Born and raised in New Jersey, Joe is of Mediterranean descent. His repertoire as a writer, producer and actor is astonishing. As a producer he has aligned himself with other hard-working, like-minded producers and individuals in the industry. Recently making a highly valuable and educational contribution to the New York community by visiting the Lincoln Recovery Center with his co-producer Chris Victor of Victor Productions, where they spoke to people recovering from addiction after showing them their movie Around Every Corner, which deals with that subject. The compelling movie shown in the Northeast Film Festival 2015 won an award for best breakout actor for Yaron Urbas and received six nominations including Best Picture. It was also shown at the Chelsea Film Festival, Winter Film Awards and Tyron International Film Festival and has now been selected to screen in the Hoboken International Film Festival in June, one of the top ten film festivals in the world according to Fox & MY.
What Makes Joe Tick?
When you first meet Joe in person, he appears enigmatic and you may want to know what makes him tick. After knowing him for about a year, I can say it is determination and passion for what he is doing. He doesn’t wait around for a better time or opportunity. He jumps into his projects proactively but prepared.
As a director, he paces the set with the agility and energy of a tiger going after his prey, laser focused on each detail of each scene, shouting commands to the fortunate actors he chose to bring the characters he has created to life. He does so firmly but respectfully and with praise when warranted, skillfully leading them through the scenes he created, and they follow him willingly, trusting that he will make them shine.
What more can an actor ask for in a director? His happy and captivating smile as the scenes develop to his satisfaction, lightens up the set and makes him the hero or star instead of the actual leading male character of the film he is directing. Notwithstanding the amazing talent of the male lead actor in Joe’s latest production The Breaking Point. Whilst on set, I honestly have to say that it appeared as if Joe was the male lead of a film playing out in front of me. Which greatened my excitement of the purpose of that day, of shining a spotlight on this talented and charismatic actor, producer, director and writer.
After watching him on set for almost 7 hours, I had to ask myself why this Indie filmmaker isn’t more known and what sets him apart from an A-List director? There was only one answer that came to mind and it had nothing to do with talent or the passion to succeed. Unfortunately as a generally known industry rule, it is all about knowing the ‘right people’ and getting into that inner circle guarded with at times insurmountable obstacles can be a labouring task. However, I am certain he will secure his place soon.
Independent Film is Hardwork
We, the audience, should realize that an Indie filmmaker has to work much harder to make his projects happen. It starts with financing the production of an Indie film and attaching the right talent to it so that people either go to a theater to see that film or watch it on demand at home. With the many films available on the market, it’s not easy to separate people from their money or make them choose one film over another. More than anything, Indie filmmakers, regardless of how amazing they or their film may be, need publicity and support from friends, family and hopefully people with influence to make them stand out
Whereas A-List filmmakers pay an enormous amount of money to campaign for their films to be considered for an academy award nomination and win. This is a luxury that Indie filmmakers do not have irrespective of the quality of film and the storyline itself. It can at times frustrate me seeing the many often ridiculous A-List movies in theater, leaving you to ponder: “How do these kind of films ever get made?” Some of which – though I protest that in no way am I a film critic – have massive amounts of funding and support behind them. Albeit once I do view a film made by a relatively unknown Indie filmmaker like Joe Gawalis this reasserts my belief in great films and filmmakers and all I can do is wonder why this particular filmmaker’s films are not in theaters as well.
Support of Indie Filmmakers needs to Increase…
Even more so in order for the arts to not be starved of such incredibly talented and diversified cinematic artistry. The demand is clearly less of the issue and more the right channels that better guarantee these films being advocated and showcased to its direct target audience. Similarly to BAFTA breakthroughs, one idea is to have one industry led institute that solely looks to show these movies in that cinema to be viewed by leading directors, voted for by the public, that then goes into the mainstream cinemas. The only debate there is, that does this then take away the entire beauty and appeal of the concept of ‘The Indie’ needing to be that movie that does not fit the mainstream, that is rogue and that may cause controversy, which may be shunned and that may not always work within the structures of a traditional cinema-ready film. All these cornerstones that attribute to being referred to as an Indie film. With that, Joe Gawalis may or may not be the one to turn the entire Indie scene on its head but Joe Gawalis may be the start of us beginning the discussion.
Edit By Florence Bailey