You'll be able to get to 300 million easy for that. What are you talking about?

Josef Kubota Wladyka 58:59
We keep fighting the fight? Right?

Alex Ferrari 59:01
That's great. And that's the insanity of what we do. I mean, that is the insanity of being in this business. And I joke about the I call it the beautiful sickness are the beautiful illness because that's what it is. We're, we're not Well, I mean, and artists aren't, you know, that's why we're not wired the same as everybody else, you know, and it's this, this compulsion to create that drives us in our lives, and it's something very difficult for people who aren't artists to understand.

Josef Kubota Wladyka 59:32
And it Oh, yeah, we're aliens to them.

Alex Ferrari 59:35
Yeah, it is. It is a compulsion. It's almost an act. It's a sickness. It's kind of like this thing that you just kind of keep doing it but it's beautiful in the same set in the same breath so that you're going after that storyline is awesome and I can't wait to watch that movie and, and you'll get you know, get and you'll get the financing for it and you'll get it made I you know, but I it's it's so Yeah, that's the funny thing too, you just finished a really difficult movie, you're like, instead of like, you know, picking maybe a little low fruit, like going a little, you know, just something like hanging like low hanging fruit that you might be able to pick off. Like, maybe I won't make the main character completely impossible to cast or fight. But you are as an artist you like, this is a story I want to tell. And that's powerful. That's a powerful, that's, that's a powerful.

Josef Kubota Wladyka 1:00:25
I mean, look, I grew up with, like, I grew up in a very diverse area with all different types of people. And, you know, it's wasn't the type of people that I was hanging out with my friends. And I, you know, it wasn't really in the movies and on TV, you know. So it was just one of the first things I said, when I became a filmmakers, that's one thing that I'm always gonna try to do is just, is just to put, you know, more diverse people in leads, you know, and because once you do it, then people will be more open to once they see a movie, you know, with someone, then it's, they're more open to, and then we can continue to keep making movies, you know, it just opens up everything. And it's, like I said, it comes back to just making stuff. You just gotta, you just gotta make, you just got to make this stuff. And yeah,

Alex Ferrari 1:01:15
I was running. I was I remember running around town, with with my project, and it had a female lead as an action star. And people like, nobody wants to see an action star an action movie with with female lead. Nobody wants to see that. And I'm like, Guys, can you please I mean, and then Kill Bill came out. And then and then slowly, but surely, hey, women could be badass, too. It's but that's just the, you know, it's just, it's just the world we live in. But let's, I'm gonna ask you a few questions, asked all my guests. What advice would you give a filmmaker trying to break into the business today?

Josef Kubota Wladyka 1:01:50
Mm hmm. Hmm. Yeah. It's tough because I still feel like I'm very inexperienced in green. So take my advice with a grain of salt.

Alex Ferrari 1:02:06
But, enough, fair enough.

Josef Kubota Wladyka 1:02:09
I would say there's a few things I'm thinking but I would say don't get caught up in the result. Enjoy, and embrace the process. I think when I was younger, and I was starting out, I was just fixated on the end result of my short film that would then get into some huge festival, and just thinking about all the stuff that it could do for me, but that's not the real work, the real work is being present and working through the process. So I think, gum, you know, it's easy to get fixated, especially now with like, I mean, it's so hard now because like, with, like social media and all this stuff in like, houses, who's gonna see your movie? And is it going to be? Is it ever going to get distributed and I those are valid things to think about. But if you really want to do it, you got to just not think about that. And you got to make the film because I mean, how many filmmakers do you know that have been talking about making their first film for years and years and years? And I think what happens is when you're thinking too much about the result of things that paralyzes them and then they look they don't make anything, you know what I mean? So you got to be an artist and you got to make second piece of advice I would say is you gotta you got to experience life to a certain extent you have to you know, fall in love get your heart broken, go travel to backpack to South America, like I did go learn a language, see the world, Rabobank, whatever it is, kind of mess up your life a little gain some experience, because your perspective and your point of view, when you're directing is kind of, it always falls back on that, you know, it's going to come through subconsciously. So the more life that you've experienced, the more you understand other people and human behavior. It's just the stronger and more empathetic in, I think, filmmaker he'll be so I think you gotta, you know, obviously make your movies make all your stuff, but you know, don't just sit in your apartment all day get. And it's ironically, it's horrible to say now, because that's what I've been struggling with that you can't fucking go anywhere, you know, the pandemic. It's like, you know, I'm a I'm a drifter, man, you know, and I was, I was lucky enough, I just shot for seven months in Japan, this television show during the pandemic, which was really hard, but in retrospect, I was so grateful for it, because otherwise I'd just be sitting here in my studio apartment for six months. So yeah, sorry, sorry, I went on a long tangent

