Sleep Paralysis


Meet Enrique Flores. A recent graduate from the Academy of Art University and a friend I met through Creative Minds in Cannes. He is a filmmaker dedicated to the labor and love that comes with the art of film. Through his words we get to see one filmmaker’s unending journey to the devotion of film. As Enrique says, artists “never stop learning.” And we hope his story motivates you to continue your endeavors to become a filmmaker!

~The Fine Artist

What have you been doing since you graduated?

I graduated in fall 2012 from the Academy of Art University. I started my internship during my last semester of school and am still there. ZATOON, is a Music and Apparel company based in San Francisco, California. I am in charge of the visual department in the filmmaking area. Besides school and my internship, I’ve been working on my biggest project, Sleep Paralysis; as the director and producer. This piece is a thesis project for several students at the Academy of Art University, who also graduated last semester or are about to graduate this spring 2013.  I’ve been collaborating with students all around the world, enriching the project with different ideas and creativity. Sleep Paralysis aims to hit several festivals worldwide. I’m very excited to see a final version in March this year.

Did you always imagine yourself as a filmmaker and if not, when did that transition take place?

Since I was a kid I was always interested in storytelling. When I was younger, I wrote a “Script” about 80 pages long and organized my friends to make a little movie. It was terrible, but very fun. Then, I realized that I would LOVE to make movies. In Mexico, this industry was not strong at all back in the day, however, when I became older and it was time to pick a major, I decided to go for it and become a filmmaker. The school that I went to didn’t provide us with the necessary equipment and it wasn’t rigorous enough to learn filmmaking. This is a lifestyle you have to learn and for a major like this, either you are born being rigorous, or you learn how to be organized and responsible. So I went to San Francisco, to the Academy of Art University to finish my degree and learn from people that have been in the industry for a long time. I’ve tried to take every opportunity to learn more from them, to attend events, workshops or conferences that the school provides or internships offered, just like Creative Minds.

What do you know now that you would have not known without film school?

EVERYTHING. I didn’t know anything prior to going to film school in Mexico. I was very naive. The filmmaker that I am today has been made of 5 years of experience in school (in Mexico and the USA), freelance jobs, internships around the world and collaborations on different projects. I’m anxious to start working on a big production and to keep learning. As an artist, you never stop learning.

What has your experience at film festivals taught you about networking and marketing? What tips can you offer on how to get the most out of a film festival?

I’ve been attending several important festivals ever since I started my career in school in Mexico, the USA and in France at the Cannes Film Festival. I would have to say: Watch as many movies as you can WITHOUT COMMERCIALS, meet people and go with the flow. It also depends on what kind of festival you go to. If it is a big one like Cannes, you want to meet people and promote yourself without being too pushy, it’s all about networking. A small one, like Ambulante in Mexico City, is one where you want to watch as many movies as you can, but you also want to know who the directors are and network. In smaller festivals you are more likely to meet the filmmaker that you really liked than at a bigger festival, so ALWAYS be nice to people. I still have lots of festivals to attend, and I can’t wait to plan my next festival.

What kind of stories do you like to tell? What inspires your stories?

Most of the stories I write are about myself, and how I see the world. However I’m very intrigued by how people around me see the world too. Most of my stories have to do with the psyche, the internal struggle of growing up, about death, dreams and friendship.

What film are you working on now and how did the idea for this film come about?

Sleep Paralysis started in my Intro to Producing class. The idea came from an experience that I had when I was younger. I would fall sleep after a basketball game on my parent’s bed, I would wake up, go into the shower and come back to my parent’s bed to find myself still sleeping. I wasn’t able to move or speak, but I knew I was awake lying on my bed. I wrote a 5-page script and my teacher loved the idea, but it was missing something, the essence. When I was 18 years old one of my best friends passed away, and it was a struggle for all of us to let him go. I rewrote it, mixing the idea of death, letting go and friendship, with the sleep paralysis. I developed my characters by asking my friends, reading it out loud, discussing it with teachers, and etcetera. It was hard for me to disconnect as a writer and work as a director. It’s been an amazing experience, I’ve been learning a lot thanks to the people I’ve been working with.

Please visit the Facebook page and become a friend:

To find out more about Enrique: