On Your Radar: Casiano Hamer

Thursday, May 5, 2022

Casiano Hamer

Casiano Hamer




Where do you consider home and what is it like there?

Because I moved around so much during my childhood, the idea of how home is quite complicated. My father told me once, probably aware of my experience, that 'home is where your family is'. I have been running with that definition ever since and that place right now is Evanston, Illinois. It is also one of the first cities I lived in after being born in Chicago. I was mainly raised in Bridgeport , CT, spending many weekends here in 'the city' (NYC) and my family recently moved back to Evanston after I flew the nest in 2014 for college. Evanston is quiet, too quiet. Safe and maybe too safe, or as safe as they tell you it is. I feel like a stranger among the denizens there, scoffing at their BLM signs, Arcteryx vests, Salomon shoes, boat clubs and picket fences, perhaps a bit mad that I missed out on the opportunity to grow up in a cookie cutter suburb and also proud that I didn't. I take every opportunity to take the EL to Chicago, meeting people, going to shows, and rebuilding my idea of home. But home for me is really in my family's living room. Where we laugh at reality tv and clownish shows on BET. Dive into stories of genealogy on 'Find Your Roots' with Henry Louis Gater, Jr. as we debate our own family tree. Sometimes we watch the Premier League and scream at all the Anglicized Black players to succeed, like they were our own relatives. We stuff our faces with rice and beans, sour salads, and zesty fish. My parents are currently on a vegan kick which is quite surreal, but I'm mostly glad just to see them. I'm the most vocal, the most charming, the most present in that room more than anywhere else.

What is currently inspiring you as a filmmaker?

I am inspired by so many things at once. The quality and frequency of the chair's workshops at our program for a start. They somehow always occur when I have writer's block and to hear filmmakers I admire go through similar struggles and open themselves to create some of the most compelling and thoughtful films I've seen puts me in a creative mindset. Being in NYC, it's hard not to get inspired. I, again, visited NYC since I was a kid and many neighborhoods feel nostalgic to me. So when I revisit them, they conjure up unanswered questions from my youth and really put in perspective who I am today. I, like the filmmakers who are often featured in our chair's workshops, try to keep my eyes open to inspiration everyday as well. These days critical conversations regarding identity and the gaps of exploring identity that are often ignored in the media inspire me. So many 'how come no one talks about this' or 'I've never seen a film about this' chats really get pen to paper for me these days. Ultimately I try to find answers to burning questions I have about myself as a filmmaker that maybe viewers have answers to or maybe the mere fact that the question will be out in the open once my film is made and now everyone will be trying to find an answer with me.

What has been your most rewarding experience at NYU Tisch Grad Film so far?

The most rewarding experience for me is certainly community. To me the greatest threat and motivation to filmmaking is feeling alone, that's the whole point of doing it, right? I think my classmates have really held me up on their shoulders and it is so evident to me during workshop classes. I have a penchant for putting it all out there in my scripts, perhaps more than I can handle, and I think my classmates recognize that. I think in their own way they do the same and in the act of all of us unveiling our lives through our work, searching for answers, we come to understand that we all have the same experience regardless of our identities. We see that in each other and give ourselves the tenderness we need to keep going, to be better filmmakers. The pandemic really put us all in a rut and I think we are coming out the other end as a family, to me that is invaluable. 

Visit his website and follow him on Instagram.