Manuel Ruiz is one of those talents that transcends the area he grew up in….and that says alot for those of us who know the rich history that Lone Pine has with Hollywood. Across the country, many “filmmakers” are just delusions with a camcorder and a wallet. They always have too many words to speak, and nothing to actually say. regurgitating off grand plans, that always fall short of them that birthed the ideas originally and paved the way, to begin with. Film is the great mystery. Everyone has seen a film, or 200, so they think they can make one. The glitz, the glamour, the prestige. It’s a timeless allure that has caged many misguided birds. A penguin should be a penguin. Not demand its an eagle. But film is the one job everyone thinks they can do. Penguin or not. Like Peter Pan, all you have to do is believe right? Just one happy thought. So they fool-heartedly leap from the Hollywood Hills sign, expecting to soar with the greats they admire, only to fall and smack their knees on the grounded rocks and shrubs. Most filmmakers can never see that they were meant to be a plumber, or a Basketball coach or a politician. Most obsess over the end goal, never the years of struggle it takes to earn it. Unlike Icarus before them, most never even get the chance to soar too close to the sun. They weren’t born with wings, they didn’t learn to make them. They just want them because they saw somebody else with them. Said in a simpler way…Most filmmakers are posers!
Ruiz is anything but. The pure unbridled passion and obsession, the tireless search for knowledge, the unmitigated work ethic and will power it takes to just get to someone else’s set at 3am, is astounding. But to actually run that circus? To not only run it, but to pull it off well enough for other tireless, obsessives to take notice?
Manuel Ruiz is a paver. Manuel Ruiz is an eagle. Manny is an honest to god, messed up in all the right ways, talent driven, die hard filmmaker. He is the real deal.
From winning the LA screenplay festival at 20 years old, to working on huge blockbusters, like Django Unchained and The Lone Ranger. Ruiz is an absolute success story for those that dream in widescreen. From a young age, Ruiz was mentored by, Inyo County Film Commissioner Chris Langely. That not only helped him grow his passions, but put him on the path of understanding the hilariously complicated business of film. Ruiz told ESNOW, that he is the filmmaker he is today, because of the tutelage of Langely. Also, by being a, Johnny on the Spot, for many filmmakers. He recommends that kids looking to take the tough road to tinsel town, follow in his foot steps.
“Find people making films, and volunteer to do anything they need. Get on every set, professional or otherwise. If you pay attention, learn and work harder than the rest, soon they will be asking to volunteer for you,” said Ruiz.
He is eternally grateful to them all and the wisdom they passed on to him, about film as well as life.
Ruiz has a film, All Else Fails, premiering at The Lone Pine Film Festival, Oct. 9th.
It is a crime, thriller, black comedy that only someone with Ruiz’ taste and filmmaking prowess, could make shine. Shine it does! From it’s flawless cinematography (by another local boy done good, Nic Hilton), to local cameos. Even a director’s cameo in the vein of Home Alone’s, Angels with Filthy Souls, “Merry Christmas, ya filthy animal.”
Ruiz patched together a very interesting jaunt, that takes the despicable and makes it rather humorous and in parts, humanising. I don’t want to give anything away! Let’s just say, A thief and con-man, realizes that during PCT hiking season, in the Eastern Sierra…the hikers, carry alot of cash in their socks…..
99% of people can’t say they have finished a film, much less premiered it in a festival. So, as a filmmaker myself, speaking with admiration I say, “Lights, Camera…” and we all will wait to hear you call, “Action”, Mr. Ruiz.
To tell you about his new film “All Else Fails”, is Manuel Ruiz (below). Also, for more from Ruiz, see his Film Review column on Eastern Sierra NOW. (Give him a tip when you do. He spent all his money on this film!)
Don’t forget to Like and Subscribe to us on Youtube for more top notch Eastern Sierra Content. You can also catch this interview and others like it, anywhere you stream your podcasts. Just look for Eastern Sierra NOW.