Spring at Tisch Alum Andres Ramirez Toasts the Silent Era

Thursday, Mar 5, 2020

Photo of Clara Carlo, Andres Ramirez, and Steven Burgos in Washington Square Park.

L to R: Clara Carlo, Andres Ramirez, and Steven Burgos

The short film From Charlie, With Love by Andres Ramirez will debut this Saturday, March 7 as part of the the event Unsilent Film: Live New Music to Silent Film. It is also an official selection at the Miami Independent Film Festival, Creation International Film Festival, The Accolade Global Film Competition, and the Best Shorts Competition.

Andres is a junior at the Kanbar Institute of Film and Television who transferred to NYU after participating in the Spring at Tisch program last year. We recently interviewed Andres about his experience as a Spring at Tisch student, joining the NYU community, and why silent film still matters in the 21st century.

Why did you decide to apply to Spring at Tisch and study film at Tisch? 

Since I was 10 years old it has always been my dream to attend NYU Tisch to study film. After considering my options to enter NYU, I had been informed of the program by a close mentor, and figured out that this could be the perfect pathway to become a full-time NYU student. 

Before Spring at Tisch had you visited New York or spent time here?

Yes, I had visited the city twice; once when I was 10 years old, and another [time] later in my mid-teen years. However, the most significant visit was when I was 10 years old. That’s when I fell in love with the city and dreamed of becoming a New Yorker. Upon that visit, I promised my parents to improve my grades to get a chance to pursue my career here. 

Talk about a favorite moment from Spring at Tisch.

That’s a tough one since the whole experience was very enriching, both personally and professionally. It’s so hard for me to choose a favorite moment. However, I think it has to be all the life-long friendships I created with fellow visiting students at NYU, like the crew that worked on From Charlie, With Love. Also living in the dorms was a great experience. My roommate and I became very close friends (still are). 

What advice do you have for students considering the Spring at Tisch program?

I would say go ahead and take this opportunity, have as much fun, explore all that NYU has to offer, and also get to know this amazing city. Work to build a network with fellow students and with professors to enhance the learning experience.

Andres with the crew of From Charlie, With Love

Andres with the crew of 'From Charlie, With Love'

How did Spring at Tisch help you decide to transfer into the Film & TV department?

To be honest, since the very first day of Spring at Tisch, I knew I wanted to stay. To me it was a dream come true, something that I had always aimed for. I believe the program helped because it gave me the chance to meet the NYU Film community, and in the long run that helped me to get into the full-time program as they became very familiar with me. 

What inspired you to create From Charlie, With Love

[It was] my deep affection for movies, with no budget for this project in the Sound and Sight Filmmaking class. I wanted to create a film that could resemble the spirit of Chaplin, to [pay] homage [to] his influential style, and remember the audience of his significance. l wanted the short to have the look and feel of an old film that got lost in time. 

Why did you choose to collaborate with a composer to score the film?

Originally, I tried outsourcing and finding music on the internet; however, within a second, I realized that I needed a composer to create an original score, since I wanted the film to have a particular and distinct live recorded sound. With the amazing collaboration of Sawyer Adler, we created a score that carries the audience back to the 1920s while bringing a modern element by the inclusion of a leitmotif.

“I believe silent films have the power to teach us the importance of visual storytelling and how, combined with the sound of music, they can be powerful.”

Aside from Chaplin, who are the other filmmakers who influence you and your work?

I like to think that all movies have shaped me in one way or another; however, I really appreciate movies from Alfonso Cuaron, Damien Chazelle, Steven Spielberg, and Peter Jackson. These directors have influenced my love for cinema and I’ve been inspired by their styles in many ways, like doing long takes, exploring new techniques, and also writing musicals. 

Why do you think silent films are still important in the 21st century? 

I believe silent films kindly remind us of the past and how the film industry has evolved [up] until nowadays with such overblown big-budget films. I also think that silent films from the early ‘20s have [developed] into what we call experimental short films.

As a matter of fact, if you look close enough, Pixar has taken the idea of making silent films for their Academy Award-winning shorts. From a student and a low-budget filmmaker’s point of view, I believe silent films have the power to teach us the importance of visual storytelling and how, combined with the sound of music, they can be powerful.

Poster for From Charlie, With Love

Poster for 'From Charlie, With Love'

Tell us about the event happening this weekend.

Of course! [The festival is] this Saturday, March 7th at 8:00 PM at the NYU Steinhardt Education Building, 35 W 4th St., Room 303. We are going to be screening the film [during] Unsilent Film: Live New Music to Silent Film, where they play silent films accompanied by a live musical performance. The short has the privilege and honor of being screened next to actual films from the 1920s, directed by legends like Buster Keaton and F. W. Murnau, among others.

The festival is going to be an amazing tribute to 1920s film and a celebration of the collaboration that film and music have with each other and how they work together to tell a story. So, if you like films and the experience of watching them with a live score, this is an opportunity you don’t want to miss!

Spring at Tisch is offered each spring semester to visiting undergraduates. The spring 2021 application will open on June 24, 2020.