“ON YOUR RADAR” IS A WEEKLY GRAD FILM NEWS SEGMENT THAT FEATURES A STUDENT PICKED AT RANDOM.
REBECCA MARTOS IS CURRENTLY A THESIS STUDENT AT GRAD FILM. WE ASKED HER A FEW QUESTIONS AND HERE’S WHAT SHE HAD TO SAY:
Where do you consider home and what is it like there?
I am from Phoenix Arizona, although I now consider my home to be here in NYC. Phoenix is the opposite of New York in many ways. For starters, it is a very young city with a vast urban sprawl. The construction is mainly new and the spaces are very large. I consider Phoenix to be a place where “unique things grow.” This is in reference to the plant life that is native only to the Sonoran Desert, such as the Saguaro cacti that have become symbolic of the American Southwest through Western Movies. As a Phoenician and desert dweller, I arrived here in NYC with absolutely no winter clothes. In Phoenix it doesn’t snow, but our airports do close down for extreme weather. Once when the temperature surpassed 122 degrees they shut down the airport because they did not have aircraft performance charts for temperatures that high. There is also a Wild West spirit of vigilantly justice that remains present, most notably through the open carry laws permitting the display of firearms in public. This is much different from laws in NYC that do not even allow for carrying knives. When thinking about arts an culture, Arizona might not be the first place to come to mind, but there is actually a very active and thriving arts scene. The artists are also incredibly politically active. One of the highlights of the arts scene is “First Fridays” - one of the largest art walks in the nation that regularly has between 14,000 and 20,000 attendees each first Friday of the month.
What or who is inspiring you right now and why?
Current and emerging technology and its effect on our culture and society have been a great inspiration as of late. Our relationship with technology is changing rapidly and consequently our social, economic, and political arenas are also impacted. For me there is a great opportunity to explore original stories with plotlines that have never before been explored. Right now I am obsessed with “Black Mirror.” Every episode deals with the technology of the near future and the societal consequences that these new technologies unleash, both good and bad. The stories that emerge are completely original because of the subject matter, yet they tap into familiar human needs.
Right now I am specifically exploring the topic of automated vehicles, and the potential effect that it will have on our economy. There will be truckers and cab drivers who will be replaced by automated vehicles and loose their jobs. There will also be lost revenue from traffic citations. On a positive note traffic fatalities will be decreased significantly. However, our identity as Americans has long been influenced by car culture in terms of American individualism and freedom. It is interesting to imagine how things might change with automated vehicles becoming ever present. I am also a big fan of car chases and stunts, which also makes this a topic of interest for me.
I am also fascinated by political humor as a tool for social change. I find that people are often scared to talk about politics in general as it has the potential to cause some very heated responses. I find that humor has a way of opening up the viewer without immediately setting them on the defense. They are expecting to be entertained, and therefore they can listen with a more open mind. I have always been a big fan of Matt Stone and Trey Parker, my favorite creation being “Team America”. I am also following the Alec Baldwin SNL sketches with great interest.
What has been your most rewarding experience at NYU Tisch Grad Film so far?
My most rewarding experience was completing my second year film, “F-Machine”. It is an Anti-Romantic comedy about a jaded woman who discovers her lust for blood and becomes a serial dater out with the vengeance. She goes looking for love in all the wrong places. It was an immense challenge and quite difficult to execute from all aspects including the technical, financial, and artistic standpoints. It was exhilarating when I succeeded. The project pushed me past what I thought I was capable of.
I was also the lead actress and producer of a 2nd year film called “Numb” written and directed by one of my peers Penelope Lawson. Although I am primarily a writer and director, I also enjoy helping other directors bring their vision to life as a producer. It was also my first time as the lead actress in a project. I feel that the experience gave me a better understanding of what the actors have to go through as a process and feel in turn that it made me a better director as a result.