Alex Ferrari 1:05:00
No worries, no worries. No, but I agree with you so many times young filmmakers, the first movies they put out are just basically rehash stuff that they've seen. And that's what you do as an artist. When you first start, you know, you draw, you draw what you've seen, or you paint what you've seen you play music of the music you listen to, that's how art starts, but you have to find that voice. And that voice is found by living. Not my job, not robbing a bank, but everything else you said. Joking. Hey, man, we we live in weird times, brother, we live in weird weird times. But I agree with you, 100% it's that you, you have to live and, you know, I'm getting you know, I'm 47. So I've been around the block a little bit, I got a lot of shrapnel in me. And I remember the stuff that I was writing when I was in my 20s I'd look at it now. I'm like, this is this, this is no idea what he's talking about. Like he could tell right away where I was my mindset there. And as you live life a bit more you become a more more, you know, fully formed soul that you can actually put into your work. And some people have that liquid some people have that right off the bat and they're masking their their anomalies, you know, but others Exactly. But you can't you can't and everyone listening, you cannot compare yourself to masters. You cannot compare yourself to Talentino like, oh, I can't write when I quit, and nobody can write like quit no one can write life's work. And no one can write like Shane Black. Like these guys are, who they are. And don't feel bad. Just like I can't make I can't write music like Mozart. Like don't feel bad, man. It's okay.

Josef Kubota Wladyka 1:06:40
Let me tell you, I have a little posted up on my wall. Here's what it says. Comparison is the thief of all joy. So you can't if you compare yourself to all these other filmmakers in every every video, every filmmaker does it. person made their first feature when they were like 26 and then it

Alex Ferrari 1:07:00
It starts with it starts with Orson Welles at 23 Then you're like, Okay, how old was Spielberg? Okay, so

Josef Kubota Wladyka 1:07:07
But then what ends up happening is like I said, all that all that sort of going down those rabbit holes, all it does is paralyze you and you don't make your stuff. So I think another thing that this all ties into is like you're saying, it all comes down to patience as well because you want it all at once. You know, you want it you want to break through. And it's a it's a long journey.

Alex Ferrari 1:07:32
It is man it is it's it's a it's a miracle that anything ever gets done. It truly is. But we love it because we're crazy. And that's the way that is our plight in life is to be artists and filmmakers. And last question, sir, three of your favorite films of all time. Oh, oh man of today of today of today.

Josef Kubota Wladyka 1:07:54
Oh, yeah, every you could tell me this question tomorrow and it could be three different films. I would say one that's always on the top of my list is Milos Foreman's Amadeus. That's so good. One of my all time all time favorite films. My mom had it on LaserDisc. For me, my brothers used to watch the tone of it. It's hilarious. F Abram Murray performance is incredible. The production design, it's just such a watchable film like and I love films that have a lot of music involved in them into the editing and visual language. And that's a film where it just blends everything. So well. And I also love classical music. So that's, that's one of my all time favorites. Mmm hmm. It's tough to stop. I think my old time one sock film would be Goodfellas. Yeah, you know what the one sock fit what it wants to film is?

Alex Ferrari 1:08:59
No, I don't know what a one sock film is. What is the one sock film?

Josef Kubota Wladyka 1:09:02
Oh, okay. So I might be quoting this wrong. But so I don't remember when this was but at some point, I think it was Guillermo del Toro, I could be wrong. He tweeted or wrote that that was the film. I think he was saying Zodiac was a one sock film. And then he explained what it once I've done it so once I film is your TV's on, right, movies on you're getting ready to leave, right and you're putting all your clothes on. Right? And then you put one sock on and you're watching the movie and then you just sit there with one sock on and watch the rest of the movie.

Alex Ferrari 1:09:35
Great. That's awesome. Goodfellas is a one sock film.

Josef Kubota Wladyka 1:09:39
Yes. Without question Goodfellas is my one sock movie because it doesn't matter where I am. I just watch it. And when I'm on a flight in there's all these other movies that I should watch. I usually just watch Goodfellas. And again, I think you know, the energy and the filmmaking that Scorsese the language he uses it Just so watchable you know, I mean, there's just the energy to it that like, sure it's It's low. And then third film. I don't know. I feel like I have to do like something classic problem. Do whatever you want it.

Alex Ferrari 1:10:14
Oh, great. We'll talk. Yeah, talk. Your story's amazing.

Josef Kubota Wladyka 1:10:17
I got some love to the Japanese. So,

Alex Ferrari 1:10:21
My friend it has been an absolute pleasure talking to you today man. I know we can geek out for another two, three hours but I appreciate you coming on the show man. Listen to continued success. When does your the new film come out?

Josef Kubota Wladyka 1:10:32
So IFC is distributing it much love the ISC. Thank God. It's been amazing working with them. It comes out February 11. There it will be in theaters and on VOD at the same time.

Alex Ferrari 1:10:46

Josef Kubota Wladyka 1:10:47
And certain cities, they're still I think they're still figuring out all of the exact cities and you know, but yeah, February 11.

Alex Ferrari 1:10:54
I appreciate you brother. Continued success, man. And thank you for thank you for taking me down the journey with you, man. It was fun.

Josef Kubota Wladyka 1:11:01
Thank you. I really, really appreciate it.



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